Experiences

2017 in Review

2017 has come to an end and I’m looking back at what was an incredible year full of brünch adventures ❤

As you might know, I recently moved back to Berlin after 14 years away, eight years in London, almost three years of brünch and a whole new chapter ahead of me 🙂 After I left London in October, I took some time out to rest and let it all sink in, reflect and create new headspace for fresh ideas. Join me on my journey through 2017 and please do get in touch if you have any questions at all or simply want to reach out. I always love to hear from you.

Let’s start at the beginning. 

I launched brünch in February 2015 as a roaming Berlin brunch pop up after quitting my corporate job as independent hotel consultant to start a new chapter .

I launched brünch as my way to express myself. Live my ideas and passions and create the life I want to lead. Make it count! I had no big plans at first, I lived the moment and did what made me happy. I didn’t want to wake up one day not having tried.

And so my journey begun. 

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Since launching almost three years ago I hosted around 25 beautiful brünch events all across London. I toured some fantastic UK festivals with my Berlin brünch Bar, collaborated with many inspiring people and beautiful brands and had brünch delivered to your doorstep.

In 2017 my brünch adventures continued full steam ahead! With your amazing support, brünch celebrated the opening of it’s own place in the heart of East London.

From pop up to permanent.

It was summer 2016 and I was still feeling the buzz of what was an amazing first ever festival season with brünch. On the look out for some new pop up locations in London I stumbled across The Taproom at London Fields Brewery.

At the time The Taproom was only open in the evenings and had seen better days. I  met with Hugo Ramos, Managing Director of the brewery and we got on straight away. I loved his vision and he loved my ideas. Our conversation quickly lead into something a lot bigger than just a pop up.

I got a full tour of the space including the two arches and life music venue. We talked for hours. At the end of our chat Hugo took me by surprise! He asked if I could imagine doing something more permanent with brünch at The Taproom.

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I walked away, called my closest friends, sat on a bench in the park and thought it over, again and again. I could hardly sleep that night.

I was super excited about the idea of opening up my own cafe. But I was really scared too. This was a different ball game. It meant commitment and responsibility. It meant putting my life on hold. Was brünch ready for this? Was I ready for this? Would brünch be successful going from pop up to permanent? Would I be able to pull it off?

There was only one way to find out…

Way too often we say No. No to the unknown. No because we are scared to fail. No because we are afraid of change. No because that is just easier!!!

But I had nothing to lose and I was way too excited with too many ideas in my head to let that opportunity go. I followed my heart and said YES!

Our vision was to bring The Taproom back to life, back into the local community – a new website, new logo, interior facelift, cafe during the day, cocktails and new dinner menu at night, all under my control. My dream project!

Next thing I know, my girlfriends and I are scrubbing floors, fridges, walls and tables at The Taproom. We converted the space into brünch’s new home, painted, built and decorated. Hugo gave me free reign and supported where he could. I was in my element. I launched a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the needed funds to get my new venture off the ground. Within 20 days, 62 backers supporting my vision and plans I was able to raise £10,169. Grateful for so much love and support from friends and brünch fans we went all out to make it happen.

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After only a few weeks, the new Taproom website went live with a new Taproom logo seeing brünch part of it. Hugo and I writing the content and my housemate Toby, creative mastermind behind El Tobe designing the website and logo. Adam, who has been supporting and believing in me from the start helped me visualise my ideas and drew up the initial design plans for brünch at The Taproom. Thank you Adam! ❤

 

 

 

 

Making something out of little was the motto. A philosophy that guided me from when I first started (pretty much because I did not have much choice..). I needed to spend every penny wisely. I wanted to bring the best out of what the space had to offer while giving it my brünch look and feel. Friends helped, most things were built in house, local businesses gave little discounts to support us.

And we did it! Within seven weeks, we turned around the existing operation and brünch at The Taproom opened on the 17th of November 2016. 

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I am not going to lie, there were times when I just wanted to run away.  Endless hours of cleaning, baking and cooking into the night, dealing with suppliers, recruiting, training, marketing, social media, admin,…I neglected friends and family for weeks and feeling the pressures of being responsible for other people’s livelihoods was super scary.

My body and brain were tired. But it was an incredible feeling to see it all coming together.

 

 

 

 

Once up and running, I cycled to work every morning and opened the café with one of my team. The best moment of my day was picking up the still warm bread from Pavilion bakery around the corner, opening the shutters, letting the sunlight in and switching the open sign on. The café was ready when all the cakes and hot croissants were out. It smelled beautiful. The coffee was dialled in and we had our first cuppa of the day before the first guests arrived. I was happy!

We opened from Tuesday until Sunday, six days a week between 8am and 4pm. My team consisted of one barista, one chef, one person front of house and another barista and chef during the busy weekend periods. It was beautiful to see customers coming back, telling us how much they enjoy being here and they bring friends, work colleagues and their families to share the Berlin brünch experience. During the week brünch saw friends meet friends for a catch up, work colleagues brainstorm ideas, locals read the paper by the window, travellers take foodie pictures, neighbours get their coffee or just drop in for a chat. During the weekend, brünch quickly became a destination in its own right and our brünch family was growing day by day. It felt like home.

Magda_0928I took all my favourite Berlin drink brands with me too. It was fantastic to break the news to them that I had found a permanent home and I wanted them to be part of it. And so my fridges were full with Club Mate, fritz kola, Michelberger Coconut Water and ChariTea. Our Cocktail Bar was stocked with German booze like Belsazar Vermouth, Berliner Brandstifter Gin and Our Vodka Berlin. I sold little sweets from back in the day that only those would recognise that grew up or had lived in Berlin back in the day.

All finished off with a generous portion of tunes from my favourite German DJs in the background and on special occasions we had live DJs spinning the decks.

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In the meantime another little project was coming my way.

When Soho meets Berlin for brünch. 

Back in January 2017 Jägermeister, who I had been working with on various events over the past two years, approached me and asked if I wanted to be the first pop up to launch at their new JagerSoho location in collaboration with SohoRadio.

Guess what. I said yes! 😉 And so, in March 2017, I opened my doors ‘When Soho meets Berlin for brünch’.

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I split my time between the two venues and it felt great to get on my bike, cycle through town and leave The Taproom for a bit. Even Claudia Schiffer walked in for a coffee one day! 😀

I felt re-energised.

I served all my Berlin favourites including beautiful coffee from Berlin roasters Fjord, our signature Stulle creations and of course our beautiful beetroot and black sesame lattes made with Oatly Oatmilk.

 

 

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The pop up was only for three months and I remember how much I enjoyed it! Taking over spaces, converting them and creating the brünch experience.

Time for new adventures!

Brünch at The Taproom and my German-inspired evening menu were taking off. But there were a number of things that did not feel right anymore. I realised that The Taproom was not the right place for me and brünch. After long consideration, I decided to leave The Taproom in July 2017.

During that time my desire to re-connect with my home city became stronger and stronger. I have always had in the back of my head that one day I will find myself back in Berlin. I had a beautiful flat coming up in Berlin and after I left The Taproom it seemed the perfect time to give it a go.

Berlin’s food and bar scene is an exciting place to be right now. It is becoming more and more vibrant with the influx of internationals moving into the city. Fresh ideas, new concepts, different opinions. Dreamers, artists, suits, entrepreneurs, visionaries, chefs from all over the world shape the ‘new’ Berlin. Berlin is still young. Still finding out what it wants to be. It has so much to learn still. Times of change. I want to be part of that change. I want to contribute with what I have learnt in all these years abroad and make my mark in the Berlin food scene and beyond.

 

 

 

 

But before going back home, I took a little detour. 

After closing brünch at The Taproom I was pretty exhausted. I needed a break from it all and so I went to Bali for three weeks. Time to take a deep breath, let it all sink in, let my hair down and and just be!

 

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Bali was incredible and gave me the headspace I needed to think about my next steps. A beautiful island, with kind people and amazing food. I got so inspired by the way the cafes were designed, the food looked and tasted. I ate myself through the whole island, exploring the world of Acai Bowls and Buddha Bowls. The food is colourful and vibrant, healthy and nourishing. There was so much love and attention to detail in the food we ate. The way it is made and presented let my heart jump.

 

 

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The plan was to come back and enjoy a few more weeks in London before heading to Berlin. But as we know, plans never go according to plan.

Instead, I got the amazing opportunity to head up a big operation in Morocco and Ibiza for five weeks. One of those one-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I knew I could not turn down. I was flown out within two days and ended up missing my own farewell party. I packed my life into a few boxes within a day and just went for it.

I was given the trust to lead a big team and make things happen. I was completely out of my comfort zone but I was taking each day at a time and it was amazing. Sometimes you meet people in your life that bring the best out of you. They bring the best out of you because they believe in you and your capabilities, give you a chance to prove yourself. They trust you when you don’t trust yourself.

Way too often we are filled with self doubt. The fear of failure which holds us back to excel and flourish. I told myself to say yes more. Yes to the unknown. Yes to new adventures. Yes to making mistakes. I am still learning to accept that I don’t always need to know all the answers to my questions from the start. And I usually have a lot of questions! I realised that the more answers I have the more I overthink things and the more I get in doubt and eventually say no because all I can think of are the things that can possibly go wrong.

I didn’t want to wake up one day not having tried. 

I don’t want to say ‘don’t think just do it’. No! I am saying don’t stop dreaming. Trust yourself a little bit more and make mistakes. Do something you love and that you believe in. That allows you to express yourself day in day out. Take time to think about what makes you happy, what you want your life to look like? Let that picture drive you.  Don’t do it for anyone else but yourself. Make it count.

Who knows where the journey will take you. There is only one way to find out…

 

 

When I got back from my project in September, my room in London had already been rented out to someone else and all my stuff was already in Berlin.

I was a free bird with some cash in my pockets. And it felt fantastic!

Left with one suitcase full of summer clothes I made most of my ‘homeless time’ and travelled to Zurich and Amsterdam to visit close friends before heading back to London for a last goodbye.

It will not be a goodbye forever though. 

Moving back to Berlin is a big step for me. Things have changed. I have changed. I am  excited to re-discover and explore my home city after all these years away and I am looking forward to what’s ahead. Lots of plans, lots of ideas which I am currently working on. Stay tuned 🙂

If you want to follow my adventures and stay up to date with what I am up to, I will share my favourite places to eat, drink and experience Berlin on my Instagram accounts @noemieats_ and keep you posted on everything brünch related @bruench_popup  .

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and reading until the end. I am wishing you a beautiful and merry Christmas and a great start into 2018! See you very soon 🙂

Lot’s of brünchlove

Noemi xx

www.bruench.com

 

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brünch – 2015 in review

Wow! Time flies when you’re having fun.

2015 was a fantastic and certainly eventful year for me. I am so very grateful for all the experiences I have made and people I have crossed paths with.

As you know, in October 2014 I left my corporate city job to launch brünch – London’s first and only Berlin pop up, bringing people together in London’s quirkiest venues to enjoy some proper Berlin vibes.

I quit my job because I did not want to wake up one day and regret not having tried. I wanted to follow my passion and live my ideas and dreams. But I also left my corporate job to change my lifestyle, find more balance and appreciate the small things in life that we often take for granted.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me along the way, who has come to my events and who has chosen to become and stay part of my journey. You know who you are and you are amazing – thank you.

Since I launched brünch in February 2015, my pop ups have grown from ‘bread brunch booze’ Berlin style to a platform for collaboration, up-and-coming DJs showcasing their talent, meeting new people, discovering London’s hidden and unusual spaces and bringing new small-batch German drink brands to London. You might have seen it already – I also launched BrotZeit in 2015 – my new mobile Berlin breakfast bar concept ideal for markets, corporate events, festivals and small cafes.

Our Berlin brünch community is growing and we (yes, the royal ‘we’ for now) have lots of exciting plans for the New Year – come along and join us! 🙂

brünch – 2015 in review

In 2015 I hosted ten Berlin pop ups and two BrotZeit events where I welcomed over 600 guests in 11 different venues. brünch was named ‘one of London’s most active pop ups in 2015‘ by London Pop Ups , ‘one of the capital’s most exciting pop ups this summer’ by STYLISTand ‘one of London’s prettiest breakfasts’ by About Time Magazine. brünch was also featured in Time Out London, the Evening Standard and my face even made it into Germany’s top newspapers such as Der Tagespiegel with an article on ‘Berlin, London und das ‘brünch’ – Wie sich das Frühstück ändert.‘ I still can’t quite believe it all and my heart still jumps with joy :)))

Last year, I took my pop ups to converted warehouses, rooftops, antique salvage shops, railway arches and craft beer breweries all across the city. In memory of a great year, here a little snapshot of my events in chronological order:

My very first pop up took place at Salon, Brixton in February 2015. Tickets were sold out almost a week before the event with around 40 people attending. Salon is such a beautiful venue owned and run by Nick Balfe, former head chef of Jackson Boxer’s Brunswick House and Frank’s Campari Bar. I can only recommend visiting his restaurant in Brixton Market Row for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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My second pop up took place at The Doodle Bar in Battersea in March. With 50 people attending, it was another sell out event. The vibe was fantastic and I met lots of lovely people and like-minded foodies including Spooncereals, the GrubClub, The Brick BoxSnactThe Social PantryCulinary Canvas and many more. DJ Dirk from Germany put on some hot electro sounds to get into Berlin mood.

In April, I hosted a Berlin Easter brünch at Brixton East 1871 – a converted 19th-century furniture warehouse just off Coldharbour Lane. The venue is stunning and has retained much of its original character and charm. It was a lovely event where about 40 guests attended with their families, friends, dates and partners.

A week later, we went the extra mile and took brünch to East London for the first time. Stage 3 in Hackney Central is part of the Hackney Empire building and with the help of DJ Dirk on the decks, we converted the venue into a little bit of Berlin that day.

In June I was asked to participate in the Streatham Food Festival with my pop up. I felt very honoured and excited to host a German-inspired Summer Dinner at Boyce da Roca, a small neighbourhood cafe in the heart of Streatham. I cooked for four days straight and even my mum arrived from Berlin to help me. It was beautiful ❤ I worked with Axiom brands and mixologist Fliss together to design some amazing cocktails to pair each dish on my menu.

Then it was time for a little Summer break. I went travelling in France for two weeks after reminding myself that leaving my office job also meant more time for myself, work-life balance and adventure. I went into the mountains in Provence and it was beautiful – a peaceful village tucked away from city life – so much beauty and time to let go and appreciate.

When I returned from holidays, I started spending more and more time up east. I explored Hackney Wick, London Fields and Clapton on my bike. Hackney reminds me a lot of Berlin – the vibe, the sense of space, the people…On one of my exploration tours, I came across the CRATE Brewery and in June I hosted my Berlin brunch pop up in their ‘Brew Shed’ – such a special setting. DJ Mo with his own label Homage Records on the decks – amazing vibes, amazing people.

Having been a few times to Maltby Street Market for food, drink and shopping, I inevitably fell in love with the most amazing antique salvage shop in London – Lassco Ropewalk. And so it happened that I managed to convince the owners to bring a little bit of Berlin to their shop in July. On a rainy Sunday morning my team and I converted this beautiful space into a buzzing Berlin den with fresh waffle and Nutella smells running through the shop and gorgeous bread from St John Bakery on offer. I love this venue.

I had been invited to the launch party of The NINES in Peckham in February which was run by two girls who were friend of someone I had met through another friend (this is basically how I find my venues ;)) The NINES is a converted garage bar hidden behind the Bussey Building and exactly what I was after for brünch. It took six months until we finally met up to discuss hosting an event together. In August, 40 people came to enjoy a long lazy Sunday brünch with proper Berlin electro tunes from Moody Pat, a young cutting-edge DJ from the French Caribbean who is definitely one to watch.

To take advantage of the warm summer months, my next event brought me back East to London Fields where I stumbled upon a new quirky venue with probably the best views overlooking London Fields (apart from Netil House perhaps). Playground & Proof had only just opened and it was a pleasure to be the first pop up to host an event up on their roof terrace – a hidden gem you should definitely go and check out if you are in the area.

In the whole month of October I then worked with Streetfeast on the opening of their new Hawker House in Canada Water – a 2,500 people venue with 14 street food vendors and nine bars – and project manage Oktoberfest, which welcomed approximately 5,500 people over two days. We ate, we drank, we danced – such an amazing experience and project to work on 🙂

November was another eventful month for me. I left Brixton after six years and moved to East London – it felt like the end of an era… I also celebrated my 30th birthday in November in Berlin and I launched BrotZeit at the Morning Glorville afterparty! In the meantime I was hatching plans and getting everything ready for my Berlin Winter brünch the following month.

I had visited Palm 2 in Clapton, a lovely venue tucked away above a cute local gourmet deli shop, back in the summer. I fell in love with the venue straight away and having moved close by now, my heart was set on hosting my last event of 2015 here. I welcomed about 40 people for a cosy Berlin Winter brünch in December with lots of German spiced Glühwein, fresh cinnamon waffles and delicious Berlin cocktails.

What a year!

I am seriously excited about 2016 and no doubt Berlin is here to stay 🙂

I am also incredibly proud to have worked with some of these amazing suppliers in 2015:

Berlin/German Drink Brands (among others)

Local Food Suppliers

Coffee Suppliers

Special thanks go to my fantastic friends and family for all your support and help – Sarah, Jamie, Pete, Esther, Roman, Lucy, Kaia, Rocio, Bill, Vicky, Sophie and Christie.

See you in 2016!

Lots of brünch love,

Noemi xx

Food Photography – some Tips and Tricks

Food Porn is definitely a ‘Thing’!

Instagram is thriving because we love looking at beautiful food pictures. It does not only create cravings but also presents a lifestyle – healthy food, convenient food, comfort food, etc. Great food photography makes people want to be part of the bigger picture. I mean is it really about the Chewy Sultana Cookies that Deliciously Ella makes? I doubt it. It is about her, her story and philosophy, her lifestyle that inspires people to live healthier lives. But to buy into a story like this, we want to see lovely pictures that help us visualise what we could have – and she does that pretty well.

My food photography is not the greatest (yet!) but I am working on it. 🙂 A year ago I treated myself to a really nice DSLR Sony camera, which I use a lot for my pictures. However, you don’t need heavy equipment anymore or spend a fortune on an excellent camera. Thanks to all those new Photo Editor Apps, ‘photoshopping’ has become pretty easy and made food photography a lot more accessible. But there is more to a good picture than changing the filter and adding some fake highlights.

I recently attended a workshop by Echo Food Sessions in collaboration with Grub Club , who invited professional photographer and Instagram enthusiast Isabelle to lead a workshop on how to do great food photography for your business using the simplest of tools – your phone and Instagram. The Grub Club has summarised some of her top tips:

Get Inspired

  • Browse through food magazines, blogs and Instagram feeds, and replicate things you like.
  • As well as your food, think about other ways you can tell the story of your business/brand – how about some pictures of your suppliers, your prep process, or people enjoying your food at an event?

Setting Up Your Shot

  • Try out different layers and textures in the background – everything from wooden chopping boards to slate, to fabric like tablecloths and napkins (make sure you iron them first).
  • Take pictures from directly above – stand on a chair, or even arrange your shoot on the floor so you can get a good angle.
  • Have plenty of natural light streaming through – daylight is the best setting for food photography.
  • Use props to offset the balance of your shot – e.g. a knife halfway on the plate, a sprig of mint in the background, a little glass with flowers in a corner.
  • Keep it simple – don’t overload the plate or surroundings: focus on the food and use a few striking props to enhance.

Using Instagram

  • Take pictures using your camera app, and upload them into Instagram afterwards – that way you can select the best ones, crop and edit to get the very best picture.
  • Don’t just use filters – use the wrench tool to adjust things like brightness and structure. Try Tilt Shift to focus different areas of the picture.
  • When choosing a filter, you can adjust the level of filter to apply by double clicking on the filter and sliding to adjust.
  • Add a location so your picture will appear on maps.
  • Use hashtags to describe your picture and engage others – Tagmoatic is a useful tool for generating hashtags.
  • Try the new layout tool for creating collages.

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Adding to the above, my advice is

  • Use small portions – you don’t need to take a picture of an entire serving size. A small portion of all the goodness you created is absolutely sufficient for a great picture.
  • Add ingredients into your picture -it is really nice for the other person looking at your picture to follow the story of your dish. What ingredients have you used, how have you prepared it?
  • Use colours in your food – make your dish stand out more by adding accents. Perhaps some pomegranate on white yoghurt and a mint leaf. Complimentary colours can create some striking optical effects.
  • Take your time & prepare in advance – block out an entire morning/afternoon (best when it is light) and get everything you need in advance. It takes a while until you get the perfect shot. I requires a lot of experimenting and trying out. You don’t want to realise afterwards that all your pictures are rubbish. Prepare and get all the props and ingredients in advance so you can focus on photographing, not wasting time on getting your bits and bobs together. Plus not being stressed by time pressure makes it an easier and more enjoyable process.

To see a few of my food photograpy, follow me on Instagram at FoodInbrixton and Bruench_popup

 

 

Assembly Coffee Roast – Re-Shaping London’s Coffee & Cafe Culture

I am not a coffee snob, but I do like to have a good cuppa on a daily basis.

Since launching brünch in February 2015, I brushed up on my coffee knowledge and worked with a few quality coffee rosters together including Volcano Coffee Works – a leading small batch, specialty coffee roaster based in West Norwood, South London. The team is great – hard working, full of passion and they really know their stuff. To improve my coffee making skills I attended one of their barista training workshops recently, which takes place every Wednesday between 10am and 1pm. More information can be found on their website.

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Onny, General Manager at Volcano Coffee Works also introduced me to the recently launched ‘Assembly’ (March 2015)

Assembly began as a commitment to create a genuinely unique coffee roasting service responding to the evolving needs and ambitions of independent cafes.  He goes on to explain that Assembly recreates the role of the roaster so that it is not just one half of a transaction, but one equal part of a relationship involving all wholesale partners. 

Their goal is to acknowledge and value the diversity of experiences, knowledge and individual strengths of their peers in the industry. With a shared vision for creating forward thinking approaches to cafe culture, they have formed a collective where each individual’s insight grows the whole – called the ‘Assembly’.
Volcano Coffee Works are collaborating with Embassy East, Esters, Noble Espresso, Story Coffee, Mother’s Milk, The Wash, Three Wheels Coffee, Soho Coffee House and DunneFrankowski to create the Assembly – a hand picked group of coffee connoisseurs who all share a passion for excellent coffee and customer service.
A lot of research has gone into the new brand and design. The packaging is minimalist, focusing on the purity and quality of the coffee. The bright spot graphic included on the packages is unique to each coffee and visually communicates the sense of the blend to the customer—whether it is well-rounded and mellow, whether it might have more acidic flavors of fruits, or smooth caramels and chocolates.
We tested it and it really matched my experience of the coffee. Onny served the brew in specially design Assembly coffee mugs. The coffee was brewed in the new Techni Vorm Moccamaster which they wetted
 at the recent London Coffee Festival. I can testify that this is a truly premium new coffee label. Hence, I am super proud and excited to be working with Assembly at my next Berlin Brunch in Hackney Wick – come along and try it for yourself.
A few practical examples of the collective approach of the Assembly to date, include:


 



  • Group exercises such as designing a framework for group participation in green bean selection and roast profiling. Based on consensus on what best serves the objectives of our industry the group has created an Assembly espresso blend.
  • Opinion-led projects such as drawing on the collective experiences of the group to develop a consumer coffee learning curve to serve as a guide for promoting higher quality coffee in our daily interactions.
  • Opinion-led projects such as the development of coffee packaging which considers current practical obstacles, how information is best presented and aesthetic values

  • Creating a database to aggregate data gathered by cafes and serve as a source of insight to better inform our individual decisions as cafe owners.

 

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Contact me or Onny for more information about the Assembly at bruench@gmail.com or onny@assemblycoffee.co.uk

@AssemblyRoast

facebook/assemblyroast

 

Following your Passion – no one said it will be easy!

I was afraid to wake up one day and regretting not having tried, not having given it my best shot in realising my dream!

Everyone has dreams. Everyone has different dreams. Dreams can change over time… They give us a sense of direction, perhaps even a meaning in life to be very philosophical.

It took me about two years and a change in my personal life to build up the courage and leave my job to do what I wanted to do for a long time.  My dream has developed in response to me becoming more and more unhappy about where I was heading. I was getting very stressed all the time and I worked long hours in the office. That is not what I wanted. I could not see myself growing old in what I was doing anymore. I started to reassess my priorities and values and I came to the conclusion that I had to go my own way. And so far my journey has been incredible in so many ways. I honestly believe that it does not matter what age you are or what stage in your life you’re at! It is never too late to change course and do what you really want to do. We only live once.

Finding out what you are passionate about is not always that straight forward! For me, it is similar to falling in love. It cannot be forced but you feel it when you found i, you are willing to take risks and put your heart and soul into it.

Being able to set my own goals every day, play with new ideas and live my passion feels incredibly liberating. But building something of your own is also pretty hard work and can be quite a daunting prospect at the same time! No one said it would be easy. I learnt that it requires a lot of initiative, drive and positive mindset! The latter is the hardest in my opinion..Sometimes I wake up and think ‘what am I doing here? I can just about pay my rent, for the rest I am living off my savings and who knows if this is actually going to work?’

But when everything gets a bit too much and the dream seems to crumble because of self-doubt, I talk to people. I share my ideas and I share my worries. I guess my biggest worry is failure… especially knowing the statistics that about 50% of all small business start ups fail in the first couple of years. Well, that is great encouragement, isn’t it? But that is why I go on seminars, attend workshops, ask for help and advice from others who have gone or are going trough the same. It is good to hear that it is ok to be overwhelmed sometimes and to have doubts although you are doing something you love. It is also good to hear that it is ok to take a break from it once in a while. Those of you who know me well, know I work quite hard and I realise now that this is exactly why I fell out of love with what I was doing before. I burnt myself out! I am keen to not make the same mistake again but nurture my passion.  After all, if I cannot enjoy the journey, I will probably not like what I am creating either.

So when the sun is out, like today, I go for a stroll at Brockwell Park or Clapham Common and I realise how lucky I am. I feel I have grown more over the past two months, than I have over the past two years.

 

 

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Business Planning Workshop

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My fellow entrepreneurs at the CREATE programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

I encourage everyone who has found their passion and who has done their homework, to go for it and enjoy the journey. You cannot lose.

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I will soon let you know more about what I have been up to over the past three months, but I can say that much..2015 is going to be super exciting! I am working on a few really cool things and I look forward to sharing those with you in due course.

At this stage, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who believes in me, is part of my journey and let’s me be part of theirs. I am very grateful for all the support and advice I have received and am receiving.

Thank you x

 

 

 

 

Setting up your own business? Look around you!

Today I was part of a great meeting with the Board of Directors of the Lambeth Food Partnership where we aim at creating a more sustainable and healthy food culture in the borough I live in. There was so much energy and great ideas in the room!

I also facilitated a networking event last week hosted by Transition Town Brixton, called the Local Entrepreneur Forum – The Warm Up, where we strive at creating a new culture of Community Supported Local Enterprise. It is a great feeling to be part of a community that wants to help each other out and use the resources we have available within our community.

Working with those organisations has and is really influencing my own business ideas in so many ways! I am learning more and more about the food culture and community that surrounds me.

I am sharing this here to encourage anyone else, who is also considering to start up their own business now or in the future, to look around you and get involved with other related projects. Build a network, collaborate, support each other and share experiences! It is helping me enormously in what I want to do and I am sure it will help you too. Bring on 2015!

 

 

New ideas in Autumn

Testing, experimenting, tasting…I have been pretty busy in the kitchen recently. I love getting up in the morning, having breakfast and thinking of new ideas of what to make next. Sometimes I wake up with a new idea straight away and it does not take long until I find myself on the market to get all ingredients I need. I often go to Brixton Market to get my fruit and veg and on Sundays I frequent Herne Hill’s City & Country Farmers’ Market or stroll through Brixton’s very own Farmers Market. In between, a pit stop at Federation Coffeea little D-Tour through Brockwell Park and I am ready!

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I realise that all my recent creations are scattered around Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – I know!! Who would have thought I am becoming a Social Media Warrior. Until a few months ago I did not even know how to send a Tweet and now I am all over it! And I am now on Instagram too!! I managed to find the upload button recently which is great progress.

Anyway, so I got some complaints from family and friends who are not on any of those social media sites. Hence, I thought I summarise all my creations to date here. Let me know what your thoughts are and what you would want to try most! 🙂

My very first opportunity to wow my audience came up this October. It was my first ‘Tasting and Sampling’ session in front of a panel of experts as part of the CREATE programme.

 

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Baked Duck Egg on Tomato Pepper Ragout with Sourdough Bread

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Goats Cheese Sandwich with Fresh Figs, Algarve Honey and Basil

 

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Coconut Quinoa Porridge with Caramelised Pineapple and Mixed Nuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elevator Pitch – Presenting my Business Idea to a Penal of Experts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following overwhelmingly positive response to my concept and dishes, I continued experimenting at home.

November arrived and my head was full of ideas and I had lots of energy! In the meantime I inquired about getting professional help from a photographer to take pictures of my food. Everyone I spoke to was very kind to offer me their services at their minimum day rate. But even that would have set me back around £1,000. I decided for the cheaper option – DIY! I have been interested in photography for some time now, which resulted in me buying a semi-professional DSLR camera last year. This is a perfect occasion to develop my photography ‘talents’ further. It’s not perfect but I am getting there!

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Butternut Squash Pancakes (no butter, reduced sugar), with Caramelised Apple, Pomegranate and Lyle’s Maple Syrup

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Diary free, butterless, reduced sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November is also the season for Beetroot! I absolutely love Beetroot. Those amazing roots are packed with powerful nutrients and have a distinctly sweet and earthy flavour. Just what you need to kick start your immune system. I pretty much tried all versions – cooked, roasted, grated, pureed, hot or cold as a soup or juice..anything goes.

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Hangover Breakfast! Fried Egg on Sourdough Bread with Roasted Beetroot Puree, Rocket Leaves and more Feta

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Golden Beets Feast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The days have become shorter and colder now and I was longing for something that reminded me of cozy evenings in the winter. Kaiserschmarrn! I had Kaiserschmarrn up in the Alpes when I went skiing as a child! Whilst it is a popular dish in South Germany, it is actually an Austrian desert! It is named after emperor KaiserFranz Joseph I of Austria, who was very fond of this kind of fluffy shredded pancakes, which typically come with warm fruit compote. I served my Kaiserscharrn with warm Apfelmus and a Strawberry/Blueberry coulis! 🙂

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You can find me exploring the city as soon as I have a bit of time. I really enjoy cycling around town on the look out for new inspiration and brunch spots. This is when I fell in love with Banana Bread. I am not a big fan of Bananas but this was different. Almost every Brunch place I went to offered a toasted slice of this lovely treat with various accompaniments like espresso butter (BrickWood Coffe & Bread) or banana puree with salted chocolate crumbs (Salvation Jane).

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Brickwood Coffee & Bread – Clapham Common

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Salvation Jane – Off Old Street Roundabout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tweaked my Banana Bread recipe and made it healthier by replacing butter with Viridian 100% Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil. I also reduced the amount of refined sugar and added one extra ripe banana instead. I replaced some of the flour with coconut flakes and added some blueberries. Best eaten fresh out of the oven! Heaven! 🙂

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Coconut Banana Bread with Blueberries

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So easy to make, takes no longer than 15 minutes + baking time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November is also a month of birthdays! Five people in my immediate circle of friends have their birthdays within a space of two weeks! I debated with many of my German friends whether it is only me or some kind of German tradition that a good birthday always starts with a fabulous birthday table and birthday cake/breakfast in the morning. When I had to be at work at 8am, I would get up an hour earlier than usual just to not miss my birthday morning surprise! It’s just one of those things I get excited about…

To mark my flatmate’s birthday and surprise her in the morning, I made Cinnamon Buns for the very first time. I have been raving about them so much and what better way to wake up in the morning than with the smell of cinnamon!  Moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside. Some powder sugar (aka icing sugar) on top and …delicious! Best eaten warm with a hot cup of tea in Pjs ;p

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If you feel the winter blues is setting in, get cozy, treat yourself with something you like and share it with those you love! x

 

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