A nurse of 30 years has seen her lifelong dream of owning a beach café come true.
Kate Mills took over ‘Café des Pas’ along Havre des Pas promenade, near where she learned to swim, in October and is planning to reopen in March under the name ‘The Good Egg.'
Having worked as a nurse for over 30 years, including at the prison over the last two, Kate says she has “always had a little dream of running a beach café."
“I have always wanted to do it, but I never seriously thought I could do it,” she explained. “It wasn't until last year that I looked into it. My daughters had recently flown the nest and my eldest said, ‘You worked so hard for us, it’s your turn now, you should do it.'”
Pictured: Kate learned to swim in the sea at Havre des Pas.
Kate started exploring the idea and, one day in September, a friend sent her an advert for a café up for sale. Kate sent a handwritten note to the owner, who got back in touch and invited her to come see Café des Pas.
Having grown up in Havre des Pas and learned to swim just opposite the café, Kate felt instantly at home. Within three weeks, she had left her job at the prison, where she had been a nurse for the past two years, and taken on a whole new career.
“I could not believe how quick it went, it felt it was meant to be. The timing was perfect,” Kate said. "Havre des Pas has always been a special place for me. I was born and raised in Jersey and have many happy memories of days spent on the beach by the café with my family."
Pictured: Kate has kept the Café des Pas team.
While she had previously only worked in cafés as a 'Saturday girl', Kate says the skills set needed for her roles at the prison and A&E, as well as a sister at the diabetes centre - managing people, working under pressure, facing customers - will be useful in her new career.
After leaving the prison on a Friday, she started her new job the following Monday. She said the quick transition was made easier with the support of the café's team - all of whom she has kept - who helped her learn the different facets of the role.
Kate has also received support from her family, including her husband who has looked after “the finance side of things” and her daughters who helped with the branding, menu and recruitment, along with their friend Anya.
Pictured: Kate's family has helped her prepare for her new career.
“I would not have been able to do this without my husband,” Kate said. “The girls and their friends have been amazing. It’s been a real team effort, a project of love with everyone putting their bits in.”
Kate’s former colleagues at the prison have also been “incredibly supportive”. They have designed wooden furniture for the café’s rooftop terrace which prisoners then created under their supervision.
Over the past few weeks, Kate has been busy coming up with a new menu, keeping on customer favourites while adding vegan and vegetarian options, as well as treats for dogs. Breakfast will be served all day long, along with burgers, wraps, toasties and pancakes.
Wishing ‘The Good Egg’ to be “as sustainable as possible”, Kate has sourced local produce and plastic-free packaging where possible. She will also be offering free drinks to customers who fill up one of the buckets available at the café with litter from the beach, keeping the tradition of the café.
Pictured: The furniture for the café's rooftop terrace has been created at the prison.
"The Good Egg is the result of my passion for fresh, simple, loving food and spending quality time together," Kate said. "When raising my daughters, I ensured they grew up eating and learning about healthy, nutritious food and have always had a special interest in nutrition which is reflected in our menu.
"We are proud to work with local suppliers whilst supporting our community, providing a fresh, seasonal menu with something for everyone. Our aim is to run a sustainable, eco-friendly business with minimal impact on our environment."
After giving a fresh look to the café, Kate is now awaiting he approval of the Planning Department to cover the lower terrace so as to make welcoming in all weather.
Pictured: Kate is awaiting for the approval of the Planning Department to cover the café's lower terrace.
If all goes to plan, ‘The Good Egg’ - a name which was equally inspired by Kate’s nickname and her eldest daughter’s obsession with eggs – should open the first weekend of March.
“It’s really a dream come true," she said. "Being a nurse is huge part of who I am. I have kept my registration for now. I loved my career but it was time for a new challenge."
"I'm under no illusion it will be a lot of work," she added, laughing. "It’s all very exciting."
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