Monday, July 02, 2007

Ratatouille - a must see!

We decided to take our boys to Ratatouille over the weekend - although I knew the main premise was about a rat living in Paris, I did not realize that this was a foodie movie. Really, even if you don't have small children, take in this film (maybe not a matinee, then!). Almost the entire movie is about cooking, the dynamics of the French professional kitchen, the mystique of the Michelin stars given to French restaurants..........and of course, it's another Pixar masterpiece.

I'm really excited about first-ever Taste of Broadway, being held on July 12th at the Broadway Theatre( Here's the description:

"Taste delectable appetizers and desserts from the Bulk Cheese Warehouse, Calories, The Living Room, Ninos, Pesto's, Sushiro, Starbucks, Weczeria and the Yard and Flagon, while indulging in wine-tasting from Cory Distilleries, PMA Ltd., E & J Gallo Vinery, PMT Distributors and Foster's Wine Estates. Followed by one of the great "foodie" movies. What a wonderful way to spend an evening!"

can't wait :)

Happy Canada Day!

michelle zimmer

Wild Serendipity Foods

Monday, June 25, 2007

long time, no post......

How time flies!! We're halfway to Christmas already (my son's birthday is today, which is why that halfway mark come to mind so quickly)!!!

A few updates on my business ventures:

* I did not win the SABEX new product category - I did, however, attend the gala (& had a minor stroke when the winner was about to be announced......even though I was quite sure I wouldn't win) & had a lovely evening. For that category, the winner was Tiny Eye Technologies, a company that has created an online speech therapy service.

* My ice cream business is humming along..........hard to believe the season is halfway over now! I really am enjoying being able to offer such a wonderul, locally-made product from Homestead Ice Cream. The response to the ice cream has been extremely positive :)

* The Saturday Farmer's Market continues to be overwhelmingly successful. The first Saturday, I, along with most other vendors, were basically sold out of product within about an hour and a half. Each subsequent Saturday has been equally's a wonderful atmosphere. If you have not yet had a chance to take it in for yourself, do so! :) If you're wanting freshly-baked scones from yours truly, best to show up before 9! I am trying to meet the demand more by selling trays of frozen scone dough - all ready to be popped in to your oven at home!

* I am now attending the Thursday Farmer's Market, as well. The hours for the weekday markets are 10 am to 5 pm.

* An article about my business is in the current issue of Enterprise Magazine (formerly Small Business Magazine), a national publication out of Ontario - written by Felechia Brodie, a local freelance writer. Very exciting! I will hopefully post an electronic copy shortly.

That's about all the major updates for now :) (minor update, my youngest, who turned 3 today, is officially potty-trained, which means we are officially done with diapers - yippee!)

Michelle Zimmer
Wild Serendipity Foods

Monday, May 14, 2007

We all scream.............

for Ice Cream! :)

Because, in a brief moment of rest, I thought I just wasn't busy enough, I decided to purchase the ice cream shack in the Avalon Shopping Centre (the same mall where I have my commercial kitchen). It was up & running this past Friday - my sons (age 2 & 4) think this is the coolest thing ever!

I am proud to offer exclusively Homestead ice cream. For those that don't know, Homestead is a local ice cream business that has increasingly grown over the years & now produces ice cream for roughly 40 business, including McNally Robinson & Fuddrucker's. I was happily surprised to find out that when I place my order, the ice cream is made just for that order, it's not pulled from a it's as fresh as possible! With 180 flavours to choose from...........choosing was difficult! I've started with 12, & will slowly increase to about 24 flavours as the season gears up. No, I am not working the shack - I now have my first 2 official staff :)

Farmer's Market news - last Saturday, Cinqo de Mayo, was our first market day in the new building, located at Ave B & 19th. It was absolutely bustling!!! This past Saturday was another repeat. I need to re-prioritize my week to be able to make enough product to last past 10 am.........

The SABEX gala is tomorrow night - outfit has not been finalized/completed; thought I could pull something together from my engineering days, but no. I don't plan on spending a whole lot of time on my acceptance speech (the one I'm quite sure I will not be giving). It will be a fun night, nonetheless :)

Michelle Zimmer
Wild Serendipity Foods

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

SABEX Finalist!

Well, surprise of all surprises, I was named a Finalist in the New Product category for the SABEX awards!!

The big gala is on May 15th - of course, I'm most definitely not expecting to win - I'm thrilled with having come this far :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Glossy Debut!

The Flavours Magazine, Spring 2007 issue is out, & there I am, in fully glossiness :) I have an electronic copy posted on my website, if you'd like to take a gander.

First off, I was really happy with how the article came out, both the article itself and the photos. I am not, however, a chef............and have never referred to myself as one. I guess I can be called a professional cook, since I now make my living cooking for money. I just wanted to clear that up, in case there were any raised eyebrows over the article.

Things have been busier than ever, to the point where I have had to cut, at least temporarily, my corporate lunch delivery service and weekend cooking classes/birthday parties. I have come to accept that you really can't work 7 days a week forever. I am trying to strike a balance between corporate catering, cooking classes & the Farmer's Market. I've come to learn that I cannot do more than two, or maybe the odd 3, classes per week - I start rolling quickly into the burnout zone otherwise.

It's been an interesting year (March 11th marked my 1 year anniversary with the Market, which I guess technically is when I officially began my business) to say the least. Part of me, when I have a moment to take it all in, is still in shock over the response to my services. The rest of me is just too busy trying to keep all the balls in the air to think of anything else.

My sad news is that my grandmother passed away last Saturday at the age of 93. She is the one whom I credit with teaching/inspiring me how to cook. She & I spent many days together cooking up a storm. She would let me pick recipes I wanted to try, gather up all the ingredients, then we would cook for hours on end. Of course, she taught me (& gave the recipes) many of her dishes that I loved. This was all around the ages of 6 to 9. I remember one time I asked her to help me prepare Petit Fours - the photos in a cookbook were so intriguing to me. I could tell she was a little daunted by the recipe & the photos, but we carried on anyway, & there were wonderful :)

I don't think she ever really understood (she had memory issues in the end) that I gave up my career as an engineer to pursue my passion for cooking, which she def. played an important role in cultivating. I am grateful to her for so many things, but most especially, of course, for those memories of us cooking together, in her tiny little kitchen, complete with avocado green appliances. I will cherish those forever.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

continued blatant self-promotion

I was pleasantly informed this week that I have been nominated for not one, but two, SABEX awards (Saskatoon Awards for Business Excellence) - for Best New Product (my mustards) & Best New Business Venture.

How cool is that?!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blatant Self-Promotion

still somewhat recovering from the Christmas mayhem............haven't quite managed to find my mojo again, but it's getting there :)

Just thought I'd write a few of the 'happenings' in my life, as of late.

Just before Christmas, Noelle Chorney, a freelance writer with Flavours magazine (for those who don't know about it, or live anywhere in western Canada where you can find it, it's a lovely, glossy magazine published quarterly & made avail. in liquor stores..........full of glorious food porn & interesting articles about fine food & drink, local chefs..........) contacted me about doing an interview for the Spring 2007 issue regarding my cooking classes. Of course I agreed. After the interview, a couple dishes I selected to be in the article were photographed, & moi aussi. It was pretty cool seeing how photo shoots are done!

Then, at the last Market before Christmas, a person from ShawCable (our local community information/news station) was looking at my products, & asked if I'd be interested in doing a segment for their "In the Kitchen" series. Of course, I said yes :) They came to my kitchen on Jan 8th to film the segment - I chose my mustard straws, & it aired the next day, & throughout that same week. I was more ok being filmed that I thought - running my cooking classes was definitely good preparation - but I was pretty much beside myself just before the first airing. It didn't help that I had told everyone I knew when it would be on, & I hadn't even seen it myself. In the end, I was greatly relieved, & surprisingly happy with how it turned out.

One particular Farmer's Market vendor asked that I 'remember the little people' when I'm rich & famous................I guess I will ;)

Other than that, things are slowly swinging back to normal (other than THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF 2007 that occured a little over a week ago - why did I move back here again?!). I had a momentary panic attack when I hadn't had any calls for catering during the 1st week of the New Year, & then, to my relief, the calls all came on one day, & now we're all back to the usual.

I also had my inaugural meal assembly night at my store last week. For those who have not heard of this concept, it's become quite the trend south of the border, & as is the usual way, is taking it's time catching on here. As far as I know, I'm the first one in the province to be doing it. The idea is, I do all the shopping/chopping/browning/mixing............the customer comes in (after pre-selecting their dishes & quantities), & does the final 'assembly', usually into a reheatable foil tray, complete with reheating instructions. The dishes are all freezer-friendly. That particular night was arranged for a woman who was due the following week with her second child - I wish something like that has been around when I had my babies! Stocking up a mom-to-be's freezer with prepared entrees is a GREAT idea.

signing off for now