Ever dreamt of running a restaurant or hotel with your significant other?
Ahead of Valentine's Day, Emma Blanchfield spoke to couples around the country about how they manage to work together in the food industry and what they like to eat when they’re off duty. The full story will be available in FOOD&WINE Magazine, which is free with the Business Post on Sunday, February 7, but here we have a sneak peek at this romantic feature for you to read here now.
Make sure to pick up the magazine to hear from couples including Sunil and Leena Ghai of Tiffin in Greystones, Anna and Vanessa from Las Tapas de Lola, and many more. Here, Emma chats with Peter Sztal and Frank Kavanagh, Cloud Picker Coffee, Dublin about their relationship and their business.
Peter Sztal and Frank Kavanagh of Cloud Picker Coffee
For Peter Sztal and Frank Kavanagh, the decision to go into business together was an easy one. “I was always really eager to set up a food business,” says Sztal. “I’d been talking about it before I even met Frank, so as time went on and we began planning our life together, it just made sense.”
But it took some trial and error before they finally found success with Cloud Picker, their coffee company. “We set up a soup and stew bar called Zupa in the old Epicurean Foodhall on Abbey Street in 2008,” Sztal says. “Let’s just say it wasn’t a huge success! It just wasn’t the right time or the right place for it.”
In 2010 the pair took over the café concession in the Science Gallery on Pearse Street, and ran it for nine years. In 2013 they decided to open a coffee roastery together, and thus Cloud Picker was born. Having been together in life for 15 years and in business for ten, they have faced more than a few challenges.
“The most difficult part of working together is actually sitting down and figuring out responsibilities, splitting the workload,” says Kavanagh. “Before we did that, it was the cause of a lot of frustration, misunderstandings and disappointment. We eventually sat down and balanced it out fairly, and we haven’t looked back since.”
But the most important lesson they have learned is to trust themselves. “Anything that ever went wrong for us only came from the fact we didn’t trust our gut and didn’t believe in ourselves,” Kavanagh says.
Our favourite dish
“We cook together every single night. Frank is an amazing prep chef and kitchen porter. I handle the bits in the middle,” says Sztal. “One dish that is extremely special to us is Polish dumplings, pierogi, which Frank learned to cook from my mother. It’s something we like to eat together, but also with family and friends in normal times.”
Mushroom and cabbage pierogi
Makes 50-60 dumplings
For the dumplings:
- 700g wheat flour - if you're in Polish deli choose Type 500, otherwise use all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
- 2 cups of hot water
- 1 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 500g sauerkraut
- 150g dried wild mushrooms
- 1 white onion
- Large pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
- Freshly grounded pepper
- For the filling, chuck the mushrooms into hot water and soak them for at least two hours or overnight.
- Drain the sauerkraut, transfer it to a large pot, then add the mushrooms with the water that they were soaking in. Let it bubble away on a low heat for at least an hour.
- Drain all the water and let the mix cool a bit. While it's cooling, dice the onion and fry it in a bit of oil until soft and translucent. When the cabbage and mushrooms cool down a good bit, squeeze the mix with your hands to get rid of all the liquid.
- Add the onion with all the frying oil. Mix everything together, then add the black pepper, salt and sugar. Blitz in a food processor or simply chop finely with a knife, then cover and set aside.
- For the dough, first get your workstation clean and dry. You'll need a good bit of space, 80-90cm, and a clean tea towel to cover the dough when it's made. Boil a large pot of water, season with salt and add a big glug of oil. The water should gently bubble rather than boil.
- Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, then add the oil and salt. Boil the water and put it into the flour bowl. Start with 400ml and you can always add a bit if needed. Let it cool for 10 minutes until you can handle it.
- Using your hands, start mixing the dough. Once it’s holding together, transfer it onto your clean surface. Keep on kneading it for a few minutes and regulate the consistency by either adding a bit of flour or water. It needs to be elastic and soft.
- Cut off a bit of the dough (roughly a quarter), dust the surface with a bit of flour and roll it with a rolling pin until thin. Keep the rest of the dough covered tightly with a tea towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Cut out circles with a cookie cutter (3-4 inches) or a mug. Hold the dough circle in your hand, then using a teaspoon put a generous amount of the stuffing right in the middle, fold it and seal it tightly.
- Place the dumplings gently into your pot of hot water, and as soon as each batch is in, stir them gently from the bottom. Once they all float on the surface leave them for another minute, then take them out using a slotted spoon and put them on a plate, making sure they're not on top of each other.
- Repeat until you're done with each batch of your dough. Serve the pierogi with brown butter, or fried onion and fresh parsley or dill. Alternatively, let them cool down, keep in the fridge and reheat them by frying in a pan with a bit of oil until golden and crispy on the outside.
For more from Cloud Picker Coffee, click here.
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