Nectar Desserts closed it's doors for good on August 29th, 2010. One year ago today. A year. It feels like a past life; a period in which I definitely, definitely lived, the memories of which, however, come to me in snippets and waves, sometimes obscured by a foggy cloud.
Some days I hardly think about it at all. Other days, I'll be standing in the staff room, waiting for the automatic coffee machine to dispense two streams of "espresso" and I'll be punched in the gut by the simple recollection of the beautiful lattes I was once privileged to create and enjoy every morning.
Anniversaries, as much as anything, mark the passing of time, the cyclical nature of life, and offer an opportunity to reflect. Somehow, this anniversary has affected me deeply. I didn't expect it to mean so much, but I've had a hard time thinking about anything else for the past several days.
The question that I've struggled to answer is: where am I now and where am I going? The answer is: I'm lost. If there's a word to describe my last year it is that one. Lost. I've wandered from here to there, working, travelling, seeing where the wind takes me, but everything I've done has had a quality of aimlessness to it; a directionless meandering whose only target is a path.
I can actually visualize myself, wandering through woods, no road, no direction. But the woods aren't hostile. They're different and interesting. There are things to see and do, basic needs and survival to be taken care of, and surprises to be encountered. Somehow, being lost, while distressing and unnerving, doesn't mean I can't manage to appreciate my immediate surroundings on their own merits.
Despite managing to enjoy the here and now, the questions remain. Where do I want to be a year from now? What do I want to accomplish? I have lots of ideas, but have yet to find the spark to ignite a new project. I love baking, I love cooking, I love wine and I love hospitality, but it seems like the only time I get really excited, or "wake up" (it's what it actually feels like) is when I talk about how they all come together in a business.
I got into cooking because I wanted to run businesses. The years I worked in the restaurant industry taught me a lot about the profound flaws in the foodservice business model. I spent years asking myself: why is it like this, what can be done and how would it work? Nectar was never about my love of pastry or the desire to open a dessert bar, it was a testing ground for a decade's worth of ideas about how a business could be operated. The thing that still stings the most about Nectar's closure was that it happened just while I was on the cusp of having a feasible business, having the ability to prove, on paper, that my ideas worked.
Well here we go: a new direction, maybe even a path. I'm going to spend some time putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it were), outlining my ideas and sharing them with the world. I would love it if it spurred some discussion or debate, but if I'm the only reader, so be it.