Chopped Champion & His Better Half: Christian & Christine Hayes of Dandelion Catering, Part 1
In this episode, we have a Food Network Chopped Champion who credits his business-partner wife with helping him win the show's “Pork On The Brain” episode. Meet Christian and Christine Hayes of powerhouse Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine. It was Christine’s experience as a pastry chef that informed Christian’s championship dessert of dark chocolate pork blood pudding. And this points to the greater reality of their relationship of professionalism, cooperation, and joy for each other, their work, the universe and everything. Watching these two in an interview together was a gift. They’re a fun couple who’s learning-by-doing cooperation and partnership are an inspiration.
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The Chopped Champion & His Better Half: Christian & Christine Hayes of Dandelion Catering, Part 1
Christian Hayes is a uniquely 21st Century culinary celebrity, and he and his wife Christine run Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine. Christian is winner of the “Pork On The Brain” episode of the Food Network’s cooking show, Chopped. He is also the first to say that his wife's input for the dessert round saved his bacon. They each have a deep background in food service, and what started as a side hustle 10 years ago has now grown to 15 employees.
In this episode, they talk about competing on Chopped, why they started Dandelion Catering, how they want to give their employees something more, and how they’re expanding the business.
- Why people trust them and their business
- A marketing tool that’s actually a revenue stream
- Defining responsibilities, and allowing your employees to take some of them on
- How Blaine and Honey discovered Dandelion Catering after watching Christian win Chopped (03:49)
- Why Christian’s experience being in a band helped him perform on Chopped (05:17)
- How Christian and Christine met (06:50)
- How Christine became interested in food (11:42)
- The moment that Christian became interested in food (14:51)
- What made them start a catering business together (19:07)
- How a small business can give a more intimate service to clients (24:58)
- Their plans for the future and how they want to have a restaurant (26:47)
- Their “Pop-up Lunches” (30:43)
- How they work together (33:37)
- How Christine copes with having a defined division of labor (37:04)
- How handing over more responsibility to their employees allows them to be there for their kids (39:42)
- The responsibilities of having a staff of 15 (43:30)
- The time they were catering a wedding and almost got stranded on an island (47:18)
- How catering is beautiful chaos (53:39)
Honey: 00:05 That man is still scraping his grill.
Blaine: 00:07 I don't get that. He's been scraping it since the last episode.
Honey: 00:11 How long can one man scrape a grill?
Blaine: 00:13 A week, apparently.
Honey: 00:14 Wow, that's a clean grill.
Blaine: 00:16 He's scraping more than that guy was mowing his lawn.
Honey: 00:18 He's getting up in his own grill.
Blaine: 00:20 Yeah, he is getting up in his own grill. And those Canadian geese didn't really seem to take kindly to it.
Welcome to Couple Co. Working with your spouse for fun and profit.
Honey: 00:34 It's business and it's personal.
Blaine: 00:35 I'm Blaine Parker.
Honey: 00:36 Which usually makes me Honey Parker.
Blaine: 00:38 And as a couple in business together, we are coming to you from the Couple Coach, our compact trans American land yacht.
Honey: 00:43 We are navigating this great nation in search of stand out couples in business together.
Blaine: 00:47 And we're bringing them to you, so you can hear their inspiring stories of crushing it in business without crushing each other.
Honey: 00:53 This show is also brought to you by A Couple in Business.
Blaine: 00:57 Smoke and Mary smoked bloody Mary mix.
Honey: 01:00 Made in small batches with no reconstituted tomato juice.
Blaine: 01:04 Zippo.
Honey: 01:04 Only fresh, whole, plump, wonderful tomatoes.
Blaine: 01:09 I was afraid you were gonna say stinking tomatoes.
Honey: 01:12 I was never gonna say stinking tomatoes.
Blaine: 01:13 Well thank God you didn't say stinking tomatoes.
Honey: 01:15 Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Blaine: 01:15 Would've been wrong.
Honey: 01:15 Totally wrong.
Blaine: 01:17 Smoking Mary smoked bloody Mary mix. Hey, nice tomatoes. Online and smokingmary.com.
This is an important announcement for our listeners in Paris, Munich, and Barcelona.
Honey: 01:28 We want to hear from you.
Blaine: 01:29 As you hear this, we are on a European tour. Do you want to help add an international flavor to this show?
Honey: 01:36 Oui? No?
Blaine: 01:37 Oui? No? Yeah? Si?
Honey: 01:40 Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blaine: 01:43 If it works out, we'd love to sit down with you. That's email@example.com
Now, in this episode we have a genuine US celebrity in the house.
Honey: 01:52 He also has real world experience in Couple Co land. And is a television start of the uniquely 21st century kind.
Blaine: 02:00 And his celebrity status is due in no small part to his wife and business partner.
Honey: 02:05 You're about to meet Christian and Christine Hayes of Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine.
Blaine: 02:09 Christian had his moment of TV fame as a winner on the Food Network's competitive cooking show, Chopped.
Honey: 02:15 And he'll be the first to tell you that it was his wife's input for the dessert round that saved his bacon.
Blaine: 02:20 It was her experience as a pastry chef that informed his championship dessert of dark chocolate pork blood pudding. Yes. Mmm. And this points to the greater reality of their relationship of professionalism, and cooperation.
Honey: 02:34 As well as joy for each other, their work, the universe, and everything. Watching these two in an interview together was a gift.
Blaine: 02:41 Here now, part one of our conversation with Christian and Christine Hayes of Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine.
We are sitting here with Christian and Christine Hayes of Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine.
Christian: 02:57 Yarmouth.
Blaine: 02:57 Yarmouth.
Christian: 02:59 Nicely done.
Blaine: 03:00 Is that right? Is that too Massachusetts?
Christian: 03:01 It's Yarmouth.
Blaine: 03:01 Yarmouth.
Christian: 03:03 Yarmouth.
Blaine: 03:04 Because I find that the Massachusetts tends to be a little more dramatic.
Christian: 03:08 Yeah.
Blaine: 03:08 Maine is a little more low key.
Christian: 03:10 Yeah, Yarmouth.
Blaine: 03:11 What we're gonna do is do something here that is not gonna sound very good for radio. Maybe I could put it in, in post. We're toasting with a lovely pinot noir because it's late in the afternoon, but it's in plastic cups. Because the fabulous Honey Parker and I are not with our usual portable wine bar.
Honey: 03:26 Because we came here-
Blaine: 03:28 On a yacht. Boy that makes us sound wealthy, doesn't it.
Christian: 03:28 So bougie.
Honey: 03:31 Not our move.
Christine: 03:31 Cheers.
Honey: 03:31 Cheers.
Christian: 03:35 Cheers, man that's good. Almost, needs to breathe.
Blaine: 03:42 Yeah, we figured a pinot noir would be better than like a zin or some heavy cab or something.
Christian: 03:47 No, it's good. It's good.
Blaine: 03:48 So this is an honor. Because we were watching Chopped, Honey and I. And this guy from Maine who owns a catering company won. What was the battle?
Christian: 04:02 It was pork.
Blaine: 04:03 Pork, that was it.
Christian: 04:04 Pork on the brain.
Blaine: 04:05 Pork on the brain, and we're a multi screen household like everybody, and as we're watching this, I'm Googling it and it's like, "Hey, Dandelion Catering is a couple co."
Christian: 04:14 That's right.
Blaine: 04:15 So what we're gonna do is get in touch with them after the dust settles from Chopped, and hope they will let us interview them.
Christian: 04:22 Yeah, of course.
Blaine: 04:24 And they did. So we have a celebrity with us, and the woman who made the celebrity possible.
Christian: 04:32 No.
Blaine: 04:33 Because we know, were it not for Christine, Christian never would've made it that far. Right?
Christine: 04:38 Oh no, that's not true.
Christian: 04:41 No, that is true. That is true. She cut her teeth in restaurants, but then she focused on baking towards the end of her career before Dandelion, before we started Dandelion. And so, she actually walked me through a few basic ratios. And one of them was, I used the crumble in the dessert round. So it is, I owe it all. She gets some of that money. If I hadn't spent it already.
Christine: 05:05 Right.
Blaine: 05:06 That's cool. Were it not for your crumble, he would not have made it.
Christian: 05:06 Yeah, totally.
Blaine: 05:13 The thing that I think is interesting is that Christine, do you have a performing background at all?
Christine: 05:16 No.
Blaine: 05:17 Okay. Because Christian is a musician, you've been on stage?
Christian: 05:22 Yeah. A lot.
Blaine: 05:23 So that helped a little, didn't it?
Christian: 05:23 Yeah.
Blaine: 05:23 A little.
Christian: 05:24 I think I like that ... the hardest part of that challenge is convincing yourself that you should be there. And we had reached a point in the band's trajectory that I was ready to walk onto the stage in front of like 3000 people and just slay it. Like I knew we were there for a reason. And once you reach that point, the vulnerability goes away, and then you're doing something that you know you're good at.
Blaine: 05:24 Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Christian: 05:46 And that you hopefully can win over that crowd very quickly. And that was when we started to play the big rooms. That was kind of that thing where it's like you get excited to go, "Oh, they might not know who we are, but they sure as hell will when we're walking off the stage." And I don't know if I'm there with cooking yet. But ... seriously, like I mean I was really, really vulnerable. But I just decided. I don't know why, probably because of that past. Those challenges of being on stage and learning to kind of expose that vulnerability and show that you can fight through, have fun.
Honey: 06:26 Yeah.
Blaine: 06:27 So, your performing background and Christine's crumble, made it all possible.
Christian: 06:31 That's the equation. The winning.
Blaine: 06:33 All right, so we've now spent way too much time talking about one man, that's part of a couple co. We're going to ask one of the most important questions that this show ever asks.
Christian: 06:47 Okay.
Blaine: 06:47 Are you ready?
Honey: 06:48 Can I do this one?
Blaine: 06:49 Go ahead.
Honey: 06:50 How'd you guys meet?
Christian: 06:52 Oh God. You want to take it?
Christine: 06:54 Well, no.
Blaine: 06:55 Have some wine. You'll be great.
Honey: 06:59 That's what the wine's for.
Christian: 07:01 I'll start, but you can take over, because I feel like-
Christine: 07:04 Well, I have my version of how we met. And you have your version.
Blaine: 07:06 That's what we count on.
Christian: 07:08 Okay, you tell your version, and then I'll tell what really happened.
Christine: 07:12 Okay. So, I was working at a bakery. I was co-managing, I think at the time with your brother. And we were hiring and you came on. And we became friends. And our friendship grew into something more. And that's my story.
Blaine: 07:33 Wow, that's so the restrained New England version too. I love that. I'm not making fun of New England, by the way. I'm from Connecticut, okay?
Christian: 07:43 That's not ... well that's sort of.
Blaine: 07:46 Okay, technically it is New England. Okay?
Honey: 07:47 Well, I'm from Philadelphia, we are not a restrained kind.
Blaine: 07:55 Let's not hate on the [inaudible 00:07:55] community of New York fame.
Christian: 07:58 I'm totally not. So, basically I used to run this bagel shop in the mid 90's, and I would go and buy produce from this place that was sort of ahead of its time, it's the Portland Green Grocer downtown. It was all farm fresh stuff, and I had this thing for this cashier. And so I would just like always go to get the produce, but I never talked to her. And so, when she disappeared, which rewind, was when she went to college in Colorado, she was just gone. And then fast forward a couple years, and I go in to visit my brother, and she's working behind the counter. They were hiring, I immediately quit my job to go work with her, so I could meet her.
Honey: 08:42 Really?
Christian: 08:42 Yeah. Oh yeah, took a big pay cut.
Honey: 08:48 So what was-
Christian: 08:48 Sacrificed so much for this relationship.
Blaine: 08:48 Wow.
Honey: 08:48 I mean clearly you knew?
Blaine: 08:48 That hurt.
Honey: 08:52 You were like, "This is the one."
Christian: 08:56 I, yeah. I mean I was just exactly. And so I kinda made the transition into that job. Stole her from her boyfriend.
Blaine: 09:05 Right on.
Christian: 09:06 And that was like 15 years ago. 16 years ago or something.
Blaine: 09:06 Dang. Man.
Christian: 09:11 You know it was funny because I didn't know, but through sort of the beginning of our relationship when we were kinda falling in love and just becoming really good friends, my brother had mentioned to her, "Oh yeah, my brother remembers you from the bagel shop and stuff." And so she put two and two together, because I didn't know that my boss had gone over from the bagel shop and told her that one of his employees was like head over heels for her.
So she put two and two together immediately. And knew that the whole time that we were kinda hanging out. And that's just kinda happened. I don't know. Yeah. The moons were aligned.
Christine: 09:46 And you switched moons.
Blaine: 09:47 I love the story. And how often do those stories work out well?
Christine: 09:52 Right.
Christian: 09:52 Yeah, I mean, I would hope we're the exception.
Blaine: 10:00 Maybe you'd ask this question too, I don't know.
Honey: 10:02 Maybe I would.
Blaine: 10:03 Maybe you would. How'd you feel about this?
Christian: 10:06 It wasn't creepy.
Blaine: 10:09 I'm sorry, Christine, how did you feel about this?
Christine: 10:11 When you tell the story, it sounds kinda creepy, but in the moment and in the time, it was like, I don't know, we were young.
Christian: 10:19 Yeah, it's not like I was leaving this career.
Blaine: 10:23 Or leaving the band.
Christian: 10:24 Or leaving, or moving across the country, or watching for her weeks work behind the counter. It was just one of those things where I remember this beautiful girl, woman, that I had kinda fallen head over heels for.
Blaine: 10:43 From afar?
Christian: 10:45 Yeah, oh yeah. Yeah. And then seeing here.
Christine: 10:47 But you were looking to get out.
Christian: 10:51 And I was looking to get out of the ... you know, I was doing turn and burn sports bar food and stuff. And this was more of a relaxed space, market, lunch, stuff like that. And yeah, it was just like, let's do it.
Blaine: 11:04 All right.
Christian: 11:06 Yeah.
Blaine: 11:07 Did you have any more questions about the romance?
Honey: 11:10 No, I think that's as nosy as I want to be.
Blaine: 11:14 Because I so want to ask probing questions, but they have no part in this. Because this is almost a stalker-esque kind of.
Christian: 11:24 See, I hate that.
Christine: 11:24 Right.
Honey: 11:25 No, it's very, very sweet. He was younger and optimistic.
Blaine: 11:29 Yes.
Christian: 11:30 Yeah, I was what? 22. I was 22.
Christine: 11:35 Or younger.
Blaine: 11:38 And the good news is, she sees the humor in this.
Christine: 11:41 Yeah.
Christian: 11:42 Yeah.
Honey: 11:42 What I was gonna ask was about both of your backgrounds in food. I mean, because obviously you got together and that was a commonality. But how did you get to that place in food? What was your background?
Christine: 11:54 Well, mine started at the Green Grocer. I had a working mom, and she didn't really cook that much. So when I went into this market that had fresh produce, I had never had cilantro, I had never eaten an avocado. So my whole world opened up with food. And even wines and just seeing this new world, and it was really amazing. And I was trying new food. I was the girl that ate vanilla ice cream and didn't venture out of that.
And then I started working for catering companies and I just fell in love with it. I loved the party and the atmosphere, and the celebration, and the food, and I just really loved doing it. And decided to go to culinary school. And then eventually ended up in a restaurant. Well, ended up working at Big Sky, at the bakery. And that's where we met. And then I enrolled in culinary school, and sort of like that forward motion happened.
Blaine: 12:54 That's a really interesting genesis. I mean, the whole, "My mom didn't cook and I got a job in the Green Grocer, because wow, it sort of spun my head around, all this different produce."
Christine: 13:03 Right, I mean, if you came up to the counter ... and I always laugh when I go to the counter now and someone is like, "Is this cilantro or parsley?" Because I didn't know. And now like it's so interesting. I was 18 years old and I just had no idea what cilantro tasted like.
Blaine: 13:03 I gotta know.
Christine: 13:19 Or like a beautiful mango.
Blaine: 13:22 Oh yeah.
Christine: 13:22 I just didn't, I didn't eat fruits and vegetables. I ate granola bars and packaged food. And I loved that. Twinkies and Doritos and Oreo cookies. I grew up on like junk food.
Honey: 13:36 I mean, I get it. My mother, we were just talking about this. I didn't grow up with vegetables at all. Corn, iceberg lettuce, and tomatoes. That was it. And I didn't have most vegetables until I was in my 20's and 30's. My mother, they were visiting and she had broccoli for the first time in her 70's. She literally said, "What is that green on my plate?" And she'll eat anything that Blaine makes.
Blaine: 14:02 She ate it only because I cooked it.
Honey: 14:04 If Blaine ... he won't say anything bad, but Blaine does a fine job in the kitchen, and so she thought, "Okay, maybe this'll be all right." And she tasted it and loved it and she said, "I do not want to see this posted on the Facebook."
Blaine: 14:17 So I need to know, cilantro. Soapy?
Christine: 14:20 I don't think so.
Blaine: 14:21 When you first tried it, you didn't go, "Soapy?"
Christine: 14:23 I think I did, yeah. I think I was a little scared of it.
Blaine: 14:27 Because it was in salsa, I didn't know what it was. Why does this taste soapy? But yeah, I'm a convert.
Christine: 14:32 Right.
Blaine: 14:32 For, especially now.
Christian: 14:33 So you started soapy and went?
Blaine: 14:35 Yeah, most people don't seem to be able to do that. It's supposed to be a genetic thing.
Christine: 14:39 I think I started out soapy. Yeah. And then I switched.
Blaine: 14:43 But now, God I love Thai flavors. Cilantro. Anyway, we digressed again.
Honey: 14:50 So I was gonna ask you then, Christian, what is your background in food and what got you up to that point?
Christian: 14:57 Very similar, when I was young, packaged foods, Slim Jims, Pop Tarts.
Blaine: 15:03 Similar background.
Christian: 15:06 Yeah. Slim Jims and Pop Tarts.
Honey: 15:07 Favorite Pop Tart?
Christian: 15:09 I was raspberry, my brother was blueberry. Yeah, and this was before like the frosting and all that. It's a whole new animal now.
Honey: 15:16 Yeah, I can't do the frosting.
Christian: 15:17 No, not at all. It's candy.
Honey: 15:18 Strawberry, no frosting.
Christian: 15:20 Yeah, yeah. See I was strawberry. My brother and I were polar opposites. I was carrots, he was celery. Chocolate, vanilla. But very just simple stuff. Over cooked pork chops, because my mom was afraid of red meat. Undercooked, that was the salmonella, or E-coli. Everything can kill you. Yeah. Gray pork chops and chop suey. Pasta. And then I started to notice, I can remember the first time that my father was a commercial fisherman, and it was, I remember like I can picture sitting at the dinner table, in the house that I lived in until I was maybe 11. And smoked tuna, my father brought smoked tuna home. And that was the moment that I was like, "What just happened?"
Blaine: 16:11 Okay, that your palette suddenly went, "What?"
Christian: 16:15 Yeah, exactly.
Blaine: 16:15 And you started to pursue food.
Christian: 16:19 Yeah, just kind of, it blasted the doors open. I can picture the wall paper in the kitchen. That moment when I tried that. It's really strange.
Honey: 16:27 Wow.
Christian: 16:27 Yeah.
Blaine: 16:28 That's something.
Christian: 16:29 And then moving forward, I can still taste my, it was my great-grandmother's strawberry rhubarb jam. And fried dough. So my father's family is on the Catholic Bay Islands. So they grew up right off the coast of Portland. Maybe four generations. And so on Long Island, my great-grandmother would make fried dough in the morning. She had a garden on the island, big garden. And strawberry rhubarb jam, fried dough, and those two things along with the smoked tuna, those are the things that I just ... and I like to equate it to like these memories that I can remember playing baseball, I can remember making a big play and sort of feel ... I can see the sunset running with the football and stuff. I can remember memories, but not as impactful as the food memories.
Like I can picture, I can taste it, I can smell it. Like really, really impactful stuff.
Blaine: 17:21 That's great.
Christian: 17:24 I have sort of ... that started sort of the catalyst for that genesis. So strawberry rhubarb jam, then the pickles my great-grandfather's pickles, which freaked me out. They're sitting in the shed with rusty ... I thought it was so disgusting. This jar with floaties in it. And pale green sitting in a shed, not in the kitchen, but in the shed with tools and I was just like, "What the hell is this? This is disgusting."
And then sort of realizing this is something.
Blaine: 17:54 Do you remember the day you ate the pickle and went, "Wait a minute."
Christian: 17:56 Yeah. And it was sort of very weak, vinegary, garden pickle. You know. But, even I still on the menu, I use this pickling liquid for some cukes, we did run it forever, but it was basically like half white vinegar and half sugar. That was it. And it took me right back to the Long Island pickles. And so that was sort of like, I realized it. And I would make like, I'd have my friends over and I'd cook bagels and put like grated Parmesan, Kraft Parmesan and garlic salt. And have them try it.
Blaine: 18:33 It's how we all started, isn't it?
Christian: 18:35 It really was, yeah.
Blaine: 18:36 Make these things that are in the house and like put them together.
Christian: 18:38 Yes.
Blaine: 18:38 In some way they haven't been put together before.
Christian: 18:40 Yeah, I loved it.
Christine: 18:43 And when we met, I mean, you were cooking.
Christian: 18:45 Our first date, you came over, we cooked scallops.
Christine: 18:47 Yeah.
Christian: 18:48 Yeah, I was all into it.
Christine: 18:49 And that's how he won over my mom. Because he made an amazing chowder.
Christian: 18:53 That's right.
Christine: 18:54 And she was like, "Okay. I really like you."
Honey: 18:57 But your mom wasn't there on the first date?
Christian: 18:59 No, she was out of town.
Honey: 19:01 Okay, those were different times.
Christian: 19:03 Yes.
Blaine: 19:04 Okay, so we're gonna fast forward to 10 years ago, you've not been stalking Christine.
Honey: 19:11 You guys are together.
Blaine: 19:12 Christian.
Christian: 19:13 I won her over.
Blaine: 19:14 Yeah, you won her over. And you go, "We need to start a catering company." How'd that happen?
Honey: 19:21 What made you want to go into business together?
Christian: 19:26 So we had worked together when I met her, obviously. And then we worked at the same restaurant following that spot. She was the sous chef at a finer place downtown, and I took over lunch there when that position kinda opened. So we were working long hours in a really difficult small kitchen, and we just learned sort of.
Blaine: 19:50 Long hours in difficult and small kitchens doesn't sound like fun.
Christian: 19:53 No. It wasn't. It killed her. And she was working, at that time, 70 hours a week, six days a week, it was just nonstop. 10 hour days, 12 hour days. Constantly. And it was also the most terrible sort of portion of our lives. I lost my father, and she lost her mother. And we just sort of took care of each other through that whole period of time.
And once we-
Christine: 20:21 We started to get comfortable. Like we had these comfortable jobs, and I was at the bakery and you were running-
Christian: 20:27 The sandwich shop.
Christine: 20:28 The sandwich shop, and it was just time for something different. And a couple of the ideas that we had always gone back and forth with were restaurants, and I was always a catering person. And it was sort of the easy jump to make. And something I was passionate about. But it was sorta like, "Okay, we can do this on the side. We can still maintain our jobs but do something different."
Christian: 20:53 Yeah, I think it started as a side hustle. But with expectation that we were gonna put the effort in that it would become more than a side hustle.
Blaine: 21:04 It started as a side hustle.
Christian: 21:06 Totally.
Blaine: 21:06 Really?
Christian: 21:07 Yeah, and I mean like that's how, honestly like in the economy was junk at that point.
Blaine: 21:14 Yes it was.
Christian: 21:16 It wasn't good. That we realized that we had something going. And it was working and we realized that there was major potential in this little machine that we were kind of doing. And we got to the point where we're working 40 hours a week each at our pretty established, secure jobs with benefits and decent pay. And we had bought our house. We had a one year old. And we did 17 weddings that summer. And we realized looking forward on the contract, I think it was 28 weddings. The growth was just astronomical over the course of five years. And we realized that we had to.
And we had the privilege of the foresight, because it's contracted work rather than a restaurant when you're waiting to see people walk in. Instead of that, we had contracts and we had deposits, and we knew what was happening.
Blaine: 22:09 Actually I felt like saying immediately, congratulations for being smart enough to start a catering company.
Christian: 22:14 Thank you.
Blaine: 22:15 Everybody wants to start a restaurant and be famous.
Christian: 22:17 Right. Yeah, no. No. And there's pros and cons to catering, but I mean that year of 17 weddings, we killed ourselves. We were cooking until ... we were prepping for a wedding Thursday and Friday, and then the wedding every week. Like Friday night we would prep all the way, we'd get out of work and prep until the babysitter showed up at seven AM, and then leave, pack a big rig, and leave for private island barge out and do this thing.
Blaine: 22:17 My God.
Christian: 22:45 And it was just sort of all of a sudden this word of mouth came out about this catering company.
Blaine: 22:50 Okay, you were doing huge events too.
Honey: 22:51 Yeah, I was just gonna ask you how your business built? It was all word of mouth?
Christian: 22:55 All word of mouth, 100%. Yeah. Even now, it's like the only money we spend in on Facebook ads.
Honey: 23:00 Do you remember your first job? The first catering event?
Christine: 23:04 Yes, it was out on Herma Island. And again, it was one of those things, starting your own business, my best friend's mom knew somebody that was getting married. Was like, "Hey, I know a caterer." And it just one of those things where your first gig is 100 people. And you know, it's just like, "Okay, prep it in two days, on the island."
Christian: 23:27 Make no money.
Christine: 23:28 Make no money. And pricing, I don't know, you're sorta just making it up as you go. And-
Blaine: 23:36 But I'll bet you sat down and were very convincing. You don't look like you get scared easily.
Christine: 23:45 I do. But I'm very shy.
Blaine: 23:45 Buy you hide it well.
Christine: 23:45 And I hide it well.
Blaine: 23:47 Stoic.
Christian: 23:49 Very stoic, yeah.
Christine: 23:49 That's my mother's side of the family. Like very, yeah.
Blaine: 23:56 What? Stoic New Englanders? You're kidding.
Christian: 23:58 Yeah, from Russia. New Englanders from Russia. Her mom and dad. Yeah, super stoic.
Blaine: 23:58 All right.
Christine: 24:05 Yeah, I think being able to ... as a caterer, being like, "Okay, I'm your contact person, I'm also the person that's going to be onsite and going to be the person that is cooking your food."
Christian: 24:17 That's putting it on the buffet, that's doing breaking down. All that.
Christine: 24:21 And so I think people trusted us. And felt comfortable.
Honey: 24:26 Because you were hands on?
Christine: 24:28 Yeah, hands on, but also just small. And just being like, "I'm gonna take your phone call at 9:00 at night, and I'm going to try and answer your email at three in the morning." Or whatever it is. But I think it's just making people feel comfortable. And it's just such a big day. And a lot of the clients that were coming to us at that time were not clients that had like big planners. They were just looking for a small farm wedding, and they wanted the food to be good. And putting their trust in somebody.
Blaine: 24:58 So for anyone interested in marketing, I can't tell you how much two people who have a marketing agency love to hear, "We never spent any money on marketing at all." But, this is exactly the thing that we tell people. It's like, Christine, what you're talking about, what you're describing is exactly what people need to be doing. It's so important. And one of the things people love working with us is we take their calls.
Christine: 25:22 Right.
Honey: 25:24 I think that's a huge part of it. For any business, but particularly for a small business. I think that that's people like working with a small business is you can reach somebody.
Christine: 25:33 Right.
Honey: 25:34 And you can reach somebody who can make things happen. It's not, "Oh, I'll get to so and so and see if." No, you can answer that question right now. You know if you can get that item. You know if you can add 10 more people.
Christine: 25:48 Right.
Blaine: 25:49 We limit the size of our client roster. I don't know that you guys can do that.
Christine: 25:54 And you have to put some limitations on that, but even our operations manager, we had a client from Australia, and she's just figuring out times to talk, and she came in like six in the morning or something. Just to make a phone call work. And it's those moments that I think reach out to a client and say, "We're gonna be here. We're gonna work together for a whole year talking about your event, and such a big day, and working through all these things." And knowing what's important to them. And we're still in touch, especially with our first few clients. There's still people that stop by for a pop up lunch. Or follow us on Instagram, and we follow them back. And they're having children.
Christian: 26:33 Or getting divorced.
Christine: 26:43 Or getting divorced.
Blaine: 26:43 Divorce catering. Wow. What a great idea.
Christian: 26:43 We'll see you at your next one.
Honey: 26:43 It's interesting, a repeat customer in your line of business.
Blaine: 26:46 This is just an aside, explain pop up lunch, because I love this.
Honey: 26:49 We know what it is, but people might not.
Blaine: 26:51 Uh oh, have we busted her? What was it?
Christian: 26:56 So for our next couple steps, we're finally at the point where ... because we bootlegged this entire thing from day one. We haven't borrowed a single cent, and that's sort of the way we've lived our lives, the way we've never asked for anything, we've never received anything. We just move forward and figure it out. And that's the way the business has been. And now we're at this point where we're able to sort of expand. And find the capital and figure out what our next steps are to scale up, because the growth hasn't stopped. The trajectory is still going, and so how do we capitalize on that? And how do we move forward without over extending ourselves, but also kind of further a little bit more.
So our next couple steps involved building a new, bigger catering kitchen within this mill. And then taking the other side, the water side of our space and building a restaurant, which would be a goal that I personally had, and I think that she has had for the business as well.
Blaine: 27:56 And we should probably explain for nobody who knows, anybody that doesn't know, Dandelion Catering is in an old textile mill.
Christian: 28:04 Yeah. Old mill.
Blaine: 28:04 And it's gorgeous.
Christian: 28:05 It's, yeah, we got super lucky, it's in our town that we had moved to prior to getting the space. It just kinda fell in our laps, there was somebody that needed us to fulfill their lease, and that coincided literally with the moment when we were quitting our jobs to take it on full time. Is the spring of that wedding season coming up that we knew we couldn't handle doing our day jobs. So it all kinda came together. It's kinda very serendipitous, and so we took over our dream kitchen here in the mill, and it was on the water.
So the water literally goes underneath the commercial kitchen. So, there's water on two sides.
Blaine: 28:42 And they use that water in all the cooking.
Christian: 28:44 We do, yeah. Unboiled. Organic.
Blaine: 28:49 It's organic.
Christian: 28:51 Unfiltered. Yeah.
Blaine: 28:52 Hear that friends?
Christian: 28:55 Actually, when we first took over the space, there were three turbines underneath our kitchen that powered the building. They since, there's problems in the dams and all that. So that's not there any more, but yeah. So we had this beautiful, we called it the anti-kitchen. Full of light, full of windows, but also just the culture within the kitchen.
Blaine: 29:12 And the kitchen is gorgeous, by the way. There are photographs on our Facebook page.
Christian: 29:15 It really is. It's unlike any other kitchen environment. You look out any mill window and you've got a bald eagle, or heron, or an osprey, you've got fly fishermen, and you don't see another house, another person, another car, except for the bridge kinda around the corner. And so, the anti-kitchen, that we call it, it's gonna sort of become more of a traditional kitchen and move away from the windows, unfortunately.
Blaine: 29:40 Aww.
Christian: 29:42 But the culture is anti-kitchen, where I like to ... it's a very positive culture. Very hard working people. Very team oriented. No egos.
Blaine: 29:51 I'm going to bet that this is very much how the two of you work together.
Christian: 29:56 Totally. I think.
Christine: 29:57 Yeah, I think so.
Blaine: 29:59 So you're taking a cue from that?
Christian: 30:00 Yeah. And I think we've kind of made this, incubated this sort of kitchen culture that we've been able to poach some really talented, kind, thoughtful people that are looking for that rather than the jaded sort of egocentric bullshit that you see in these overworked, blue collar kitchens. This is a very blue collar job. But we're able to take it and make it, I feel like, positive. It's a positive environment, everybody's kinda looking out for each other.
Blaine: 30:26 Which is great.
Christian: 30:27 Yeah.
Blaine: 30:27 It is so counter to what you hear about what happens in professional kitchens.
Christian: 30:30 Oh it's terrible. It's a hard business. But this is the anti-kitchen. You know? That's why I truly feel like we have it made in that spot. But that's moving. So we're moving it over to the non water side, another 2000 square feet. And the space where the kitchen is now, we're planning on putting in a very small restaurant.
So my whole idea was just to have bodies come in.
Christine: 30:55 Bring people in.
Christian: 30:55 Bring people in, meet us. Try out some food that won't necessarily translate to what the restaurant has.
Blaine: 31:01 It's marketing and it's a revenue stream.
Christian: 31:03 And it's a revenue stream.
Christine: 31:04 Right.
Christian: 31:04 Totally. Yeah. And it's a way to get people in, buy some food, check it out, once a week. And it creates more of an online presence, stuff to promote. And so that's what we're doing now, is every Wednesday, 11 to one, just kinda cranking out. And we're able to do it in a way that we prefer, which is put it out buffet style almost. And there's a glass sort of guard, but people just kinda choose what they want.
It's actually really surprising sort of, the amount of people that'll come in. I don't know who they are. And again, bring it back to those days when I was playing music. You know things are kinda moving forward when it's not just your friends that show up to the bar on a Wednesday. On a Tuesday night at 10 PM and it's just your friends, and then all of a sudden you start to see faces show up, and groups show up that you have no idea.
Blaine: 31:04 You've gotta see these guys.
Christian: 31:57 Who the hell they are.
Christine: 31:57 And this building that we've worked with, that worked within this building, and it's a maze in here, because it's so big, and there's so many doors, and entranceways, and things get cut off. And we actually get to meet people that work here.
Christian: 32:11 It's just when other people that show up that you don't know. And then you start to go, "Wow, this is pretty cool." And we had obviously been feeding people that we don't know for a long time. But it's just sort of that feeling of this little thing that we wanted to try out, and people kind of accepted it. And were into it.
Christine: 32:30 It's fun because it's creative for you, and it also allows people to come in and meet us and get to know our food. And we never had that. A store front that you could come into and try our food. And so we're sort of trying to create this, "Hey, you don't have to be at a wedding to have some of our food."
Blaine: 32:50 So congratulations on that, because not many people can figure out how to do marketing that comes as a revenue stream.
Honey: 32:57 Well, I mean it's also you're fortunate in not every catering company has their own building.
Blaine: 32:57 Yeah, well not every catering company has a location that's great.
Honey: 33:05 Yeah, a location where people can actually come. It's not, "Hey, swing by my living room."
Blaine: 33:10 I mean, you could do a pop up some place in town if you wanted to.
Honey: 33:13 I suppose, but what a hassle.
Blaine: 33:15 Yeah. So let's get back to the meat.
Christian: 33:21 The meat? What do you mean?
Blaine: 33:21 It was a use of food metaphor.
Honey: 33:25 That just literally went over my head. That's how smart I am.
Blaine: 33:29 Someone's been in the sun all day aboard a yacht. It's so much fun to say yacht.
Honey: 33:34 I've been aboard a yacht. So but I was asking how the two of you work together, and what's the division of labor? How does that work?
Christine: 33:45 So I think at first, it's pretty equal. We made menus together.
Christian: 33:45 It was insane.
Christine: 33:51 We emailed people to get.
Christian: 33:53 It was just all night in front of the computer.
Christine: 33:53 Yeah.
Christian: 33:55 Fiona would go to bed and we would be just making menus.
Christine: 34:00 Bouncing ideas off each other. Getting frustrated with each other.
Christian: 34:05 Typing them out, sending them out. Yeah, totally yeah.
Christine: 34:05 And then the kitchen-
Blaine: 34:06 This is not the first Couple Co we've heard that like they put the kids to bed and then keep working.
Christian: 34:10 And then work.
Honey: 34:10 So I'm gonna ask and tell me it's none of my business. What is getting frustrated with each other look like?
Christine: 34:16 Or just I think being tired. And then trying to be creative together, and then we both have different ideas of what we think is gonna taste good or present well to a client.
Blaine: 34:28 You start screaming and throwing food at each other?
Christine: 34:31 No. But just sort of being like, "It's time to go to bed. Shut the computer off." Like let's revisit this tomorrow. But I think over all, we have very different personalities and so we work really well together, because we balance each other out. And then as it grew, we sort of fell into, "Okay, you're the creative one. You can be the online presence, you be the person that's in charge of menu development. And I'll be on the other side, and I'm going to manage the staff, and I'm going to manage an event."
Christian: 34:31 Clients.
Christine: 35:03 And the clients.
Christian: 35:03 Prior to the operations manager, Christine was the face, the contact of the company. The person that would pick up the phone and let you know that everything's great and we can do this for you, we can do this for you. And then yeah, I sort of kinda took over more of the creative side of the food and the design, and the branding and stuff.
Honey: 35:23 It sounds like that happened organically?
Christian: 35:24 It definitely happened organically.
Blaine: 35:25 Although, I can understand why they wouldn't want him to be the face.
Christian: 35:27 No, you don't want ... no.
Blaine: 35:27 Look at him.
Christian: 35:29 No.
Blaine: 35:31 Sorry.
Christian: 35:32 It's the wine talking.
Blaine: 35:34 Yes, both sips.
Christian: 35:35 Yeah, right, right.
Blaine: 35:36 Okay, they're both cute, by the way. And you've seen him on TV. So he has a face that America can love.
Christian: 35:43 Sure. Yeah. I married up.
Blaine: 35:45 Didn't we all?
Christine: 35:45 But like trusting each other.
Blaine: 35:51 I'm not gonna try and one up you on who married up.
Christian: 35:53 He has one open and thoughts.
Blaine: 35:54 Very funny.
Honey: 35:55 We know.
Blaine: 35:56 We know I married up. So you work together by deciding instead of working together 100% of the time, you've got a division of labor?
Christine: 36:04 Yeah, we do now.
Christian: 36:05 Definitely.
Christine: 36:05 And yeah, I think we trust each other enough to make ... like I trust you with like if you're gonna put together a menu, I want to see it of course, and I might have some input, but I totally trust what he's doing. Because I think he makes amazing food. And I think his aesthetic is amazing. And I think we really see eye to eye on that. And I love having input on the menu, but I don't have to have input on the menu, because you put together amazing dishes and I trust you. So this is what I'm gonna work on. I'm gonna work on the financial end of things, which is really boring.
Honey: 36:41 But I want to ask you a question about that, because I've been an art director and a writer in advertising and more recently a writer. Blaine has only ever been a writer. So when we started working together.
Blaine: 36:50 And a voiceover performer.
Honey: 36:53 And that.
Blaine: 36:53 You've heard me sell you things on radio and TV.
Honey: 36:56 Tell me what kind of pen I want.
Blaine: 36:58 Law and Order on NBC4 is brought to you by Uni Ball pens, why wouldn't you use a Uni Ball?
Christian: 37:03 Beautiful.
Honey: 37:04 But I had a big writing background, but we couldn't both write everything, so pretty much he takes the lead on that. And I'm curious to know, when he takes the lead on something like making a menu, how does that feel?
Christine: 37:17 It feels great. Honestly, because I trust him so much. And yes, I do have opinions once in a while. Even now we're handing that down to with the catering side, to our new chef, who's been with about two years, and she's starting to take over a little bit of creative control over that. Yes, I'm opinionated. Of course. But I 100% trust what he puts together and it's hard to let go of certain things, of course. But if you have an amazing team and you trust the people that you work with, it sort of happens, and you sorta have to find your own place in things.
Like yes, working on the financial side and being in front of the computer versus cooking and being in the grind and being on the table is so different. And it took me a long time to get used to it. But now that it's in place, it feels like that's the way it's supposed to be. And it also allows me to step away and be with my children more, and to focus on those things that are also super important to me.
So, yeah, it happened in a way that it had to happen. And again, Christian has ... like I'm opinionated, but he's the creator. And then I'm sort of like, "Well, what if?" But he's the creator. And he's the artistic one, and that's just ... I always say, he's the creative one, I'm the work horse. Tell me what to do and I'll do it, and I'll get it done. But he's the one that has the vision and can put together a plate with the colors and the flavors and everything.
Blaine: 38:51 No beige plates for you.
Christine: 38:52 Right.
Honey: 38:55 And the reason I asked, and it was interesting because you said exactly the way I felt, because I could say, "Well I want to write that." But it's such a huge relief because I trust him to know that I don't have to do that. I can do these other things that maybe he can't do. Or he isn't, that's just not really his wheelhouse, and I can ... we can discuss it. And we certainly ... nothing goes out to the client that we don't both sign off on. But yeah, it's a huge relief. Like, "Oh my God, I have this guy."
Blaine: 39:26 Well I do think since both of us are writers, and we've been working together long enough that we know each other's styles.
Honey: 39:34 And they are totally different.
Blaine: 39:36 Totally different. But we can, if necessary, make it work. And it's not about us.
Honey: 39:43 So, she mentioned something that I think you wanted to go into?
Blaine: 39:46 Yeah, we know that you're used to bringing your work home with you at night, and I'm guessing now you don't have to do that as much as you did.
Christine: 39:54 I don't. We really don't. We do, recently because there's just a lot going on, but.
Christian: 40:02 It's different. It's different than those startup years.
Blaine: 40:04 It's not like putting the kids to bed and going back to, "Oh my God, we gotta get this done right now."
Christian: 40:08 Four hours of computer work.
Blaine: 40:09 Yeah. But I am curious, how does your business affect the kids?
Christine: 40:16 At first, I would say it was tough when we both worked, especially on a Saturday. And we'd be gone for like 16, maybe 18, 20 hours. And we'd both be gone for the whole day. And then we'd have to get up in the morning and parent. And that was tough. I think that again, with our partnership and who we are, we made it work. But, we knew as a couple and as a family that that wasn't gonna ... it wasn't sustainable. And that's a lot of why I'm not in the kitchen any more.
Christian: 40:52 And also, when we started to grow our team and we realized the money that was coming in allowed us to be able to do that, there was a lot of fear involved with the handing over the reigns to somebody. But once we started to find those right people and build this team that really with incentivized positions, and the living wage and benefits, we created this team of people that are very invested, and we were able to find the right candidates and the right people that kind of became family here. Which then would allow us to contently resign to the fact that we don't have to be responsible for these things any more.
Like we don't need to have our hands in this. The thought of when we first started on the thought of Christine not being able to pick up the phone and talk to somebody, and have the connection, because that was the huge selling point that brought us from five weddings, to 17, to 28. It was her. It was the accessibility and who she was. And the thought of somebody else taking over that is very scary. But the comfort that came with finding the right person, and then to realize we're changing our quality of life and our kids' quality of life was a logical next step. Because that's why we're putting in that amount of work to start is hopefully it'll pay off.
We don't want to do that for 25 years. We want to see some sort of alleviation and growth that would allow us to be able to be the parents we want to be. And I think when it happened a couple years ago, and I was able to hand over a little bit of the kitchen to our chef, Kaitlin now, with the expectation that I would be, as we expand, doing a restaurant. It was the same feeling when she handed over to Amy in our operations manager. Now we've got Emma and Sandy up here in the office.
Honey: 42:33 How big is your team?
Christian: 42:34 15 full timers, 45 part timers.
Honey: 42:39 When you're serving, when you need servers?
Blaine: 42:43 When we came in here initially, I joked about this is where the empire is..
Christian: 42:43 We're an empire.
Blaine: 42:51 Wow.
Christian: 42:53 It's like I equate our success to how many vans we have with our logo on it. So like-
Blaine: 42:58 Now we know.
Christian: 42:59 When we got one, it was huge. It was like put it on, it was, "We have a van."
Blaine: 43:05 We got the van.
Christian: 43:06 Yeah, and the second one was even more of a milestone. It was like, "All right, now we're building this little fleet." And even today, this morning we're looking at our numbers and we're like, "There's no way we're gonna be able to go onto next spring. Look, we need another van." And that's sort of like this very tangible thing to look at and go, "Okay, now we're ..." we see them all lined up in the parking lot.
Honey: 43:30 I want to ask you something that we haven't asked anybody. But with your accordion team that gets bigger and smaller, bigger and smaller, and because you guys started this because you said at some point we can do this. And now having a dedicated team of 15, what does that feel like? You're creating opportunities for a lot of people.
Christine: 43:50 I don't think about it. But we're going in for this loan, and we're expanding. And then there's responsibility. But I feel like again, very much like how Christian and I's relationship, and very much how the business has grown, it's just so-
Christian: 44:03 It's so consuming that you have to make an effort to step back and think about those things.
Christine: 44:03 Right.
Christian: 44:07 And then actually take note of the thought process. And for me, I think about it a lot because the one thing that I want to see is growth being capitalized on and not being forgotten or mismanaged, or not taking advantage of. Because when you're able to expand and grow, I'm not thinking about our salary going up, I'm thinking about opportunities for the team and these people that have invested, especially right now, in the middle of the season, 70 hour weeks, blood, sweat, literal tears, to be able to keep this ship going. They're so invested. I want to see that pay off for them. And so I want more opportunities, more benefits, better quality of life, incentivized positions, where these guys can see that, "Okay, the work that I put in just had another 25% in gross sales for this year. So all of a sudden I have an extra person below me that I can delegate to." And watch these people grow.
And it's happened, it's happened over the last four years. Where our operations manager now is a logistics manager and a bar manager. And my-
Christine: 45:16 And an office.
Christian: 45:18 Yeah, and an office. This space. We didn't have this.
Blaine: 45:21 So we're in the middle of their office right now?
Christine: 45:23 In the middle of the kitchen trying to answer phone calls.
Blaine: 45:26 That can't be fun.
Christine: 45:27 With pots and pans.
Christian: 45:28 Spring out like a disposable hotel pan, like the tin. While she's on the phone. Yeah. And so for me it's the opportunity to keep investing in these people that have put so much hard work. Their own personal trajectory and acumen, they're putting into something that we started, and I want them to realize how much it means that they're investing so much. And they're so brilliant and talented and educated, and just kind, thoughtful people. I want to raise that ceiling constantly for them.
Honey: 46:04 I love, I mean it was a great way to phrase it to talk about their own personal trajectory. Then all of a sudden, it's like, "Wow, this is a fully three dimensional person with their own wants, desires, hopes, dreams, all that kind of stuff."
Christian: 46:18 It's not a baker. It's not a head baker. This is a person that is super talented, and committed in just a brilliant, brilliant human being that's chosen us. How do you thank them for that?
Christine: 46:31 We often say to them, where do you see yourself? Where would you like this position to go? Because we want to honor that. Where do you want to go with this? Because we'll grow with you. You know? And we're only growing because of the people that are working with us.
Christian: 46:44 Oh hell yeah.
Blaine: 46:46 It's interesting you say that, because I think this is one of the things that's making a lot of people turn away from big, corporate jobs. And we know plenty of people, including a lot of couple cos that have been big corporate and said, "We're done." And started a business like yours.
Honey: 46:59 Many, I'd say most of the people that we've interviewed have worked big business and-
Blaine: 47:07 And gotten out.
Honey: 47:08 Yeah.
Christian: 47:08 Interesting.
Blaine: 47:09 But here's the thing that really fascinated me about five minutes ago. Christian said they take a salary. Have we been doing this wrong?
Honey: 47:17 Yes.
Blaine: 47:17 Okay. What is the craziest thing that's ever happened to the two of you on the job?
Christine: 47:24 I mean there's so many stories.
Christian: 47:26 You're going and you're creating a commercial kitchen from scratch, and then cooking for 100 people. And the way we do it, we're searing fish 30 minutes prior to service, where this isn't a re-heat thing, we're doing it fresh.
Christine: 47:38 I have my favorite story.
Christian: 47:40 Okay. I've got so many stories.
Blaine: 47:42 I think we also probably need to explain to people that Maine, if you've never been here, is how many islands? Hundreds?
Christian: 47:48 I think.
Christine: 47:48 One of my favorite stories is an island story, because it was our toughest wedding preparing for it. Because at the time, we were in a kitchen where you paid by the hour, it was a shared kitchen, and we were prepping for a wedding that was 200 people. It was on an island.
Christian: 47:48 Private island.
Christine: 48:07 Private island. So no ferry service. All barge. And we stayed up all night.
Christian: 48:14 All night.
Christine: 48:15 All night. And we put our ... we worked until I think-
Christian: 48:19 After working a 40 hour week.
Christine: 48:20 Yeah. We worked until we couldn't work any more, in the kitchen that we were renting. And then we went home and worked more.
Blaine: 48:20 Wow.
Christine: 48:28 And we had a babysitter showing up at like eight in the morning.
Christian: 48:28 Seven.
Christine: 48:33 Or seven in the morning.
Blaine: 48:33 Seven AM babysitter.
Christine: 48:36 It was our neighbor. And just being like, "I'm so sorry. You're walking into such a crazy mess right now." Our daughter was still sleeping. We got into the biggest truck I've ever-
Christian: 48:47 It was like the kind of truck that needed a special license for, but I don't know how we were able to rent it. It was one of those, it was that big.
Christine: 48:55 We got on a barge.
Blaine: 48:56 It wasn't a tractor trailer?
Christian: 49:00 It wasn't, but it was borderline.
Christine: 49:00 It was so big.
Christian: 49:01 I totally should not be driving this thing.
Blaine: 49:03 A 30 foot U-Haul.
Christian: 49:05 It was enormous.
Christine: 49:05 That I actually back out of a barge. And it was like one of my proudest moments. I was like, "Yes, I did it." So we prepped all night, no sleep, we get on this island, it's beautiful. We're shucking oysters, it's gorgeous, the wedding goes off, the food's amazing. And we're wrapping up the night, and the wind picks up. And they're like, "You know, you really should get on the boat." But we're wrapping up, and we've got this staff who's just, it's a mix of friends.
Christian: 49:35 It's a motley crew.
Christine: 49:36 It's a motley crew. It's just the kind of people ... just everybody you want to be with though. The people that just make you laugh.
Christian: 49:36 The crazy ones.
Christine: 49:42 The crazy ones. The people who when you start out, these are the stories you tell, because you're just ... I don't even know how any of it happened.
Christian: 49:49 It was just us. So when we finished the wedding, it was, "Shift drink. We did it." It wasn't like, "Pack up, get back in the kitchen." All that.
Christine: 49:58 Yeah, it was not that. It was shift drinks, half of the staff disappears.
Christian: 50:03 Celebrate with each other.
Christine: 50:04 Celebrate. And they're like, "You know, you really need to get on these taxis. We have taxis for you." We weren't supposed to come back for our equipment until the next day. Our truck's up in this field, they're like, "Everyone's leaving the island, you've gotta get off the island." So we sort of, not really thinking about it, we're like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll get off the island." And we go down for our taxi, and he's not.
Christian: 50:25 Small craft advisory, yeah.
Christine: 50:27 There's a small craft advisory. You gotta stay, we're not taking you to Portland. And we're thinking our daughter.
Blaine: 50:33 And the babysitter.
Christine: 50:33 And the babysitter.
Christian: 50:35 And we had been up for what? 36 hours?
Christine: 50:37 Yeah, and we're like, "Well what do we do?" And the groundskeeper at the island is like, "You can stay at my place." And all this stuff. Like yeah. No, we have to get home, what can we do? And he's like, "Well I can get you to Peace Island."
Christian: 50:52 And then the bigger ferry can pick you up there.
Christine: 50:53 Pick you up there.
Christian: 50:55 He wasn't even supposed to, it was a gamble. Because it was so messy just to shoot from this private island over to a city island.
Christine: 51:03 But he did it. We go over, we're on this island, there's two hours til our ferry.
Christian: 51:09 Til the next ferry. Yeah. There's a bar.
Christine: 51:11 There's a bar. And it was just one of those nights where you just laugh so much. And it's just one of those stories. It's that catering, again, that catering where you never know what you're gonna walk into, it's always a little bit of chaos, but you have to make the best of it, and we just-
Christian: 51:29 When you're with the people that realize that, that realize those variables and those liabilities and people that know that and don't see it as a con, but just as a factor of like hour per hour. Those are the people that you want to be with, and those are the people that they get off on that, it's like that's what they ... they don't want to walk into the same stale restaurant every morning and smell the same mop, and the same fry oil. They want to be on an island or a flower farm, and they want to figure things out. It's a different breed. And when you find that core group of people and that breed that understand that, and it's just second nature. Then you get to enjoy it and not sweat it. And that night was-
Christine: 52:10 I've never laughed so hard. And it was like until the moment we got home. It was just everything from the ferry ride, from being at the bar that night, with the staff and just laughing.
Christian: 52:21 Island weddings are a caterer's, it's brutal, because you have to bring ferry everything out, and carry everything out, and sometimes it's just a golf cart and multiple trips once you get there, and it's the worst. And so many logistics in order to set up and feed 200 people. But, I mean.
Christine: 52:37 When it's done, it's just the most amazing feeling.
Blaine: 52:40 Do you just have an island surcharge?
Christian: 52:43 It's just like.
Christine: 52:43 No, but like-
Christian: 52:44 When you're riding back and you're drinking a beer and the moon's up, and you're with these people and we just ate S for 12 hours on the island just trying to work and put together this experience and it goes off, and we're done, and you're just with these people and the moon, and a cold drink, on the water. Yeah, it's like that ... what do they call it, the [inaudible 00:53:08]?
Blaine: 53:07 Yes. One of my favorite words.
Christian: 53:09 I love it.
Blaine: 53:10 It's a good word.
Honey: 53:12 I think my most recent mantra, and I love mantras, so my most recent mantra is just something will happen. It's like, I don't know what, but as soon as I start to feel myself go, "Oh this is not maybe what I had planned," I just say, "You know what? Something will happen." And I'm always right, something happens.
Blaine: 53:31 It's amazing what you can do when it has to be done. It has to be done.
Honey: 53:36 Well and Blaine changed my mindset on this, because I come from a very nervous, uptight people. I love you mom and dad.
Blaine: 53:42 They don't listen to this.
Honey: 53:44 So, yeah. I mean once you realize that it's actually just part of the adventure.
Christine: 53:48 Right.
Blaine: 53:48 Right. It's all just stuff.
Christian: 53:50 You have to earn that perspective through living. And then you realize like really, this is fine.
Blaine: 53:56 The show must go on.
Christian: 53:57 This is fine.
Honey: 53:58 And it will.
Blaine: 53:59 Yeah, the show will go on.
Christine: 54:00 But that was like the what was so attractive about catering was this like, it's a lot of chaos. But it's beautiful chaos. And it's very like ... it's not walking into the same old kitchen. And I hate to say that, because we're about to start a restaurant. But everything's a challenge, and everything, you have to work through all these different things, but at the end of the day, you're working for a celebration of some kind. And whether it's just a dinner party for a couple friends, or whatever. People are celebrating and having a good time, and they're just immersed in this. It's just euphoric almost. That's how I always felt.
I am the one that would go to the edge of the tent and go and listen to the speeches and cry.
Blaine: 54:51 Eaves dropping on the wedding, huh?
Christine: 54:54 But you know, or there's a great band, and this is amazing, we're having so much fun. Working so hard, but it's fun.
Honey: 55:00 But you get to go to celebrations all the time.
Christine: 55:01 All the time. Yeah.
Blaine: 55:05 This has been part one of our conversation with Christian and Christine Hayes of Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine.
Honey: 55:10 If you enjoyed this podcast, and you think it would be useful or fun for other couple entrepreneurs, please go to iTunes and leave a star rating and a review to help them find it.
Blaine: 55:18 And join us next time when we return with Christian and Christine.
Honey: 55:21 We're gonna hear about the joys and the challenges, the work, and the fun.
Blaine: 55:25 They'll be talking about challenging each other, and learning how to communicate, an especially daunting task when you come from a family that doesn't.
Honey: 55:32 We're gonna hear about self-awareness, artistry, and the conflicts that can be big and thrilling.
Blaine: 55:37 Next time, here on Couple Co, working with your spouse for fun and profit.
Honey: 55:41 Copyright 2018, all rights reserved.
Blaine: 55:44 Love you, baby.
Honey: 55:44 Love you too.
Blaine: 55:45 Couple Co, out.