When we opened Hot Milk three years ago I don't think we had fully thought it through. We had a two year old daughter in Nursery and a 6 month old boy in a high chair in the middle of our tiny little cafe. Our friends helped us piece together counters and install espresso machines. We were so desperate to open that people sat on boxes of tiles and used their laps for their coffee before we found tables and chairs. We put everything into our little shop on Myddleton Road.
Then, one day, walking home we noticed the Pizzeria had closed. We knocked on the door (more of a bang on the window) and asked the landlord the plan. He said it's probably going to become a kebab shop.
Terrified, we pitched him then and there. I remember it well. Emilia was running up and down and Vincent was in the buggy. After 30 minutes we'd agreed a plan for us to take over and Hot Milk too was born. It felt a bit like when you go to Ikea for a lampshade and come back with a bed, a new kitchen and 40 plastic boxes with lids. Except we had a cafe, a very big cafe.
Fast forward two years and here we are. Corona. Ripping a hole through the hospitality industry. But we're a strong lot us. Our staff are fantastic, they work really hard and they love being in Bounds Green serving the community.
In February we'd hired a new chef. She's awesome and we'd started to work on a plan to open in the evenings. Doing what we do but at night. Great quality, simple ingredients with amazing wine and cocktails. How much do you want that right now because we miss it SOOOOO much. It's coming. We promise. We're gonna get through Corona and we're going to do the night service. It's going to be killer. We're putting Bounds Green on the map and we're excited about it.
So...what have we been up to since we closed our doors? Well, Sam wanted to keep himself occupied / couldn't face homeschooling so he's been cooking for the staff at North Middlesex hospital. We're able to work with Edible London who provide us with some surplus ingredients and we knock out and deliver meals to them every week. We're so happy to be able to continue doing this and thankful to the people who are already supporting us along the way.
Then we started thinking about our supply chain and how it's also being hit by Corona. The amazing suppliers that bring our eggs, bread, wine and meat (you know, the good things in life) and how the entire supply chain has been affected. We came up with some take away ideas to sell and deliver locally. We're making lasagna's, DIY brunch packs, delivering wine and baking cinnamon rolls. We're trying to do what we do, just without having any staff employed....Our staff, Nico, Gosia, Alex, Sara, Amy and Lillian who like so many people in this industry have been in a strange limbo over the past month were amazing and so understanding during March when everything got turned upside down. We've put them all on furlough whilst we get through this sticky situation and cannot wait to have them and their smiling faces back in the house.
We are also digging up the garden at the back of the shop, we've got some help from George...he's got green fingers and comes when we aren't there to get some sunshine and do some forking . We thought we'd use this opportunity to try and become a little self sufficient. We've installed a compost bin and getting the ground ready to plant produce. It's a little daunting but we're working on having something growing that we can get out onto plates!
So whilst we are keeping busy it's tricky times, we don't know how long this is going to last and we want to make sure that we are here when this is all over. Right now we've started to futureproof our shop. We're working with our buddy Karl to build a small shop area towards the back, we'll sell wine, local beers, bread and coffee, this should be up in the next few weeks and we'll get our shelves stocked and work out a way for you to be able to visit the shop. We envisage that it's going to be a while before normality hits so this is a way we feel that we'll be able to get back up and running sooner. We're planning on roasting more too. Our bean suppliers are keen for us (and you) to try some new coffee. When Corona hit our kitchen was mid way through being updated. We were about to sign on a new oven, install new counters (which are now sitting in our shed) and upgrade our hobs. We had to put a hold on all of this and any funding raised will go towards getting our kitchen finished up and ready for evening service.
If you are able to we've set up some pretty awesome pledges on here. Some as pay it forward and some just because we think it will be fun! Don't be shy, share with your friends, donate, pledge. We love you, we appreciate your continued support and let's Daniel Beddingfield our way through this.
Sam, Roberta, Emilia & Vincent.