A few years ago I decided I needed a change in my career direction and took myself back to college to train as a chef. My two years at Truro & St Austell, as well as at Academy Nathan Outlaw were life-changing. I have always been a passionate food enthusiast and loved to bring people together over a good meal. There’s something special about sending people away from my table with happy bellies! And now I had the potential to make it my business.
With my new found skills and confidence I began to run pop up suppers from my own dining room. It was on one of these evenings in 2015 that I met Trudy, Josh and Tom, who shared in my passion and who were at the time hatching a plan to save and run the village shop, which we as a community were in danger of losing.
This was the catalyst to taking my skills and passion forward to running my own business. With encouragement and an outlet I began to bake for the revitalized shop, firstly with my “Grab a Ghoulie” Halloween biscuits. The response was quite astounding. This was followed by a few tray bakes each week to now where I bake 14 tray bakes a week for the shop, occasional soups and other goodies. I am often stopped on the street by customers asking what my bakes of the day are!
My involvement with the shop has not stopped there. Last November at a time when business in the shop was growing to such an extent and staffing the extended hours was becoming problematic, I offered to cover a few shifts each week. And what a year it has been! The shop and the community are a wonderful thing, supporting one another, promoting local business and producers and becoming a feature in everyday life.
The contact I still have in the shop has allowed me to meet new clients and suppliers such as the People and Gardens project and Trewithen Dairy. And who wouldn’t feel proud of being a supplier to an award-winning shop?
Throughout the year I have taken my fledgling business from something quite casual into a nearly full-time career. As my reputation has grown so too has my confidence. With the encouragement of Trudy, Josh & all the village shop team I am now cheffing regularly for private houses & events. This had always been the plan, but the platform provided by the village shop has allowed me to grow in ways I had not imagined. Collaborating with other local businesses has opened up a whole new world of food to me.
Don’t get me wrong, it has been challenging, lots of hours worked, many tears and much frustration. It’s definitely been an extreme learning curve but a hugely positive one. I am still incredibly passionate about what I do and feel lucky indeed to be doing this alongside and in collaboration with the Village shop.
Here’s to the future and the new and exciting challenges ahead!
Private Chef, Tywardreath Cornwall.