That which Remains Unwritten

Being a B&B owner takes a huge desire to care for others and provide personalized service.

I have a dream to own a Bed and Breakfast. My sister and I are self-ascribed Bed and Breakfast connoisseurs. A B&B or Inn needs to be cozy and comfortable, offer a hearty breakfast and have something we refer to as the “cuteness factor”. I’d like mine to be all that, plus run as a small restaurant in the evenings with ingredients raised and grown on the grounds.

In 2009, I had the opportunity to reduce my work hours and I made the most of it by attending culinary school. I graduated in August 2009 and have spent the last seven months “cutting my teeth” part time at a local steakhouse and doing an occasional catering.

The next logical step for me is to transition from Bed and Breakfast guest to

April 9 is looming and I desperately need to write this essay for my B&B externship application. As you can tell, difficulties abound. What could be giving me this temporary writer’s block? I can usually zip off a post in less than 30 minute. While not astonishing works of genius, my musings usually get the point across – and really, with this essay, that’s all I’m trying to do. Something, however, seems to be holding me back. Is it fear that I’ll actually get accepted? Is it my persistent awareness that my words are impotent descriptors of this overwhelming desire? Perhaps I’m afraid of the rejection – who am I to think I would be chosen over the many who will likely apply? This one little page of words is vexing me terribly. Why can’t I get it out on paper?


The Dream

I’ve revealed the dream, it seems like, a hundred times.  I have a “short and simple” version to answer the question “Why did you go to culinary school at this point in your life?” and the longer, in depth version, that I share in bits and pieces, but sits mostly in my mind.  Depending on my audience and the topic of discussion, I supply an outline,  a portion of the puzzle, a nugget of my desire.

For you,  I will conjure it fully:

My dream is to own a Bed and Breakfast – quite possibly with my sister.  This grand Victorian would sit on five acres in a yet-to-be-discovered wine region.  My loft-like owner’s quarters would be the old converted barn in the back – dark wood and high ceilings, with plenty of sunlight, sitting beside the brook that borders my property.

The grounds would be home to an ample vegetable garden surrounded by a crushed granite path.  My garden would be the daily inspiration for my menu.  At least an acre of lavender fields, visible from the porch, would undulate in the breeze.  I would use my lavender for cooking and soap making and selling at the farmer’s market, along with my surplus produce.  I would need grape vines to make my own wine, each row capped with rose bushes.  This is not wine for selling, but for private consumption and to share with my guests.  I’ve discovered that a large swath of ground isn’t needed to grow the grapes necessary for wine making – I would need less than an acre.  And last, but not least, another acre would hold my two female goats, my affectionate pets and providers of the milk for my soap and chevre (perhaps some rolled in lavender). I’ve already contemplated how I would train them to come to the back door for their morning milking.  Not much of a morning person, I picture myself milking them on the back steps with a coffee cup in one hand and the teat of a placid goat in the other (idyllic, I know, but I did say this was my DREAM).

The actual B&B would be many things – a bed a breakfast for those visiting this undiscovered slice of wine country, a small pre fixe restaurant similar to the one I saw at Rock Cottage in Ireland, a wedding and event venue, and perhaps even a home-chef cooking school.  It would also be my haven.

The response to my dream is almost always, “that will be a lot of work”.  Is it work, though, when you’re doing something you love in the place of your dreams?

Slamming Doors and Banging Windows

I’m done.  I quit.  My Sundays at the Steakhouse are over forever.  Surprisingly, it’s bittersweet.  There is a palpable sense of relief – this Sunday, I can sleep in, putter, practice yoga, garden, check things off the “to do” list.  Perhaps I can even join Sunday swing dancing again.  I feel released.  On the other hand, I have closed the door to my learning, to developing dessert ideas that sell, to feeling loved/wanted by Big D and the kitchen staff.  I had a (even though somewhat tenuous) sense of belonging there.  I thought it was going to be “good bye and good riddance” while, in truth, it was “good bye, but can I see you sometime”.  

However, as this one door has closed, it seems a window sash has been thrown open, if only a crack.  There’s an opportunity in Scotland to intern at a B&B.  I can only imagine how many culinary professionals and students will apply for the position, but I have to try.  I’m so frighteningly aware that I did not reach my goal of six months in the Steakhouse.  I admit to my failure – and it disturbs me that I faltered.  Ideally, I want to own a B&B; shouldn’t I find out first if I would LIKE it?  This was one of my next steps on the path – Learn about the B&B business. 

What better opportunity could there be than to learn by managing and cooking in a real B&B in Scotland?  I have to (at least) apply.  The deadline is April 9.