Sometimes our marketing approach was to donate a gift certificate. This is a great ways to advertise without any up front costs. Most winners of these gift certificates rarely ever use them.
We were asked by by the Steinbach Art Council to donate some sort of package that we offered at the Calder House and we chose to donate the "Soiree au pizza". The couple who won were celebrating their 2nd year wedding anniversary. Their package included a one night stay, pizza dinner and 2 - 30 minutes hot stone massage.
When our couple arrived at the house you could tell they were really feeling out of their comfort zone. We did the best we could to make them feel at home. We gave them a tour of the house, pointed out the areas they were free to sit and relax.
Our couple had gone up to their room to get settled in, and a few minutes later the gentleman came downstairs and asked: "Where is the TV". I replied: "We don't have a TV for our guests". As that answer sank in, you could see the distress on his face. Off he went back upstairs to talk to his wife. Within a few minutes they both came downstairs and sat at the kitchen table.
I said: "What are you doing?" The man replied: "We are watching you". Back in those early days of our business I did not allow anyone in the kitchen while I created my magic. I was always in my zone, and didn't appreciate anyone in my space. I remember feeling so so uncomfortable. I made suggestions as to where they might sit, like in the gazebo the watch the birds. To be honest with you anywhere else in the house except the kitchen. So they obliged, got up sat in the gazebo for 10 minutes and then came back in, and sat down at the kitchen table.
I took a large breath of air, and let it out ever so slowly. The were so mesmerized by the fact that I was making pizza from scratch. I was boiling my secret sauce and adding all kinds of healthy super foods into my crust. It was really amazing to me how much their minds could not fathom how to make homemade pizza.
I managed to embrace the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing and allow myself to be out of my comfort zone. That experience made me realize how so many people are disconnected from one of their major sources of life energy - food! It also underlined a huge problems that our society has with their dependency on processed food.
From that day forward, my kitchen was never closed to my guests. They could come and sit and chat. I had the perfect opportunity to share the importance of whole foods, sourcing from farmers who were stewards of the land. Some of our most popular retreat packages were born from this experience. The most popular was "Soiree au pizza". To this day I still hear Grant lament that he misses my pizzas.
I give thanks to this wonderful couple who broke my kitchen barriers, and showed me that the love that comes from my creations in the kitchen are worth sharing with the world.