Happy New Year to everyone.
With the New Year comes a new season of spectacular weddings, amazing couples, and hot, heavy steel.
Another thing that comes is a question I ask myself immediately following a wedding or event.
Why in the world do I do this?
I awake typically at 6 am. Its Sunday; all is calm. My mind tells my legs to swing over to the edge of the bed - my legs say no. After some coaxing and sweet talk, my legs give in to the sweet promise of hot coffee. As I slowly rise to my feet, the rest of the pains start popping like synapses all over my body. I utter the same phrase I always do every Sunday morning in the height of the season “I must have gotten ran over by a truck in my sleep last night”.
I get up and start the day - the week over again.
Few people really know what goes into preparing and planning a wedding or other special event. This is something Heirloom Fire and I take very seriously. I know how many hours you have logged into Pinterest, how many dress details you have torn apart to narrow it down to just one. That’s why from the moment your fingers hit the keys to draft me an email or to give me a call, I can’t wait to respond, no matter how groggy I may be.
This is the biggest day of your life and I am so incredibly flattered that you would be considering me to be such a major part of it. This means so much to me and that is why we take a huge amount of care in preparing every detail.
The initial communication starts with either an email or a phone call as we begin the journey and explore how we can best work together. At this point during our conversation, I sharpen my pencils and adjust my color palate and do my best to paint an articulate description as I walk you, by the hand, through what an Heirloom Fire experience looks like.
The next steps are coming to see the location you have chosen as the foundation for the celebration of your marriage. I love to see people happy and usually at this time I get a healthy dose of that. I have a fond memory of a soon to be bride running up and down a hill admiring the view of a specific large oak tree where her and her groom were to be wed. Panting after running up and down the hill, a smile painted from cheek to cheek and then decidedly exclaiming “this is the spot”! - I love that.
We will find an area suitable for our kitchen and I will be begin to go into detail as the picture becomes clear in my head of how it was be designed, describing the visuals, the smells, the sounds and your guest reactions.
Finally, when that day comes we arrive early, sometimes with the sun on our heels. We set the stage of our kitchen, our maple butcher blocks with steel braces, our pantry with fruits and vegetables just picked up from the farm on our way in, our ice chest to keep delicious cheeses from ripening until just the right moment, our steel ovens and the rest of our equipment - Then, we bring the fire. We cook on a carefully planned out timeline as to be cooking this beautiful food right up to the moment to preserve its freshly harvested flavor.
As you put the final bobby pin in your hair to hold your veil and your groom finishes tightening his tie, we are also putting our final touches on the beginning of this extraordinary evening.
Your guests arrive and you prepare for the aisle (I will let your imagination run wild here)
Following the cheers and howls your guests ascend into our kitchen like a herd of cattle escaping through a fallen fence chasing a bright green patch of grass. Guest after guest remark on how trilling this is as we talk food and continue to work our steel like fingers across a piano. There is crushing and pressing of heirloom apples into the freshest of cider that will mingle with the finest of bourbon. Smoke rises as will cut paper thin slices of handcrafted charcuterie and finish grilling our onions for the dip. Cooks rolling out a freshly risen dough for grilling over our hardwood flames. Appetizers are passed on wood and stone hailing from the sea and from the earth.
Cooks moving a large roasted animal off of the fire as the coals spit and hiss. Your friends and family drinking and savoring every element that is unfolding all around them.
Mountains of beautiful wood grilled and raw vegetables going down on our boards as we make the transition from the welcome hour to the main course.
We sharpen our knives and get to work carving while your guests make their way through the beautifully designed food displays. Filled with questions and excitement, we answer with enthusiasm and excitement of our own. Everyone has been taken care of and now seated to eat and lend their ears to your families verbal offerings for the evening.
We begin the final act.
Using our vintage cast iron, hand crank coffee grinder, we mill freshly roasted coffee beans to ensure that we end the evening on a high note. We love coffee so we know no other way than to prepare it with love. Our maple tables lined with the hour glass shaped Chemexes glimmer with the fading light of the moon. Guests are greeted with a deliciously fresh cup of coffee and a slice of dessert that was cooked right in our cast iron skillets in our fires.
We start to dissemble our fire born kitchen and put it to rest for the night, emptying our plates of coals into one pile. A cook stacks a few pieces of fire wood to start the evening bonfire.
At the end of the night, we are all admittedly sore and somewhat stiff. As I take a rest from breaking down hot steel, I make my way through the crowds of faces, some dancing, some talking, one person with cocktail in hand commenting on my chaps. My eyes fall upon both of you, just finishing a conversation with an elderly couple. I make my way over to say my last good byes for the evening with a warm, smokey hug. I see complete happiness and love in both of your eyes as a result of something truly wondrous that happened here tonight; the beginning of a new life filled with hope and excitement, the beginning of your forever.
Here was a night that neither you or your loved ones will ever forget.
And that my friends is the answer to why I do this.