When I first heard we would be catering an event for Padma Lakshmi, I didn’t even know who she was. I had an idea, of course, but as one who never watches tv (really just doesn’t have time to), I wasn’t really sure. So as the months passed, the anticipation grew, and with that, anxiety of making everything, literally, perfect. Mistake #1.
The event was a learning event for local nurses in NYC to understand and bring awareness for Lakshmi’s Endometriosis foundation, but primarily, the condition itself. It is a wonderful effort to help women, so if you are interested to learn more, visit their website here: www.endofound.org
After a good handful of events, I have stopped striving for perfection. Its really just a disaster waiting to happen. Instead, I simply do the best that I can, and everything else will fall into place. Having this mindset going in, I began cooking and prepping early in the week. Since the event required breakfast as well as lunch, my menu consisted of a few handmade pastries, as well as a dessert trio, that OF COURSE, I had to make entirely from scratch. Mistake #2.
I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew (no food pun intended). Instead of asking for help, I get on with it. So I started rolling croissants on Monday, making cinnamon buns on Tuesday, dipping cake pops and setting mini pumpkin cheesecakes on Wednesday, baking cupcakes and two different kinds of muffins on Thursday, and making soup, couscous salad, and quiche on Friday, and of course baking everything I had made earlier in the week at the very last minute so it would stay fresh. ALL BY MYSELF. Hello?! Stupid! What was I thinking?
Beware the individual standing in the way of Olivia’s wrath that week; stress was to the max. Mistake #3. I wanted to impress Padma so much that I just had to make everything from scratch; which, looking back, I’m really glad I did. But something I have to learn and REALLY work on, is to not let stress take hold of me, but to control my emotions, behaviors, and attitudes so that I am in control of my stress.
The first step to doing that is asking for help. While that primarily means (in my case) hiring an assistant or asking the kitchen guys to hang out a little longer one day, it also means going back to my support group and maintaining my sanity. Friends, family, and loved ones are here for us when we are at our worst, just as they are when we are at our best. Its important to give yourself time to chill, even if its for 5 minutes, but don’t forget to surround yourself with the people that love you, they are there to support and care for you, not make everything worse. Having that, as crazy as life can get some times, means that we don’t have to do E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G on our own and, news flash! You can bet our friends are most likely in the same boat you are.
Mistake #4, I forgot that.
So as I sit this morning writing this in the quiet, unset, and utterly blissful restaurant (knowing in 4 hours it will be packed wall to wall) I can’t help but wonder, if I had thought about all of this before the event, what would have been different? I guess its one of those philosophical questions that doesn’t really have an answer. Instead, despite my mistakes, the event was a great success. Padma actually took the time to stop and thank my team and I for a great job (not to mention she practically licked the plate clean!!).
While my whirlwind attitude may have worked to make the event successful, my sanity suffered; and four days later, I’m still trying to recover. As the holidays are approaching at an insanely fast rate, my experiences from last weekend could never be more valuable. And this photo, will forever remind me of that: