It's been somewhat of a transitional time for us of late, with big changes afoot and lots to organise. We've been very busy bees behind the scenes, working hard on revamping the website with new photos from some professional photography that was taken at a recent pop-up we did at Hackney Coffee Co. As nice as it is to capture shots very much in the moment with a phone camera for social media, it's not great when you want to blow them up for a larger display like on a website. And thus was our problem, until quite recently. So it's great to be able to have a bit of a stockpile of good quality, high resolution photos to be able to put to good use! The website is now looking a lot snazzier and more sophisticated (we hope!), and we're very pleased with the changes.
We've also been trying to get some private events under our belt, as one thing we realised after doing the accounts for our first few pop-ups is that they really don't pay the bills! We've got one lined up in October, and hopefully there'll be more to come. With that in mind Aidan has teamed up with Jack Agnew from Growing Communities, one of the Hackney-based food growing projects we get a lot of our fresh produce from. Jack recently opened an organic, "zero-plastic" shop within Hackney City Farm, aptly named "Get Loose". He sells lots of dry store products loose from big sacks, with the idea being people turn up with their own containers and pay for stuff by weight. He's got grains, pastas, dried herbs and spices, as well as fresh milk and olive oil from dispensers, fruit + veg + herbs and an ever-expanding list of new products! Jack approached Aidan with the brilliant idea of making pickles and preserves for him to sell in the shop. So whenever we have a glut of produce either from our veg garden or from a fruitful foraging trip, Aidan's been preserving the bounty into all manner of delights such as pickles and hedgerow jellies. As well as earning us a bit of extra cash it's a great way for us to get our name and logo some extra exposure, with a constant footfall of passing traffic in Jack's shop.
Another thing that's been happening behind the scenes at Eleven98 is the dreaded flat hunting! Our plan for some while now has been to get a place of our own, so that we can host the majority of our supper clubs at home. We want to be able to host more frequently, and one of the difficulties we currently face is the logistical nightmare that is packing up what's essentially an entire restaurant into a Zipvan, taking it to a venue, setting everything up for an event, hosting the event and then packing it all up again. It's a lot of work, and more to the point it's a lot of extra stress and means we're not really able to do it as often as we'd like.
After much head scratching we came to the conclusion that the solution would be the following: find a flat, set it up as our base camp and host supper clubs on a weekly basis - we envisage most Thursday evenings. We'd still do pop-ups at our favourite Hackney venues (which we really enjoy doing), but these would take place less frequently - say once a month. That way we'd get the best of both worlds. So that's the plan! Of course flat hunting is stressful at the best of times, but in this particular context it's been even more complicated! Finding a place not just to live in, but where we'll be able to host up to 10 guests - that's big enough, in a good central location (in Hackney that is!), with a modern feel but not too fancy-pants, with some outdoor space to allow folks to mingle on a balcony or in a garden, and most importantly with a DISHWASHER!! We go through a lot of dishes serving multi-course tasting menus, as we don't repeat plates for any courses. And let's not even talk about all the prep! Because there are just so many criteria to factor into our decision with regards to the flat, it's been a long and ongoing process trying to find our perfect match. It's often felt like it's taking over our lives and I've felt pangs of guilt on many an occasion, essentially that I've not had enough time to put into doing the things I need to do on a daily basis in order to keep things pushing forward. We hope this will all be resolved very soon, and that we'll be able to move into our new home and start getting it ready to host our supper clubs. Fingers crossed!