A check mark by the name means they have already been to the school once before, where as an underline means that they have been more than once, and there was a lot of blue ink on the page.
We were boarding the private coach for the castle and half of the group- 11 out of 22- were returning students. For some, this was the third visit. For one it was the 9th.
Eleni from Surrey leaned in and said, ‘Golly. So many here for a second time. That must make it easier for you’.
I just swallowed.
We had noticed the trend of returning students a few years ago, and actually had created an advanced course for those that wanted to go deeper. At the tail end of that welcoming speech, I said, ‘This is the first time we have done this course so we have three different roads we can take.
1) All new recipes.
2) some new recipes
3) all things you’ve already cooked here before.
‘Hands up for one’. No one. ‘Hands up for two’. One. ‘Hands up for three’, and all the hands went up, even the one that was up for ‘road two’. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
‘Are we going to have that wine again, the one with the black label’?
‘Can we make that one dish again, the one with the fried pasta’?
Most come back for a different course. ‘I was in Lecce, then the castle for Terronia and now we’re back again this time for Olive You’, said Tara from BC. ‘We’re eager to learn new things’, she said, counter trend.
80% of those that have already booked our The Jewish Cooking of Southern Italy are returning. Our bicycle courses are filling with those that returning but are bringing friends and family members this time.
And our 15th birthday next year has only one new person so far.
It’s the part of the business that we’re working the hardest on: How to take all three roads at the same time.