As you may have noticed, A Fine Fit Catering has had its seasons of movement and rest. This past year I have been in a resting phase with the birth of my now 1 year old Madelyn. Leaving maternity leave and entering the catering world again has been a slow process, and also somewhat of a rediscovery of what I love about this business, and what I am willing to shave away to create a company that I can be proud of for the long term. And what better time to rethink and create something new than the launching of a new brand and new website!
When I re-entered the business world these last couple of months it has been with some hesitation. See, I now have 3 children under the age of 7, and volunteer in my church and community. Life is indeed full. But with my two oldest starting school in September, I was itching to put my creative gene back to work in the catering world, and let’s not downplay the fact that I would have more adult interaction again! This time, though, I would have to be careful to be more selective in what I took on, focusing on things that are both sustainable and that truly inspire me. For example this fall, I had the honour of putting together a cooking workshop for the Nurse Practitioner LED clinic, with the theme of using our plentiful harvest to create quality and delicious courses, with hands on activities throughout. It was one of those days when I left feeling more invigorated than when I arrived. I love using my knowledge of food and cooking techniques to inspire others along with helping to build relationships between team members though the culinary medium. This has spawned a whole new category of cooking workshops that I can now offer on a regular basis!
On the other hand, upon looking at my menu, which has been adapted only minimally since the inception of my business in 2010, I realized that I had swerved into areas that I wasn’t exactly comfortable with. As a “clean eating” enthusiast, I advertise from-scratch cooking that avoids the use of highly processed foods, and I am held accountable to provide this quality in my cooking. It is a tough balance, with popular demand often asking for the very things that I advertise against. People like their dessert, with plenty of sugar in it! And people love their bacon! So I resigned myself to offering a few little things that I wasn’t super keen on in order to make people happy and grow the business. As they say in the small business world, you grow by saying YES all the time.
However, then I came across this article (from 2009) about processed meat, linking our growing consumption of nitrate and nitrite filled foods with the dramatic increase diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 Diabetes and cancer. This is by no means a shocker, as this research has been ongoing for years, but now more than ever it has been convincingly proven. (Not unlike the societal shift between thinking smoking was kind of bad for you, but whatever; to being advertised as a health hazard on every package! ). When nitrates and nitrites hit your stomach acid, they convert to nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. If that wasn’t bad enough, the same chemicals are now messing with our DNA. The article says they “can alter gene expression and cause DNA damage”. While nitrates are found as preservatives in beer and food products as well as in fertilizers, pesticides and cosmetics, it turns out they are most concentrated in processed lunch
meats, bacon and processed cheese. Sigh. Of course the worst things for you are also delicious and highly addictive.
So here I am with a dilemma. I want to stay true to my values as a caterer but serving foods that are now well known to be detrimental to our health on many levels does not jive well with the values that I promote as A Fine Fit Catering. So the menu on my new website has had some adapting. You will notice that sandwich platters are no longer offered. I realize that may turn some people off as we are used to getting what we want as a customer, which is a ridiculous amount of choices. I WILL, though, have a list of great caterers that do serve sandwich platters, and I will still offer a wide variety of wraps, seafood and egg salad options, and vegetarian wraps along with plenty of hot soups and delicious salads. So really, no one is hurting here.
You may ask, “well what about your bacon wrapped goat cheese stuffed figs, and sweet desserts that you still offer?” And I say, “baby steps, my friend. Baby steps.” 😉