July 7, 2011

The Creperie That Started It All

I promise not to subject you to more vacation photos but I did want to share the photo at the side.  As I mentioned before, Zermatt holds very special memories for me as it was where I grew up skiing 2-3x annually.  (Before you think I was some rich trust-fund kid, let the record show that I grew up in North Africa and it was significantly cheaper to get to Switzerland and ski then come back to the States.  Not to mention that the snow is much better in Switzerland than in Egypt!).   In addition to being the ski resort of my childhood, the village of Zermatt itself was magical.  Perhaps because it was the antithesis of everything I knew in Egypt, but it was a place full of horse-drawn carriages (as opposed to camel-drawn carts), huge mountains (as opposed to pyramids), and beautiful mountain architecture (as opposed to Middle Eastern architecture).  

But one of the very special things to me was Stephanie’s Creperie.  As you can see in the picture, it’s a tiny little storefront but it served the most delicious crepes.   This truly was the motivation for me to not only go into the culinary field but to also start up a business of my own.  I remember being enamored as a 10-year-old watching the owner make crepes in her always-packed store.  The windows you can see in the picture open up to about street level and it would be so hot in her store at night, due to wall-to-wall customers and the two crepe pans going as fast as the owner could handle, that the windows would be open despite the cold and the smell of crepes would literally waft down the streets enticing passersby. 

During those evenings I sat in the creperie enjoying my Zuche crepe (just plain butter and sugar despite the many unique flavor options available), I started to daydream about what I wanted to do when I grew up and the idea of running a creperie seemed like a pretty great one.   Ten years later the very first business plan I wrote was for a creperie I wanted to open in the Vail/Beaver Creek area.   I spent about six months working on the business plan and I’m sure I could dig it up again if given enough time.   Though I didn’t end up opening up the creperie due to rent prices being out of control in the Vail area, it was an important exercise for me to walk through and helped solidify for me that I wanted to be a small food entrepreneur.

What about you?  When did you first start dreaming about opening up you own small food business?