Let’s be honest, this wasn’t the year I was expecting to have with Fermenthings. On the 1st of Januari 2019, we didn’t have a shop anymore but a mission to start a whole new version in Be-Here. We planned out some events in the city and had lots of fun at La Fruitière and Green Lab. But things got complex when we had to start building the second version in May. The new project was a big risk and a huge challenge, which created tension inside our organization and let to the departure of one of it founding members. So there I was, kind of alone, in charge of 288m2 of space.
Six months, 38 workshops, 3 trips to the Netherlands, 1 to Switzerland, 280 brunch plates, 4500 buns sold later I’m starting to see where the project is heading towards. With the small or big help from people like Adeline, Manu, Virginie, Arthur, Alex, Simon, Yves, Christiaan, Ana, and many others ,AND a special mention for my soon to be wife Stéphanie who is supporting me through this challenging period, I’m now here, writing a bit emotionally about the present and future to come.
Getting the steering wheel of this company while it was going of road was the first challenge to overcome, lots of energy was put to assemble a vehicle that will continue the trip, even off road, and I’m starting to feel confident behind the steering wheel. But this chaotic period has taken a toll on me. At many moments I went into the red zone and forced myself over my limits putting me in a mostly emotionally fragile state. For 2020 I want to put particular care onto this work/life balance, for me and the people surrounding.
Don’t hear me wrong, I loved the road trip we had in the past half year. I think the project matured a lot, new heights were conquered and the space has such a lively atmosphere, but it’s time to open the doors to new people (I opened a month ago a call to new profiles which ended in interesting encounters), continue the professionalisation of the equipment and settle clear goals for 2020. The vehicle needs to get a road stabilization equipment now, we are in for the long trip!
So, what are we up too for next year? Two big challenges will arise: welcoming the newly interested people in a well fit structure where they can learn, grow and feel part of the project and building the restaurant / catering division to a certain level of professionalism and service. If I want to be able to do the second, I need to put time and energy in the first, that is for sure.
Since a couple of weeks, by having more food related missions I fell in love as never before with the cooking aspect. Creating new dishes like the Bloempanch steak with Red cabbage / apple Kimchi or the Umami bomb I felt highly satisfied. I will be looking into it more thoroughly and maybe even go follow some chef formation.
But the most important for me is that Fermenthings evolves next year in a project carried by multiple people. To continue the vehicle allegory: it’s time to take one or more co-pilote and give them a warm welcome and let them feel at home. I never intended to make this a solo mission and now that the vehicle is again save to drive I can share it with others once again.
I wish everybody a good holiday, I will be taking 3 weeks of to Canada with family and friends to resource myself and come back fresh to tackle 2020 with new and familiar faces and letting more headspace for friends and family!