The Great Hall
Greetings... The Great Hall: Greetings...
By Fritz (Fritz) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 02:16 pm: Edit

I came across this place last night, while searching for something entirely unrelated. It must have been Fate, because I was delighted to read for hours.

I own a small bed & breakfast inn, here in CT. As a '1 woman show', I am (effectively) "Chef", "Waitress", "Hostess", "Concierge",& "Exalted Cleaner of Toilets".

Business has been slow for us, this year, & lately I am preoccupied w/ the rising cost of (quality) food ingredients for my peeps. I like to keep my breakfasts (usually 3 - 4 courses) fresh & simple. I also like to use local produce, which is not terribly expensive in season, & patronize fellow small business establishments. Ironically, the price of smoked salmon hasn't risen here, but dairy products are killing me! I used to order great cheeses from, but even a simple smoked gouda from my local (family owned) market has shot up to the point where I don't keep more than 3 types of cheese, all domestic, on hand. Please note: I live w/ a giant French mouse, so "stinky cheese" doesn't last long, here.

Anyhoo... Thanks for letting me blow off some steam, & I hope you don't mind if I stick around.
Though on a much smaller scale, many of the issues/headaches I've read about here have been common to my experiences as an innkeeper.

Thanks for existing. -(;o)~
Sherry (Fritz)

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

"I own a small bed & breakfast inn, here in CT. As a '1 woman show', I am (effectively) "Chef", "Waitress", "Hostess", "Concierge",& "Exalted Cleaner of Toilets"."

...What, you don't do dishes?????!!!!!!!......and you call yourself a Chef!!!!!!!???????????

You can come blow off steam anytime.......$75.00 per half hour!!!!
Welcome Sherry....oh yes, ignore Spike!!!!...he was just let out!!!!!!

By Fritz (Fritz) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 06:18 pm: Edit

Thanks for the welcome, Manny... NO WAY do I call myself a chef - too humble for that (ha). I am something of a Food Jester, because I like to play, don't use recipies, & don't prep anything that requires *measuring* - which eliminates baking from my rep.... I leave the baking to the professionals down the street, who do everything w/ fruits & nuts from their own orchards. Saves me time, $, & embarassment. I have the utmost respect for them, & they know they cannot do hand towel origami like I can, so it's mutual.

I have read about Spike's dilemma, & I think it's a shame, because he seems to miss the gig very much (not to talk about you like you're not here, Spike!).... I also wonder if Spike has scoped out the 2 casinos, out here in CT, that offer a plethora of restaurants (from high-end to deli-style), & are always in need of fine chefs, given volume & turnover.... They are sovreign nation Native American, & do not scrim against minorities @ all - also have comprehensive health/dental, 1nce the 90 day mark passes.... They hire all manner of chef/sous/pastry, etc... In some of the places, $ is no object for ingredients... Heck, Spike... Ever had a New England winter??? Not so bad when the pay is good. -(;o)~ Both Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun have websites, but I don't know how diligent they are w/ online applications - worth a shot, though?! They import staff from Brazil, Poland & China - like I said - perhaps worth a shot?


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:20 pm: Edit

Spike's not a Pastry Chef, he's a freakin' frustrated actor!!!!!!!!!
He could pass for Steve McQueeen!!!!!....or was that Ellwood?????

By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 08:12 am: Edit

lol manny!!!

Welcome to the forums Sherry (Fritz).

By Doucefrance (Doucefrance) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 09:33 am: Edit

Welcome Sherry, and too bad you just had to run into the worst pair on the forum, Manny and Spike, oops...I should have let you find out by yourself!
Sorry Master Manny, sorry Master Spike, me no do bad french baker.

By Fritz (Fritz) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit

Thanks, Snuffy, thanks, Douce....

Don't worry... I did my homework (!) prior to posting. -(;o)~

Seems like a great group, overall. Not too much sniping. Ha.

Spike should *also* know that they are proposing a movie studio/theme park/ college for the performing arts in my town... Cathy Moriarty (the wife in 'Raging Bull') & her husband want to bring it here, w/in a mile of my place - kinda psyched! It's down the road, time-wise, but Opportunity abounds.

Funny... In my OP, I said I found you all by searching for something unrelated - this turns out to not be the case... I was looking up the Zagats 'Unfit For Print' reviews, & George had put a bunch here, so they turned up - just realized, when I looked @ my print-out, that George was 1 of the sources I pulled up.

Bless yourself, George.-(;o)~

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 02:11 am: Edit

I haven't even said a damn word here ?

but anyhow, Welcome to this.......whatever,, discusion?
I wished you baked. Hell I wished every chef baked, just a little.
don't put a collar on that talent, try one thing, then another.
hell even Manny bakes!...or burns, but thats baking, kind of.
I'm not going there to work. Thanks anyhow.

By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 09:37 am: Edit

hey Spike, I baked... a cake... it was kinda dry though... so I tried again... came out not too dry but pretty dense... Tasty though.. *8)
ps... Manny has a hole in his head that needs fixin' *8p

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 09:01 pm: Edit

Fritz - Welcome!

If you are still looking for interesting cheese (not too expensive) try Humboldt Fog. It is a nice little goat cheese with vegetable ash. There is also a good chipotle cheddar from Visalia, Ca. that is quite tasty and makes great Mexican treats. They are only about $5.00 a pound and you can get them online (do you have Sysco in CT? they carry it too.)

Again, welcome!


By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit

Hi Sherry,

What are you planning to do in order to get business up?
Do you place ads in Yankee magazine?
I know a couple of B&B owners who do that and it works well for them.
Can you serve dinners to the public?
just a couple of ideas.
Regards, Gerard

By Fritz (Fritz) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 10:14 pm: Edit

Hi, Cherie... Been there, done that, & it's yummy... My source is igourmet, & they have been the best price, dollars to donuts, for my 'situation' (read 'out in the sticks!). Frog always helps me select cheeses, & he spots family houses there that he used to eat in France, as well - & they run specials, all the time.

Gerard - hello - & thanks for your ideas... Nay, I cannot serve dinners, &, actually, it wouldn't work here - most of my peeps getting in from the city arrive @ dinner time - they usually want to have dinner @ 1 of the nicer places in the area, & have reservations. Since I am only 1 chickie, I can't do meet n' greets, & prepare dinner simultaneously - even my family knows it's "hunt it, catch it, kill it, & eat it", when I am receiving guests - I don't even answer the phone, unless it's other pending arrivals. I have a pretty efficient galley style kitchen (Frog & I designed it as a 'diamond', rather than triangle), & I serve a nice, hearty appetizer style snack to accompany the wine. Unfortunately, as it is, my folks tend to be late risers (which I like), & I don't have breakfast cleaned up until 2 p.m. - facilitating dinner would be impossible!
We used to have print advertising - even in Yankee, for a bit... The budget is GONE, unfortunately, so we are relying solely on our website - which Froggie & my friend Gigi have meta-tagged top-drawer. It pops up quickly, in searches for other area attractions. We are simply down to the wire thanks to terror alerts & gas prices. I'm sure it will pick up - just trying to keep my phone from getting shut off in the meanwhile. -(;o)~

I am not 1 to whore my own site on a message board, but if anyone would like to see my place, email me, & I'll ship a link... Alas, the 'Food' button has no pics, yet. I keep waiting until I have it set up juuuuuuuuuust right.
p.s. Ya'll are a big, groovy basket of fuzzy, sweet peaches, & you have my gratitude.

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 10:49 am: Edit

Get into catering, take samples around if there's any corp offices in the area.

Social catering is simple, we just got up and running in catering , it took 6 months and our account was down to $200 at one point.

We also do wholesale baking to keep the cash flowing, its more work but it pays the rent, sometimes its adapt or sink.
This weekend we did a pig roast, never been near one before but its as simple as baking a bird, just different timing. We get most of our calls from a yellow page ad on the internet.

Not having enough time from 2pm to do dinners?
Well, do you have the inclination.?
Regards, Gerard

By Fritz (Fritz) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 11:50 pm: Edit

Gerard... If/when the situation requires turning the guest rooms 'over' (remake beds w/ fresh linens, clean the bath thoroughly, replace towels, restock toiletries, vaccuum, & check details - books out of place, anything left in the dresser, flowers fresh?!), AFTER cleaning up from Brunch style breakfast by one's self (made by one's self) - & running laundry meanwhile, so to be certain to not run out of towels (can never have too many towels)... Yes, 2 p.m. to dinner time is a crunch for me - I am 1 person. Nay, I decidedly do NOT have the inclination to make dinners. I manage to prep apps for arrivals, as well as prep what will still be fresh for the next morning's breakfast, & set the table for that.

The benefit for me is that I can effectively screen my clients... The downside is that I cannot afford help - ergo, no juggling beyond the most basic.

I have considered social catering (my MIL thinks this would be a great thing for me to do, alas) - unfortunately, even on the smallest scale 1 is @ 1's guests' disposal, & this is unpredictable, @ best - to undertake outside projects is not a realistic prospect for me.

I kid you not... I get a lot of 'free time' (which I spend stressed out about 'on time')... But, if I had a nickel for every person who ever said to me, "OH! I always wanted to open a bed & breakfast inn when I retire!" - I'd be retired by now. When it's a slumber party, &&&&& you feed them, it's a whole other gig.

& no... I am NOT 'special'. There is nothing spectacular about me, beyond my ability to stay up until 3 a.m. or so w/ folks who are exercising their right to 'get away', & request the company to share their 'relief' w/. I am good @ *that*. We've simply been hit hard, this last year... & I guarantee that, post-election, we will bounce back - I have bookings for NYE, & just wait Valentine's weekend......

Hope springs eternal,
Fritz -(;o)~

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 07:07 am: Edit

I've been there myself, my partner in the pastry shop died and I couldn't keep up over the long run. The downturn in the economy, post 9/11, really hurt the business.
Eventually I decided to find another partner and get into something easier such as catering.
Until I changed my ideas, my philosophy, I was going to stay where I was.
If staying up til 3am with guests because you feel thats a service you must offer then fine, it doesn't strike me as reasonable but if I loved doing it , I would too.
The downside is you cannot expect to grow beyond just getting by and making a living.
Theres nothing wrong with that if you are content.
Regards, Gerard

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