Front of the House; Being just a Waitress. 

What are you doing? Where do you work?

I’m a waitress.

“Just a waitress? Are you looking for a real job? Is it ‘just for now?'” 

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/jun/20/waiter-enjoy-job-not-stupid?CMP=share_btn_fb

I love being a waitress. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I enjoy every day, hopefully for the rest of my life. 

I did study. I do have a masters degree and I did choose to be the waitress.

I’m not just a waitress. I’m a business owner too, but today I want to write about “being a waitress/waiter.” 

I had many conversations with my collages and coworkers about how others look at our profession. Yes A PROFESSION. You might not have to go to college and get a degree, but you need to work really hard and learn for the rest of your life to be a good server.

Many people think that anyone can be a waitress/ waiter and that it is easy. Just for the students and young people. Not a career for the rest of your life. Being a waiter/ waitress in other parts of the world often is a profession. Respectable profession. Why? Do you think it’s easy? Nothing special, nothing too difficult? Just bring the food and serve drinks, but it’s a lot more than that.

We have to learn new things constantly. The learning is never ending; food, food allergies, flavours, spices, food trends, beers, wines, coffees, cuisines from around the world…. The list is never ending, and it is not only about the knowledge. It is about the passion – real passion for food. And yet, that is still not enough.

Dealing with “the public.” Customers; the good, the bad, the wonderful and the difficult. Customers are paying our wages, not the owners of the business and we need to treat them with the respect they deserve.

 If you are paying for the meal you should be happy to do so! The waiting staff are “the middle guy.” We don’t cook – we just serve.  The customers, if they have problem with the food, they complain to the server, not to the chefs. We have to keep the smile on our faces, apologies, stay calm and focus, and keep going. Even if we feel like crying inside…. We have to fix the problem, our job is to give customers what they are looking for and more. A great waitress/ waiter can read your mind, direct you with your orders, drinks etc. A bad waitress/ waiter can ruin your evening…. very easily….. 


It is all about customer service! 

Keep smiling and don’t loose the “cool” is hard sometimes. We have good and bad days. We are humans. We have personal problems. It’s hard to work with a smile after break up with your boyfriend/having a sick child at home/after an argument with the loved one. But when you are at work, looking after customers, you have to pack it all up, leave it for “after hours” and put a smile on your face and DO YOUR BEST!

It is all about THE SERVICE. Even the best chef in the world wouldn’t be appreciated by customers without wonderful, educated, and well manner staff, which know what they are doing. An experience as customers we have in any restaurant is a combination of waiting staff and kitchen staff. We are THE TEAM. Our job is to look after the customers, guide them, be sure that they have everything they need to enjoy the meal.

We are there when you are really hungry and tired, when you had a long day and want to celebrate life, we are there on Valentines Day, Saturday evening, and Sunday brunch, every weekend, every Christmas and Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s Day….. 

I love my job, watching people growing (without being creepy). The first dates, family celebrations, catching up with friends, double dates, birthdays, anniversaries…. I appreciate so much the personal relationship you can develop with regular customers. I know couples from first dates, through out the engagement, wedding, pregnancy, babies…. Meeting people from around the world, talking about Ireland… Seeing happy faces, sound of eating good food, laugh, chat- it is rewarding. Knowing that you help someone to have enjoyable evening- this is all I want.
 

Couple of weeks ago we won BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE, Irish Restaurant Awards in Waterford County. I’m so happy and proud- it looks like we are doing something right 😊 

Thank you to our amazing team of waiting staff- Mags, Kevin and Hannah ❤

Lots of love

Kamila   

PS- next time I’m going to write about “The life behind the kitchen door”- where the magic happens 😊 

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My Food Education- part 3 New Year – New Me? 

Food education is never ending… But how to get the right information? Every day we are told something different by media. What is healthy eating? What is the Right diet?

This time of the year it is all about New Year – New Me, diets, exercise, quitting bad habits etc… But why now? Why not always?

I really love eating healthy… But what does healthy mean? Low fat? High fat? Gluten Free? Vegan? Dairy free? No sugar? Diet drinks?

Not long time ago we were told that diet drinks are good for us… That 0% fat is the way to go… Low fat… No gluten…

What to believe? What diet to choose? What to eat?

Relationship with food can be a hard one. We can quit eating… but we can also simply eat well. Some people think that eating healthy is boring, tasteless, and unsatisfying. I really don’t think so. It’s all about the choices we make and the work we put in. Little changes – step by step!

Please – just start to cook! Enjoy it! Play with it! Open yourself to new flavours, new dishes, and try something new.

I love buying new products and spices… All the “weird” stuff. I like to “Google it”, read about and just try it out. It might work, it might not… When you cook from scratch, you know what you put into the dish so you know what you’re eating!

Be careful when you choose what you are buying. Cheap doesn’t always mean good. Expensive doesn’t always mean healthy. Superfoods are not so super. Whole foods are not expensive. During the ballymaloe Food Festival 2016, Elisabeth Luard said that we should eat what is growing around us. Local produce is the best for us because it is a climate we live in; our surroundings  and the freshness of the produce. There is no magic ingredient or foods which will make us healthy. There is no superfood that will make us beautiful and slim. There are long term choices in our lifestyle that we should make to feel better.

@Momo we make choices everyday. In our business we spend our money on local, good produce. Good quality produce is worth the price. Knowing where food comes from is a must. Quality is the key to flavour – real flavour; sourdough bread from Seagull Bakery, vegetables from Tom Cleary, Ballybeg Greens, meat from O’Flynn’s, fish from Dunmore East….

I made small changes at home last year. The kids weren’t too happy for a very short time but they got used to it quickly. Now they love sourdough bread, real ham (cooked by me and not the ham bought in the supermarket), home baked sweets. They drink water instead of cordials. We cook and bake together as often as possible.

We have a great relationship with food. We appreciate it and we care for it.

I started working in the kitchen @Momo a couple of months ago… Just helping with the daily salads and basic preperation. I’m not a chef. I love food. I love flavour. I don’t have any professional training so you might think that I’m crazy but I think that I can do it!

Healthy can be delicious! Healthy can be full of flavour!

HEALTHY IS NOT ONLY FOR JANUARY.

But don’t forget to indulge yourself. Enjoy food. I believe in balance. I need a little of “badness” in me. If I feel like “garlic chips and cheese” at 3am – I would do it and enjoy it… and probably regret it later but I don’t do it often. Just enjoy and appreciate food.

My grandmother loved brandy and chocolate and she had both the day she passed away. She would use only real butter (full fat dairy), lots of veg and would go for a 10k walk everyday. She was a very healthy 98 year old lady.

My job is to teach my children how to appreciate food, cook it, and enjoy it.

Lots love,

Kamila

My Food Education (part two)

My food education will never end. That is the real beauty of food for me. There are so many options, ingredients, way of cooking, cultures, histories, climates, seasons, spices and flavours to discover.

My childhood was complicated. The first 8 years of my life I spent with my mother who was a single, working mother. I don’t really remember much about it. I have some lovely memories about food from the crèche. Fruit soup was my favourite. Yes, it does sound strange… Today the idea of eating creamy, sweet, watery soup with pasta and overcooked fruit doesn’t sound very appetising.

I fell in love with beetroots in crèche. The girl seated next to me said that beetroots were delicious so I tasted it. She was right! So far as I remember, I was a fussy eater. But… I lost my mother when I was 8, and moved to live with my father, stepmother and, of course, my grandmother.

My grandmother and stepmother spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking everything from scratch. Food was so different and so strange for me at that time. But I had no choice. I was told that “Food is not for liking – Food is for eating.”  There was no other option – eat it or leave it and go hungry. So I decided to try it and get to know it. The kitchen become my favourite place in the house; hours of preparing food, drinking tea, licking the spoon, and talking.

Years later I decided to spend the summer in Dublin, Ireland (2003).

Food was one of the hardest thing for me to get use to.  Everything was so different to what I knew. I didn’t know how to shop. I had very little money and food in Ireland in comparison to Poland was so expensive! It was scary and strange! Instant mash potatoes, sausages in a jar (?!), spagetti hoops, chips with vinegar (!!!), beans for breakfast. The list is long and the ingredients so exotic. Never before had I seen a fresh mango or avocado.

I remember how embarrassed I was when someone sent me to buy avocados. I didn’t know what an avocado looked like, and I was too embarrassed to ask. Shellfish were another thing I didn’t know anything about. I had mussels for the first time in my early twenties on holidays in Croatia. I never cooked or had even seen anyone cook prawns before. I tasted “prawns from a jar” once. Vegetables tasted different. Potatoes were falling apart while cooking. In Poland we use waxy potatoes. Roosters potatoes looked so exotic! I bought a can of peas to put in the salad and the peas were mushy – why? I thought they were old and inedible. I got another can- the same problem😳! Beef was such a dark red that I was scared that it had extra food colouring. In Poland meat is pale and we eat pork mostly.

All of it was strange, new and scary… But I wanted to learn!

The following year I decided to move to Ireland permanently. I choose  Waterford (by accident). I could pronounce it, itwas close to the coast, not too big, not too small and I had never heard about Waterford before…. sounded good enough for me!

In Waterford the real lesson started!

I had many jobs, in many places. I got to know people, the culture, build friendships, and learn the way of eating.


Chips with vinegar….. why?! Why would you put vinegar on chips?! I still cannot understand it. I cannot stand the smell! (I know, we Polish are strange too – pickled herrings for breakfast sounds like a nightmare for you). Milk in the tea? Why? In Poland we put lemon, syrup or vodka in tea – not milk! Full Irish breakfast? Really? Why? How can you eat baked beans for breakfast? But marshmallows in hot chocolate was a discovery. Seafood and shellfish, too, were another discovery. Amazing! All the exotic fruit and vegetables..

My challenge was to get to know ingredients, find out where to shop and learn how to cook it.

I was lucky enough to meet fantastic people, build friendships and work in lots of different places. I did work in Irish bars and restaurants, French, Italian too. I’ve learned so much. I have my amazing Irish family and friends, who cooked for me, brought me out for dinner, cooked Full Irish Breakfast after a night out.

I did my reasearch. I would go to the fishmonger, buy mussels and ask ‘how should I cook it?’ Then I would Google it, buy magazines and read, ask chefs I worked with and just try. I love buying “strange” ingredients, learning about it and trying it out. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I did fall in love in with Ireland; with the people and the food! I can’t imagine opening my restaurant in any other place in the world. This is my home; the place I feel at home. 

So much has changed in Ireland over the last 13 years. It has changed for better in my opinion, or maybe I just got to know it better. The incredible produce, the passionate people, the fifty shades of green, the best beef and lamb in the world, the beautiful wild ingredients… And so many talented people. They inspire me everyday.

Thank you Ireland.

Lots love,

Kamila

Christmas Menu

CHRISTMAS MENU

Available from 29th November – 31st December

35€ per person

Bookings on 051 581509 or kamila@momorestaurant.ie

Glass of Christmas Sangria on arrival.

Starters:

•Soup of the day

• Black pudding, Gubbeen chorizo, caramelised onion and goat cheese filo parcel, spiced apple and pear, toasted walnuts

• Jerk chicken drumsticks, avocado dip, caramelised apple and onion

• Chilli and coriander cod and crab meat crispy fish cake, sauté carrots and leeks, prawn bisque sauce

• Sea trout gravlax, Seagull Bakery borodinsky toast, pickled salad

• Citrus and herb falafel, smoked red pepper pesto, pickled cucumber, confit cherry tomato

• Beetroot terrine, apple purée, blood orange coulis, rocket salad

Mains:

•Slow cooked beef ribs, roasted parsnip, onion and garlic purée, portobello mushroom stuffed with caramelised shallots, pot wine jus, mash potatoes

•10oz O’Flynn’s striploin steak, sauté onion and mushroom, confit tomato, served with brandy peppercorn sauce or chimichurri, choose side order

SUPPLEMENT 5€

• Confit duck leg, sweet and sour red cabbage with raisin and walnuts, cranberry and orange sauce, roasted potatoes

• Dungarvan Ale brined chicken supreme, sauté Brussels sprouts, pea, bacon, sausage meat stuffing, roast garlic, rosemary and madeira sauce, sauté potatoes

• Fish of the day

• Catalan seafood stew, garlic crostini

• Seafood saffron risotto Milanese

• Homemade crispy gnocchi, wild mushroom and Parmesan sauce, roasted chestnut, rocket leaves and black truffle oil, (vegan option available- soy cream)

• Stuffed parcel with goat cheese, caramelised onion, figs and sweet potato, beetroot purée and roasted walnut salad

• Beetroot, beans, quinoa and cardamon patty, salsa, salad, roast carrot hummus and patatas bravas

Desserts:

• Momo pavlova with Chantilly cream, salted caramel sauce, banana and hazelnut trickle, (vegan option available- lemon and coconut curd)

• Spiced plum, apple and berry crumble, vanilla ice cream

• Blackberry chocolate brownie with berry coulis and vanilla ice cream

• Sticky toffee and dates pudding with Muldoon whiskey, orange and caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream

• Thin Gin lemon and cranberry panna cotta

• Chocolate fondant, black currant coulis and vanilla ice cream

• Selection of homemade ice cream

• Irish cheese board, red onion marmalade, crostini

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My Food Education (part one)

I would like to tell you my story – my food education story.

Growing up in communistic Poland was challenging and interesting. Food and goods were very limited. Eating well required lots of imagination and work.

My grandmother Helena was definitely my biggest influence. She was born in 1920, went to school in Switzerland in 1937, came back to Poland a day before the Second World War (31/08/1939) began, survived the war, and shared her secrets with me.

My grandmother was a great cook. She loved cream and butter more than anything else. Her dishes were rich and delicious. She would use only 30% fat cream, real homemade butter from our neighbour, and make the most amazing apricot jam. Apricot jam was only for special occasions. She would make around 20 jars a year. Every single one was treated with deserved respect. We did fight over it. Sweet and tangy, with lovely pieces of fruit- the best jam I have ever tasted!

We had a pantry in our kitchen filled with homemade jams, chutneys, pickles, my favourite “pears in vinegar” and even homemade ketchup and fruit syrups.

Everything in our home was made from scratch. My grandmother would make pasta, dry it and store it in a glass jar. Baking was a daily thing. She would bake delicious cakes, biscuits and crackers. ‘Preserve for winter’ was her motto. She would dry or freeze fresh herbs in ice cubes to use during the long winter. She was always prepared. She knew how to forage. She showed me how to do this and where to find wild herbs. Mint, nettles, and yarrow would be used to make salsa verde.

During the summer we would always take a basket for a walk in the forest. Wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries were waiting to be picked.

Wild mushrooms would grow outside the house. The neighbour would bring eggs, butter, homemade cottage cheese and rye sourdough bread. These are my memories. I loved baking with her;  making ginger bread cookies for Christmas and the cake mix from the bowl.

Hare stew in cream sauce with carrots and greens was our favourite dinner. For years we believed that it was chicken…. Not a hare…

Rabbit paté for Easter. Poppyseed Christmas cake. Yeast dough cake with raisins. There you go; my childhood memories.

This is what I want to give our children; knowledge where the food comes from. How to cook. Experience of flavours and textures. Food needs love and care to nourish us.

Food education should start young! It was always a part of my life and will always be. Food education is nerver ending… We can always learn more, experience new flavours… Learn from each other. History of the world is the history of food.

My grandmother would never really talk about the war, but she would keep the good memories alive. There was always a bottle of Chartreuse in our fridge – her little treat ( and medicine 😉) and Dijon mustard. Memories from school in Switzerland. She would tell us a stories about rotten potatoes during the war. They had rotten sweet taste, but during the war it was a delicatessen (what we ate when there was nothing to eat during WWII). I was given my Grandmother’s, and my great grandmother’s, recipe books; hand written recipes collected for years from friends and family.

This is a recipe for “Delicaciese Torte” from Mary with a little note that says “very good”. This is how it was. You would go to your friends house for a party, enjoy the cake and ask for the recipe. It was the great complement for the housewife.

Every family event was a feast! Homemade mayonnaise for vegetable salad (made only few times a year), roast loin of pork stuffed with prunes, horseradish sauce, pickled wild mushrooms, cold meats, salads, cakes and biscuits…

I want to keep the flavours alive forever. I want to learn more; to go back to the basics.

Dill always tastes like home for me.

When I arrived to Ireland (over 13 years ago!) food was my biggest challenge. Over the years, I learned how to appreciate it. I had to start from scratch. In my next post I will write about my food education in Ireland from the perspective of a Polish girl coming to Ireland.

Lots love,

Kamila

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Harvest Festival @Momo

This year we are going even bigger and better with our Harvest Celebrations.

From Friday 9th September – Sunday 11th September we offer our customers ‘THE FOOD HEROS OF WATERFORD MENU’;

Available from 5pm on Friday and Saturday and all day Sunday.
This 4 course menu is inspired by the beautiful produce on our doorstep, the hard and inspiring work of our suppliers and the most diverse season of harvest.


‘Local and Seasonal’ is our motto from the first day we opened the doors to Momo. Since that day, we’ve gotten to know our suppliers and producers better than ever and we’ve learned how to appreciate our city and county and discover the incredible beauty of the local produce available to us.

THE FOOD HEROS OF WATERFORD MENU

35€ per person/ bookings on 51 581509 or kamila@momorestaurant.ie

Complementary Metalman beer/ glass of Douro DOC Crasto White/ Douro DOC Flor de Crasto Reda

Appetiser:

Thin Gin Gaspacio

Starters:

Rainbow beetroot and blood orange terrine, watercrest salad, apple purée. (Ballybeg Greens, Seagull bakery).

Smoked Cod, maple syrup and bacon crumb risotto. (Doherty’s fish)

Crispy black pudding and gubeen chorizo balls, tapenade, smoked red pepper pesto. (Gubeen Smokehouse, Kiely Meats).

Mains:

Home cured and slow roasted pork belly, confit root vegetables, pale ale, and apple jus, turnip and potato gratin. (O’ Flynns, Tom Cleary, Metalman Brewery and Ballybeg Greens).

Marinated and chargrilled courgette steak, roast tomato, suffed with ratatouille, couscous and goat cheese, served with warm basil, mint and tomato relish. ( Ballybeg Greens, Tom Cleary).

Pan fried monkfish on the bone, chargrilled baby squash, tomato and vanilla coulis, balsamic reduction, fried potato and spinach croquette. (Seatrade, Beotanics, Ballybeg Greens)

Trio of Desserts:

Apple and black berry cake, blackberry bavarois, fruit and gin compote. ( Thin Gin, Ballybeg Greens, hand picked blackberries by little Momo, Deise honey)

GLUTEN FREE/ DAIRY FREE/ VEGAN available on the request

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‘Best Kids Size Me’ in Ireland at The Irish Restaurant Awards

As far as good weeks go, last week was up there with the best.

My head is full of inspiration. I cannot stop thinking about everything food related!

Last Monday we went to the finals of The Irish Restaurant Awards’ in Dublin.

It was a very elegant even; strictly black tie with a 6 course meal, prepared by the best chefs in the country. All my food heroes under one roof. It was overwhelming. I got very nervous. I was surrounded by the best in the country, by people I admire, faces I see in magazines… And we were there. We won “Best Kids Size Me” in Munster a couple of months ago, and we had a chance to win an All Ireland award. I really didn’t have any expectations, or hopes that maybe…. Being around The Best in Ireland was good enough – I thought.

Every single course was absolutely delicious. I still cannot get my head around how can you serve soup for 900 people – hot and with perfectly crunchy croutons.

A few hours in to the evening and we won! We won All Ireland”Best Kids Size Me”! I couldn’t believe it.

I nearly cried. Overwhelmed with pure joy. Proud of our Momo team – we did it.

I won’t lie. Maybe it looks easy to run a restaurant, winning awards and so on – but it is not. When your work is recognised by specialists in the industry – the feeling is incredible.

When we told our children that we won – seeing how happy they were made all the hard work worth it. We have to thank them for the award. They inspire us.

Children are our future. Our responsibility is to feed them well, teach them and give them a right start in life.

When we opened Momo and were doing our first children menu we decided to respect the young ones and give them the best food that we could; nothing processed just the same dishes as for the rest of our guests. It drives me crazy, when I go to eat out with my young ones and the kids menu is filled with rubbishy, processed food (chips and nuggets)….

I think they deserve to get the best food – or at least as good as we get. Respect young diners. They are going to grow up and might come one day with their children. It’s up to us to give everyone the best experience we can.

I still remember going to the restaurant with our little ones and not being able to have a dessert because they were so bored and started to cry…. I just wanted a cake.

We can help parents to enjoy the meal out with children a little bit more by making everyone feel important and looking after all the little needs. Sometimes it is just some bread for the hungry one or glass of water for a very thirsty and tired mother.

And real food for real people! Make it interesting, pretty, tasty and healthy. A little bit of vegetables won’t kill anyone.


Respect for the young diners, for our children, for the future. It is our job to do things a little bit better, to eat better, move more and look after our planet. To give a good example. To care.

We take little steps in what we believe is the right direction. We offer children natural, ‘made in Waterford’ cordials with sparkling water instead of sugary, fizzy madness. We make our own ice cream, and sometimes in funny flavours so our guests have to guess them. Butternut squash and parsnip are full of natural sweeteness! We are adults, we can make a difference. We can show the direction we believe is right.

Ireland is full of incredible produce, very talented people, beautiful nature and a new generation of young people. It is our responsibility to give them a good start.

Yes, I’m so proud and happy. I’m full of new ideas and inspiration. We are just back from Balymaloe’s LitFest (a food and drink literacy festival) and my head is full of deep thoughts about our future. Where we are going? What can we teach our children? How can we look after our planet and can we be just a little bit nicer to one another?

Today I’m going to bake our first sourdough using the starter we got in Ballymaloe from Riot Rye Bakehouse Bread School with our children.

It is all about taking little steps.

Lots love,

Kamila

 

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Momo Went to Phil Grimes Pub

Last Thursday evening we went to ‘Phil Grimes Pub.’ This time not only for a pint or two. This time we bought food for 40+ people; a four course meal with an accompanying craft beer. Tom Ryan chose very carefully; 4 craft beers to go with each course.

Tom is the owner of Phil Grimes Pub. He is the nicest person you can possibly meet – a real gentleman with real passion and incredible knowledge about craft drinks; a real beer enthusiast.


The fire is on. The pool table is in the corner. There are cosy, comfy seats and the best selection of craft beers at the right price. You can’t ask for more!

We know Tom for a while by now, but since we opened Momo we have become good friends. Tom is in the business for years (18!!!) and has so much experience. He happily gives us his support and advice.


We started the evening with THIN GIN gazpacho.


SHARING STARTER

Craft beer – JACK CODY’s DUXIE; grapefruit, earl grey tea, pale ale. A light start.🍺


A selection of vegetarian tapas; smoked paprika hummus, red onion marmalade, roast garlic black bean hummus, beetroot and goats cheese relish, olives, roast Mediterranean vegetable tapenade, Seagull Bakery breads.

 MAINS

Craft beer – WHITE GYPSY DOPPLEBOCK – mature lager, Tom’s favourite beer at the moment.

 – Asian style grilled Mackerel ( ginger, lime, lemon grass, chili and coriander)

– Lamb burger in a homemade Minehead Dungarvan Pale Ale flat bread, tomato, cucumber, mint salsa, garlic mint yogurt dip

– Duo of vegetable grilled skewers:

*sweet potato, squash, courgette, curry spiced,

*peppers, aubergine, cherry tomato, red onion in basil pesto and sun-dried tomato oil.

ALL MAINS served with selection of salads;

  • Ballybeg organic green salad in citrus dressing,
  • Tuscan salad,
  • Spiced couscous, beans and vegetable salad.

DESSERT was just amazing 😋

Craft beer- WHITE GYPSY IMPERIAL PORTER – perfect with our dessert and inspired by porter, prepared with porter!

White Gypsy porter chocolate ganache, lime cream, brandy snap basket with dark espresso and cherry ice cream.

Michael, our head chef, and Gary, the sous chef, did incredible work. To prepare and serve four course meal for 40+ people in the pub is not easy in my opinion. They did it with the a  smile and without even breaking a sweat!


DJ Daria played sweet tunes. Kevin served beer and managed to wash 1900000 glasses quicker than a light! We all had a few delicious pints after and the night was a success!  

We will do it again😋🍺 Stay tuned!

Lots Love,

Kamila

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