Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Etiquette of Free Food

As the owner of a food business, I am asked to give away my food...a lot. I carefully pick and choose where the best events are for my business, get myself motivated, and start cooking. I hire staff and buy ingredients. In case you didn't know, the vast majority of benefits and expos and demos out there are unpaid events for the folks serving the food. The compensation is a presence at whatever fabulous event is taking place.

Taking part in these events is fun, hard work, and a great chance to mix and mingle with fun folks and potential customers. However, sometimes, these events aren't as great as they could be. I know -- they're work events, so get over your bad self and quit your belly aching. Am I right?

In the spirit of getting you the best food and best service possible, I'd like to give you a few helpful hints for the next time you're at an event featuring free food. Take it as you will, tell me I'm a terrible ingrate, but just take a minute to read:

Helpful Hints for Attending Events with Free Food

  1. Food businesses love to give away food. Sure, it costs us money and time, but who isn't happy to snag a free, freshly-baked cookie when given the opportunity? We want you to love that cookie and really enjoy it. True fact.
  2. It's ok to say please and thank you. In fact, I absolutely adore folks who stop by and say, "May I please have a cookie?" Of course you can! Thanks for making my day brighter!
  3. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice right back 'atcha. Walk up to me while you're on your cell phone, snag a cookie, then mumble as you walk away...the reception probably isn't as warm.
  4. Don't ask us if you can please have 3...or 4...or one for your aunt's grandma's dog. We're given numbers that we need to hit (my last event was for 350-400 people). If we run out of food, people get angry with us. If you're looking for extras, feel free to swing by toward the end of the event. No one wants to pack up food to take home, and we'd be more than happy to share once we know we've got enough for everyone.
  5. We're here to talk about our business as much as we are to give you goodies. We love the opportunity to talk about what we do with you. Don't be afraid to stay for a minute or two to ask questions. We love that!
  6. We are required by the Health Department to obtain (and pay for) an event-specific license and follow their rules. We will pay more attention to their rules than breaking them on your behalf. Sorry, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. 
  7. When you ask if we brought gluten-free, diary-free, Paleo etc., don't be miffed with us when we say no. We're trying to appeal to the masses here (remember the 350-400 people mentioned in #4? Yeah...that.), and your special diet doesn't make the cut unless we're at a health-focused event.
  8. Don't walk away while telling us that C may stand for cookies, but it also stands for calories or whatever fat-issue you may have. If you don't want a cookie, a polite no thank you will do just fine. Don't yuck my yum Debbie Downer.
  9. I understand that you may have no interest in my services -- that's totally cool. Not everyone wants to take cooking classes (or enjoys Mexican Food, or likes pasta). Just use those fabulous manners and we will still give you a cookie or whatever we're handing out that day. And we'll still hope that you enjoy it. Because we didn't get into the food biz for money. Most of us got into it because we like to cook and make people happy. Promise.
Easy, right? Essentially, be nice, use good manners, and understand that I'm paying to be there to give you free food. I want you to think that my business is awesome, and maybe to even come by and take a class sometime. We love you, and we love seeing the look on your face when you enjoy something awesome that we made. So drop by and say hello, and a quick thank you as you leave. You'll feel good, we'll feel good, and we'll definitely want to do it again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This Week at TKS

Happy day! This week is pretty light at The Kitchen Studio, mostly's (almost) my birthday!
This is the situation I'm hoping to avoid on this birthday-last week's cupcake class colors!

I do so adore my birthday, and if my 98 year-old grandmother is any indication, I don't see the feeling subsiding anytime soon. Friday the 13th -- my lucky day! At work, I call it "Founder's Day", pop it on the calendar, and take the day off. Silly, isn't it?

That said, this Wednesday we're hosting a Girl Scout Troop for quick hands-on class Wednesday afternoon. Have a Girl or Boy Scout troop that needs some time in the kitchen? Here are the details; we'd love to work with you! Just give us a shout at 301-663-6442 and we'll go from there.

Our open class this Thursday, 9/12, is one of our new mini-classes, Cooking with Herbs. Just 2 hours long, we're working through how to work with fresh herbs, before they're gone from your garden. The menu includes Chimichurri Sauce, Coconut-Coriander Chutney, Rosemary Vegetable Skewers, and believe it or not, super fab Thyme Ice Cream. (I'll Instagram pics of the food -- just follow ChrisVanB). We still have a few spaces, and you can register here if you like. It's just $40 -- a bargain if I do say so myself, and we'll have you out the door by 8:30. Easy and fun for a weeknight.

That's it -- easy breezy lemon squeezy. Hope to see you Thursday!

Monday, September 2, 2013

This Week at The Kitchen Studio

I'm starting a new format where each week I'm going to post a few different items. Let's start with Mondays, shall we? Each Monday, I'm going to pop up what's happening at TKS that week. It's a great opportunity to put out there if we've got available class spots (take classes...we love to cook with you!!) and if we've got anything free, fun, or unusual too.

This week, we've got a few different events:

Cupcakes! (Thursday, 9/5, 9a-12p, Ages 8-16)

School is closed, so we're going to get together and have some cupcake-baking fun! This super fun 3-hour class will have your teen/child baking and decorating like a pro. All participants will prepare cupcakes from scratch, then have 6 to decorate and take home to share. We'll be using both buttercream and fondant.

We still have lots of space left in these, and would LOVE to cook with your kids this Thursday!! Cost is $45.

Just Like an Italian Cooking Frederick! (Friday, 9/6, 6:30-9p)

Remember that trip I took to Italy back in the spring? This class features a few of my favorite dishes that I learned at the Italian Cooking School I attended.  Here's the class description (it's a demo btw):  

You don't need to take a cooking vacation in Italy to learn authentic Italian dishes! Join us for the light-hearted and fun rustic Italian-themed class based on a trip to the mountainous Abruzzo region of Italy. Menu includes Involtini di Prosciutto con Arugula (arugula, prosciutto & Parmesan), Polpettine Cacio e Uova (egg & cheese dumplings), Focaccia, and Sorbetto al Limon & Limoncello.   Cost is $55.

Polpettine Cacio e Uova & Focaccia (homey & delicious)
Involtini di Prosciutto con Arugula (I could eat a hundred of these)
Sorbetto al Limon & Limoncello (looks so good..right?)

We also have two kid's cooking birthday parties on Saturday, but those are private events already set by lovely parents. You can always arrange to hold a bday party for someone you love, kid, teen, or adult. We love 'em and have been doing a ton of them lately. We've also been holding lots of bachelorette parties on Saturday nights (3 in August alone!) and have had the most wonderful groups of ladies grace our kitchen. Such fun, and seems like everyone is sporting fab shoes too! ;)

Next week, we've got a mini class on Cooking with Herbs working (short and satisfying!), so feel free to take a look at our class calendar here.

Thanks, and see you back here on Wednesday!