20th November 2016
I remember getting a call from the HSE three days before starting the market. Even though I had spent a huge amount of time running through everything with an EHO officer weeks prior, someone else was taking this on now. I had planned on using iced cooler boxes to keep the food cold which is pretty standard (and was November). I now needed a fridge on site, they would be out to inspect the first weekend and would shut me down if I didn’t have it. That was the first of a few reasons I would be shut down, other being that I had to have 80 litres of water for the sink! 80 litres!!! It’s no wonder people are scared of them and don’t go into the food business lightly. They really should be helping people not threatening to shut them down. I think there was tears that day – I had planned everything to a tee and actions from this phone call were not included!
The first day was on a Friday evening. I was setting up my hut and felt all over the place – I didn’t really have a clue was I was doing and it was my new career! It’s such a strange feeling when you’ve been so used to the same type of work and suddenly you’re so in over your head. The evening was quiet which was fine for me, a slow test run!! The organisers informed me there was a fireworks display the next evening and they were expecting 2000 people. Oh god. I didn’t have enough food. Obviously it’s always better to sell out than have food left over but I hadn’t quite learnt that yet and completely freaked out. Off I went to Lidl and bought €100 worth of food.
Despite my nerves the first day went really well. Spencer was there to help (thank god) so he kept me calm and I adopted a ‘don’t panic’ pep talk for myself every time I started to stress and it worked. The main thing I was worried about was dealing with volume but the omelettes were turning out really well and I was getting them out quickly. So many family and friends came down to support which was really amazing and so nice to see friendly faces. The fireworks display was really busy but I was pretty proud of Cracked running it smoothly. The weather was sunny and cold but a perfect weekend to be out and about so we were lucky. I remember plonking myself on the couch on Sunday night and feeling so exhilarated and tired at the same time. I guess it’s like overcoming something you don’t think you can do. Next stop: an iron man!