Honoring Chef Michelle Brown, proud to call you friend
Michelle and Bryan placed their first order in 2018. Bryan called with a few questions. Michelle joined the call and introduced herself, giving her credentials as a chef and background in culinary training as well as now teaching. I took there order over the phone with my very antiquated systems I had in place at the time. There was not a website, only a poorly, self-built out Google landing page. It was terribly clunky. It definitely looked like I had built it, trying to save money starting out. I took their deposit, told them how my awful system worked. Let them know I would call them in a few weeks with the hanging weight and their balance.
I reached back out to Michelle. I asked her if she would help me with making my customers' experiences better and is that even possible if they didn't grow up on real food the way I did. I told her I would find a way to pay her by trading out beed (remember, broke, starting out, that stuff?). She was so excited! She started going off with a list of all the things to do, and we have to cook together, and this, and that, and jargon outside of my realm. All I could think was like Tiger King, "I am never going to financially recover from this." After she stopped talking, and it was a bit later, I meekly asked, how much do I owe you, afraid of whatever the answer was going to be from $1,000 or $.80 cents, it was the same to me at the time. She excitedly said, "Oh, nothing! I want to do this with you!"
So we started down this road. She was a bit fancy with the cooking for my taste. I got around to telling her, how do I dumb this down for a guy like me, how do I make all of this simple for my customers? They won't want elaborate and complicated. These are families coming home after a full day at work, shooting off to some kid or kids practices, games, and recitals. Time, shortcuts, and simple is what these households want, need.
And so Michelle did more magic and gave me a few simple steps. Off we went. I gathered the advice and friendships of a few more chefs. Collectively, we came to today's "Five Steps to the Perfect Plate".
I got a call a little over a year after our first meeting Michelle and Bryan were selling their Dallas area home. They were moving to Waco for another culinary teaching opportunity at the college there. Michelle loved pouring what she knew and loved into the lives of others, so pouring into students I know fed her soul. She was excited and took off. Bryan, pour guy, got the house ready for market and worked through the sale of their home. They both apologized when they told me of the changes and move. Told me they loved the beef.
My immediate response without much thought was, I am going with you. Waco isn't that far. They gave me a few chances to let me off the hook, but I insisted on continuing to serve them out of gratitude, as well as wanting to maintain our friendship; an excuse to keep contact with them.
All this to say, Austin, she is also the reason I branched out and now serve you as well. It only made perfect sense. Waco is on the way to Austin. Austin isn't that much further. All the things I used to convince myself this was the right move. Austin, you responded amazing, swiftly, and overwhelming. You responded with your excitement, kindness, hunger, and gratitude to our farm to table home delivery... Cowpooling!