Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hurrah. The new Darling's raw food kitchens are open.

This week we published our first newsletter (it has only taken a year) and on the front page Vicky announces some really exciting news. Rather than re-write it I am just going to copy and paste what she said (lazy of me, I know, but efficient):

"Exciting news from Darling’s GHQ – our brand new kitchen is finally finished. Last week we held a brief opening ceremony and this week we have been working out, with the help of some very thick manuals (hopefully too many books won’t spoil the broth), how to use all our new toys. We wouldn’t need the kitchen, of course, if Darling’s wasn’t doing so well. This seems, therefore, an ideal opportunity to thank you for your support. I don’t want to come over all gushy on you, but we are incredibly grateful for your business.

The whole new kitchen thing has been a bit of a saga. To begin with none of us had ever bought commercial kitchen equipment before (think normal kitchen equipment on steroids… our new food processor is the size of a small skip) so we had rather a lot to learn on that front. The actual premises weren’t a problem as a local farmer offered us a suitable building, but fitting it out took much more time than we expected. Then, when the equipment arrived the driver had an accident unloading it. Two of the most expensive items literally fell off the back of the lorry and had to go back to be repaired. Just before Christmas some of our pipes burst and just after Christmas our freezers broke down. In mid-January the electrical circuit board exploded… but you get the picture.

I am not saying that we don’t still expect teething problems but hopefully we are over the worst. Early customers may remember that when we launched, just over a year ago, we made all the food in my own kitchen. When my family finally said ‘enough is enough’ we used a butcher’s shop some 20 miles away. Our new kitchen is a mile up the road from my home and I can walk to work.

I use the word ‘work’, but it isn’t really. We started Darling’s by accident after Jonathan (my co-founder) got fed up with making food for his own and his foster dogs and thought that if he went into the business himself he could get out of the chore. ‘That,’ as one of his five children pointed out the other day, ‘will learn him’. Three of his children, by the way, help in the business, as does my husband, my best friend, my best friend’s husband, my daughter’s best friend’s Mum… I could go on. The fact is it is a little dangerous to be related to either Jonathan or myself and even to be related to our friends!"


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