Every other Monday, we’ll introduce you to a member of the Dandelion community through a Q & A. Stay tuned to meet our chocolate makers, café staff, kitchen team, producers, partners, importers, mentors, and everyone who helps make our chocolate possible. This week, we’d like you to meet Maverick—a longtime fixture in our coffee program, inventor of our Ecuador Cold Brew and the fizzy Cure-All, and part-time cowboy.
NAME: Maverick Watson
HOMETOWN: Moorpark, California
FAVORITE CHOCOLATE: 85% Camino Verde (Dandelion)
WORKED AT DANDELION SINCE: January 2013
POSITION: Ferry Building Manager
Q: Hi Maverick!
Q: So, first of all, congratulations on the new job! Until yesterday you were the longtime Café Mentor with a Focus in Beverage Management, and now you’re Dandelion’s Ferry Building Manager. How excited are you to have a job title with a reasonable number of words in it?
A: I’m very excited.
Q: But really. You’ve been at Dandelion forever (since 2013), how does it feel switching gears?
A: I’m really excited to start this new phase with Dandelion. The Ferry Building is a very different space, kind of separated from the rest of Dandelion, and one of my biggest goals is figuring out how to make a more cohesive cultural connection between the Ferry Building and the rest of the company.
Q: You joined Dandelion to help open the café on Valencia Street. How has it changed since those days?
A: I came on before the café or factory were built out, when the whole space was more of a Confusing Retail Location and Chocolate Museum. I think when we started, things were more free flowing, and as we’ve grown we’ve developed a lot of structure and systems for organized growth. There’s been a lot of trial and error. Strategically, we’re a lot more effective. Also, things don’t break as often, which is nice. Now, our employees come with experience that makes sense, whereas in 2013, our lawyer Joey was tempering bars.
Q: What did you do as the café mentor?
A: I was basically an assistant manager, maintaining our drinks program and adding drinks to the menu, training staff, maintaining quality standards, and all that. I do recipe research, and sometimes manage disasters like grease traps and broken sinks.
Q: Grease traps are gross. What’s the worst maintenance disaster you’ve ever had to deal with?
A: When the grease trap overfilled for the first time, it was horrifying. I won’t go into too much detail but I remember Cam being elbow deep in the sludge. We tried hard to stay open but eventually we broke out the Shop Vacs and had to close. That disaster was second to the notorious glass pastry case explosion two years ago.
Q: What do you like about working on the other side of the café counter?
A: I like the dynamic atmosphere; no two days are exactly the same. I get to work with a lot of amazing people. People get really excited about this space, which helps me see it with fresh eyes every day. That’s one of the most amazing things about working here—it’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re here every day, and not realize how amazing this place is, but when someone comes in who has never been here before they have this look on their face that reminds you “Yeah, this is a special thing that’s happening.” It’s also fun to see the company grow.
Q: You make those leather-cuffed mugs we sell during Christmas, and a lot of us know you as a part time leatherworker. Tell me about that.
A: My fiance and I have a company, Steer and Arbor. She does woodworking and I do leather. We make and sell handcrafted utilitarian items.
Q: Utilitarian? Like hammers?
A: Like spoons, tables, cutting boards, belts, and bags. We sell at craft fairs, online, and on the factory shelves when the holidays roll around.
Q: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
A: An endless supply of dad jokes.
Q: I mean, that pager on your belt is kind of a dad joke.
A: It’s not a pager, it’s my phone holster. On second thought, does having a car phone qualify as a superpower? It should.
Q: It definitely should. Next question: if you could serve coffee to anyone from history, who would it be?
A: Herman Melville. And I’d ask him about the meaning of the great white whale.
Q: That’s a big question.
A: I’m a big man.
Q: I know you are.