Where to begin? I guess I have to go back to Friday 6 November when we heard that we had gained a contract to bake, decorate and pack 2000 (yes, 2000) Christmas gingerbread cookies. We were thrilled, we really were, until we reached 10pm on Sunday evening and had only reached the point of baking the final cookie. All cookies were in situ at our Battersea kitchen on Monday morning as were we – piping bags at the ready. Now, I’m no piper and really wasn’t relishing the task, but 50, or so, cookies in, I was in the zone. It helped that all four of us were together to offer encouragement if one of us flagged. And flag we did! We were all already feeling the effects of standing all over the weekend baking the cookies but I could never have imagined how much my arms and hands would ache piping around Christmas trees and snowflakes. We managed to keep smiling (and occasionally laughing) all the way through to Wednesday at 5pm when the final cookie was packed in its cellophane bag and tied with a bow. The cookies were duly delivered to a company in Covent Garden where they were handed out to the public as the Christmas tree lights were switched on. A little bit of amba chefs history at Covent Garden. Apparently they went down a storm.
No time to rest on our laurels. Our minds switched immediately to the next task in hand – our launch event to be held on Friday evening. We were expecting 100 guests and planned to prepare 9 different canapés. It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that 900 canapés were required. Thursday began with preparation and planning – we really wanted to get as much done in advance. We agreed that it would be best if we each took ownership of a canapé and that worked perfectly but there were times when we had to help each other out. That’s the beauty of working in a team. The two days were fairly calm, everything went according to plan and we seemed to be on schedule but we still had that mad panic on Friday evening at 6.20pm (guests arriving at 7pm) when a quick glance around the kitchen revealed four amba chefs still in their aprons – no make-up and no finery. However, we may be chefs but we are all girls at heart and there would be nothing stopping us looking anything short of ‘gorgeous’ as our first guests arrived. We were so lucky to have some amazing help. Marcos, Monica’s friend, had popped over from Spain for a short break but quickly realised that this was no holiday as he spent a couple of hours up a ladder stringing fairy lights around the kitchen. Alvaro, another friend of Monica’s (there’s a theme here) arrived straight from work to take photographs and help replenish the canapés and Sara, Monica’s cousin – hahaha, helped serve drinks. We managed to source amazing waiting staff, Paula and Fran (we had so much fun working with them). And I can’t forget the men in our lives Mark (brilliant baker), Aarne and Bill who did so much to help and support on the day. Thanks guys!
To say the evening was a success is an understatement. I’m not even going to try to be modest. It was a fabulous evening, we had some lovely comments, the canapés were amazing and we, naturally, were on an enormous high. Shattered but high!
Onwards and upwards! Thursday sees us hosting our first supper club – an Anglo-Italian feast and we are very excited. Watch this space for an update, photographs and details of our next event. Thank you for reading.