You know that saying “it takes 10 years to be an overnight success” – well my husband and I really felt it yesterday!
LONG before we owned Cornwall Bakery, my husband Freeman did a lot of catering jobs and culinary classes in addition to his main full time job. He taught classes in Chicago when we lived there in in 1996-1999. He catered in Munich, Germany when we lived there 1999-2000. He was a regular culinary instructor for the Community House in Birmingham, MI. and I remember being his side-kick and clean up crew! I used to bring my son, Elliott in his baby car seat to Freeman’s classes to help him out. He would sleep in his car carrier and I would run around and wash all the dishes from the class!
While living in Europe, we fell in love with the food, the markets, the culture, the beauty, the art – all of it! We always held on to a dream that we would one day rent a villa in Italy and take people on food and wine tours and introduce them to all the things we fell in love with in Europe.
Back in 2003/2004, his catering really picked up and we had a lot of interest from families about this concept of a food/wine tour in Italy. I remember spending hours combing through the internet searching for the perfect villa to rent, dreaming about the trip and developing a plan for what we wanted to offer. We were so excited at the thought of it! We tried hard to convince his clients to consider our proposed trip, but it flopped! We just didn’t have enough to make it work at that time.
Flash forward to opening Cornwall Bakery 5 years ago. Freeman nearly killed himself building his business and making it successful! Working crazy 18, 19, even 20 hour days at times to keep it all going, surviving a broken back after a wedding cake delivery, and lots of financial & staffing challenges, tons of stress, sacrifice and sleepless nights that every new business experiences! But he kept going like the little engine that could!
2 years ago we became obsessed with the Netflix series, Chef’s Table. If you haven’t seen it, and you’re a foodie, you must check it out – especially the episode with Massimo Bottura – Osteria Francescana! These shows inspired us to start offering our pop up dinners with Matt Dunaj and Gavin Russel. Those dinners quickly became an overnight sensation and we built a following of guests who loved adventurous culinary experiences as much as we did! All the while, we never let go of the Italian villa / food tour dream and we thought now we might have the audience for it, so in 2018 we launched the first tour!
It took us MONTHS to get enough guests registered! It was painfully slow! I almost gave up on the entire idea and cancelled the villa, but we pulled it off and had the trip of a lifetime! We truly thought it might be a one time event…..until we got a call about 6 months ago from a Cornwall customer who said “Hi – I’m calling to put down my deposit for the next Tuscany Tour!”
Instantly I started combing the internet again for the perfect villa and BAM – the 2019 tour was born!
We decided to offer priority registration to those who expressed an interest in going on our last tour, but couldn’t attend and 6 people signed up. Then 2 days ago, we launched the tour to the public.
In 24 hours, 10 guests signed up and we had 16 registered out of 20 slots available overnight!
(edit: as I was writing this post, 2 more spots filled and we are now at 18!)
(edit x 2: minutes after posting this, we sold out!)
We are feeling SO grateful, so excited and totally in awe! And now we REALLY know what they mean when they say “it takes 10 years to be an overnight success!”
From the words of my dear friend and mentor, Soozie Cotter-Schaufele, “work really hard and the universe will always provide for you!”