Here at Embers, family is important to us. The famiglie we were born into, the sorelle we grew up with, the amicizie we have formed, the persone we work with, the clienti we value, and the comunità we belong to. Who better to share a meal with than family!
Growing up in Pickering Brook, the youngest of four daughters, we have always called the hills home. We grew up on an orchard that was first settled by our Dad’s parents in 1935 as a market garden. We spent a lot of time in the dirt. It was the best childhood anyone could ask for.
Our childhood consisted of playing under the fruit trees and constructing igloos out of export plum boxes in the shed. We used to steal mums best frying pans to cook pancakes in a tippee in the orchard, when we ran out of batter we would start frying whatever we could find; banana peels, leaves, dirt… Mum appreciated this. Especially when the policemen knocked on the door to tell her the big pine tree was on fire.
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We gained our love of cheese from our dad (but we don’t eat it with cake or dunk it in our tea). Mum tried to teach us that you can never cook meat of any kind too much. And even if you think it is done give it another 5 for good luck.
Watching our parents work long hours on the land, even we weren’t prepared for the insane hours involved with running a restaurant. Now into our tenth year of running Embers, we have had our ups and our downs. Spending 12 hours a day, 6 days a week at work means you spend a lot of time with your team (even more then you spend with your own husbands). Growing up we had evening meals around the kitchen table as a family, now we have family meals with our team sitting down everyday to lunch together. We were born into one family. Now we are lucky enough to have two.
Embers has taught us that:
Parmesan goes with everything, especially fried rice
No matter the options, the best way to make it through a long shift is always ice cream and ice magic (tequila doesn’t hurt either)
No matter how many people are sitting down to lunch Marissa will always make enough. There will be seconds, and thirds, and leftovers.
Substituting salt instead of sugar into recipes, especially pancakes is not ideal (the idea of passing them off as a salted caramel pancake special won’t work either).
And, when Nicci and cleaning are involved, the death of at least one piece of electrical equipment is guaranteed.
Would we trade it in for an easier life? Maybe. If you caught us just after finishing an 80 hour week we just might. It might be nice running a business when you can actually take sick leave for broken bones or appendicitis, and maybe skip work to go family events.
On the flip side, running Embers has enriched our lives, allowed us to build a partnership far stronger than any blood tie, form a team that respect and understand each other, and build friendships with people we would not otherwise have met. It has enabled us to both find brilliant understanding husbands that help us to work the hours we do (both of whom are really good at doing the laundry).
Is it worth it? Bloody oath it is (just don’t tell mum I swore)