They say true love's the greatest weapon,
to win the ware caused by pain,
but every diamond has imperfections,
but my love's too pure to watch it chip away,
nothing real can be threatened,
true love breathes salvation back into me,
with every tear came redemption,
and my torturer became my remedy. - Warsan Shire
Haile Gebrselassie. Am I allowed to say, 'I get you'? Though my forever winding mental spiral laps are nothing compared to how you intentionally exhaust yourself when running the ten thousand, I think I get you. I get you. I get your ever bright smile at the end of your run. Your appreciation of the finish line, your dedication to the process, only to then accomplish a goal and immediately know, you want more - and will do more.
I've always loved 'behind the scenes'. How things work, the knowledge base, the art and the science of all of it. How you're present, but not centrally located. You can be apart of the show, but rehearsing in the greenroom, peeping through the long black drapes.
This timeline is to do just that, to journal my own behind the scenes from I guess, one of my favourite side projects so far - catering my older brother's wedding for 200 people. I run dry with gratitude I was able to this! My own ideas? Having a week off from working at a restaurant? Being responsible for the flavours and problem solving so my product would be as best as it could be on the night? Guys, I really don't know how to say this, but this is like Christmas to me!!
MONDAY 9PM - The Way You Make Me Feel (Live), Michael Jackson
I sat on the flight surprisingly calm and planned, like the first twenty seconds of the intro of 'doo-ooh's' when MJ and his suave dripped dancers slowly approach the song,'The Way You Make Me Feel' on stage. Finger clicks, side sweeps and all. I was, not stressed nor scared. What the actual fuck? I had been preparing recipes and ideas for two months though, with lists for everything. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Ingredients list, lists for what I MUST finish each day so I don't fck myself over, and maybe ten more. I was ready for the next three days of madness.
What I had planned to make were a combination of what Thilli & Shuki like to eat, the flavours of the dessert they had on their first date (which was also the same dessert Thilli used when he proposed), things I've learnt overseas, and a shittonne of reading. It went a little like:
- Wedding cake: Chocolate cake, with different layers consisting of passionfruit curd, chocolate mousse, salted caramel filling, raspberry cheesecake filling
- Wedding favour boxes: 70% cacao, pecan & Torrontés truffles, raspberry & plum marshmallows, dark chocolate & walnut brownies, danish butter cookies with lavender sugar
Dessert Buffet (to make Shuki's dream come true): pistachio sponge w/ white chocolate mousse and Pedro Ximenez. mini meringue baskets w/ pomegranate & elderflower cream & seasonal berries. A cheesecake tart inspired by Snickers flavours (chocolate/caramel/peanuts). NYC cheesecake squares with lemon marscapone and a ginger crust. Profiteroles with earl grey chocolate mousse.
Yep. I did this. With two hands. ... but also the help of my closest friends, because behind every mad woman, there's around eight women saying 'crish you're crazy, let us help'.
TUESDAY 3PM - Master Blaster (Jammin'), Stevie Wonder
Shit son, did I get used to non existent traffic in Hobart? Why did it take 5 hours to run around Melbourne to get all the equipment, ingredients and what nots? Ah yea, coz it takes 20 mins to get onto the M1, and let's not forget the shitshow Princess Hwy is, at any time of day! But I've come home with EVERYTHING. Still not stressed, and that's a little weird. Have I grown?! So many cakes made under pressure in the last fives years, and now finally, I'm not running around like a headless chicken. Thank you, thank you universe.
TUESDAY 12.30AM - Amanhã É Sábado, Roberta Sá
All fillings are made, but listening to slow contemporary samba music? As amma would say 'ithu saari veradhu' (this will not be good, direct translation of 'this yes will not come'), tomorrow I'll have to work faster, and definitely not slow music! I'm being too relaxed and forgetting its for 200 people!
WEDNESDAY 8PM - Lose Control, Missy Elliot/Ciara
You fucked up your calculations and had to do two more batches of brownies, and redo the marshmallows because they decided not to set. But you made it! You officially hold 1100 items to be packed in for the boxes. Celebrate? Joking. You're still 2 checkpoints behind and 5 desserts need to be prepared tonight. Do. Not. Cry. But well done on drastically changing your Spotify baking playlist.
FRIDAY 2AM - 'I am your girl, you're my girl, don't you know that we love you!' Girl, Destiny's Child
Inviting the girls over to help on Thursday night to pack the boxes was the best decision ever. But it's taking way more time than needed, because it's us. Here comes the shit talk, all the roasting, Cookie having her sassy remarks, others talking about their extremely entertaining dating stories, a cocktail of deep convos and reminiscing. I'm in love with this group, but there was definitely a point of 'girls, want to get your asses off the couch and back to work hmm??' Everyone rushes back. I stand there, cake battered, slightly feeling bad I just ordered my loved ones. (You know it was out of love guys!) Slowly the girls leave, which leaves only Diksha and I to finish around 100 more boxes. Ah, and to know this day started 5am Thursday.
FRIDAY 5.30PM - Cubanismo!
Things are getting hectic at home. It's become a village with all the family over, and I was that cousin who awkwardly walked from kitchen to guest room, always holding desserts and not offering. I'd wish for invisibility just so Sri Lankan aunties wouldn't ask me to eat every other five minutes or ask why I needed to work so hard (#islandpeople #toochillfortheirowngood). I was nearly at the finish line! I was running! But more like mental Cuban rumba-ing. Haile Gebrselassie, I see you!!
SATURDAY 3AM - Gimme The Light, Sean Paul
Senthu (that one cousin that's always up to no good) asked you how much longer you had. You said 'ah, just like an hour'. But you said that, three hours ago. But congratulations! You stupidly decided to line the second tier of the wedding cake with coconut flakes being attached vertically, flake by flake. Want to test your patience? I've got coconut flakes for you man! But you're set! No big dramas, wedding in about six hours, so it's probably best to organise what you're gonna wear, and oh, probably wash your hair, 'cause there's three day old sugar crusted strands up in there.
SATURDAY 11AM - Lyk Dis, NxWorries
Chin :'Wow. you seem set'
Me: 'Isn't this crazy?! everything labelled, everything in boxes. Why hasn't it been like this before?!'
Chin (my Yang to my Grey, in other words, 'my person'), becomes my sous chef for the next four hours, including with being my personal driver.
Wanna know the secret to happiness? Having soulmate friends that shrug their shoulders and say 'it's nothing'! Being able to count on a handful of humans in my life, is everything to me and it's all I thought about whilst Chin drove me to the vineyard to set up. I am truly a very lucky human!
I broke the topper and I'm quite sure 'to the moon and Ack' would not hack it. My ass was luckily saved by the FOH staff having superglue (looks like they're used to catering for all breakdowns). Cake completed, Chin helps with the floral arrangement on the cake (radiologist by day, everything creative and great by night) and cleans up while I run to get into this saaree, fifteen minutes before the ceremony. Not sure if I'm the best or worse sister at this very moment.
Anna (big brother) and Shuki are cutting the cake as a newly wed. Since little I guess I've always seen anna as the 'cool brother'; someone who'll always be at a higher level than me. So yes, I guess I felt like I was five again, really amused that these cool kids cutting a cake I made on their wedding day. If only I was five again, I would own 'Show & Tell' this week!
Setting up the desserts at the dessert buffet trying to make sure no one can see me. Mission failed. People could see the person behind the scenes, and I could do nothing about it. And it didn't help when Shuki decided to namedrop in her speech (even after the elaborate plead of not wanting to be publicly thanked). But, I was on a flow, everything in place, I was living! I hadn't felt this alive in a while. Thoughts and dreams of wanting my own cafe/wine bar where in full stream. Or just a studio where I can intimately feed a few guests over a huge community table? Oh! This is the best get away from work ever! Can I just be a dreamer forever?!
people FLOCKED. I sat at my seat a little confused. 'Is this real?! Are people really fascinated by the food I just made?!' People slowly came over to thank me, and luckily I was drunk enough to shout 'guys!! I make the best black sheep!!' Ah, well done Crish. You may be in an industry that's not the usual in Lankan/Asian communities and sometimes, you feel a little like 'maybe I should have just been an engineer to keep the family tree proud'. But this was you at your finest! Yes, best is yet to come, but having everything licked clean (with some cheeky monkeys taking more than the 2 per person limit) was a pretty good answer to 'am I on the right track with my career dreams'.
SATURDAY, EVERYTHING ELSE - Ooh Wee , Mark Ronson
You did it. You made others happy, and you got to see it, whilst being on the other side of the counter. You're happy. Now join your giant family, the ones with the cheesy grin, the confidently delivered unco dance moves, painting drama wherever we go. Ah, the things we do for love ey? I guess so!