The pair behind Gourmet Goat on family recipes, seasonality, and learning to switch off
Nadia on Nick
Nick has always wanted to start up his own business and I wanted to work with food, so Gourmet Goat is the result of those desires. Working together has definitely changed over the year. It is fair to say it was challenging at the beginning, especially as the business took a while to get off the ground.
We had never worked together before, which we discovered is very different from living together. We had to figure out a way of working collaboratively in a confined space. It was tricky at times but also fun, and we have become very good at it now.
Part of it is becoming aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses in running the business. Nick is definitely the operations person. He looks at efficiencies and makes sure that we make money from the dishes. I’m the creative one, and he is the one with commercial acumen.
People ask what he’s like as a cook. That depends on the situation. He can follow a recipe and is extremely good on the grill, but when it comes to creative cooking—let’s just say I still remember the first dish he cooked me, and not in a good way!
But Nick does have a role in recipe development. He is really good when it comes to testing the recipes. He tests everything I create. He knows my cooking style so he understands when a recipe isn’t as good as it could be. He’s very supportive but if he thinks something can be better, he will say so. He is very honest with his criticism and doesn’t hold back, which is what I need.
That said, there have been times when he has been against something that I have really liked so it has gone on the stall and been very successful. Sometimes Nick’s ideas will make it to the stall as well. The last one was a goat pastry. We don’t have any of them at the moment, but they will be back.
As a rule we get on very well but there are occasionally areas of disagreement. I’m very enthusiastic and want to move things forward quickly, while Nick is very much a realist. We are most likely to disagree on new dishes because he thinks it is expensive and I think it just tastes good. But when it comes to key directional ideas about the business, we are definitely on the same wavelength.
Working with my husband can make it hard to switch off at times, but we are getting better at it. Nick is definitely not as good at switching off as me, he is always thinking about logistics. But I really like working with him. I’m creating a dream with my best friend. It’s pretty awesome really.
Nick on Nadia
It was definitely Nadia’s idea to start Gourmet Goat. I have always wanted to run a business but had not felt pulled to one particular area. Nadia always wanted to go into the food industry. I stopped work to look after our daughter Athena and at the same time as I was thinking about going back, Nadia was looking for a change. Having discovered kid goat, we went for it.
Nadia is the chef, she creates all the recipes and makes sure all the food is right. She is an unbelievable cook. She has a real knack of putting together different ingredients and coming up with something that tastes great, it’s a real gift.
She does have a strong cooking background but she hardly ever follows a recipe. It is all her work and her take on recipes from her family in Cyprus. It means it can be a bit of a battle in the kitchen because I struggle to come up with anything apart from curries—it’s the only one I win on.
The biggest thing Nadia brings to the stall is vision. What is going to happen next, where the recipes are going to go, what the dishes are going to look like, what the menu is going to look like. She also makes sure we are cooking seasonally etc, that we have the right dishes on the stall to make use of what is best in any season. She keeps things fresh so we are not cooking the same things over and over.
Nadia is mostly front of house selling and talking to people, she enjoys being on the stall. Part of her would like to cook as well but that is not possible at the moment. On a day-to-day basis the setup of the front of the stall is the thing we are most likely to disagree on. We each have a different idea of what looks best and are forever moving things to the way we like it when the other person isn’t around.
I think it’s great working with my wife. Firstly we get to spend a lot of time together, not every couple does, and we get along really well. It can be quite hard to switch off, though. Nadia is better at that than me. I’m always thinking and tend to talk about it a lot, whereas ideas germinate in Nadia’s mind and she tells me when has something she wants to try.
Our daughter Athena is wonderful and great at getting us to stop talking shop. She is just over two years old and a little bit nuts. She wants to learn everything, is very inquisitive and is always up to something or demanding attention. She definitely has her mum’s bossy side. She’s a huge part of helping us to get that work-life balance right.