Chuck Pennington | The Verandas
Five Minutes with Chuck Pennington, Proprietor of The Verandas Bed and Breakfast Inn: “For over 20 years, I’ve served… 20 x 365 breakfasts. Fresh coffee. Soft music. Seventy degree air conditioning. What more could you want to start your day?“
I worked in restaurants. I was chef, busboy, waiter, manager. I did all of it.
It’s a really different running a bed and breakfast, like The Verandas. We’re not a restaurant, with a staff of 50.
Here, I basically do 15 different kinds of breakfasts, with a staff of two. It gets challenging when there is a guest here for ten or more days. But I make small changes, like instead of pear and brie in the croissant, I’ll do orange marmalade and cream cheese. I try to change breakfasts determined by the number of guests. For two to four people, I’ll do souffles. If it gets up to ten people or more, like this morning, I do something like brie and pear stuffed croissants, with a fresh blueberry sauce. If it’s six to eight people, I do pancakes, or a wonderful French toast. I use this beautiful, dense raisin bread. It’s really good.
Chuck Pennington’s breakfast – and his hospitality – makes a superb impression. Gwen Pratesi, raved about The Verandas on her blog, Pratesi Living, and shares the recipe for Brie and Pear Stuffed Croissants.
The second B in Bed & Breakfast
When guests make a reservation, we ask about food allergies or restrictions. Then we accommodate them and adjust the menu. If someone is gluten-free, for example, I make an entire breakfast that is gluten-free, and no one realizes it. I can go a vegan breakfast by just changing out a few things. But once in awhile, you get a gluten-free, a vegetarian, a vegan, a dairy-free… it gets very confusing very fast. You’re trying to do 5 or 6 breakfasts and they all have to be special.
Trained in flexibility
Things happen that are out of your control. You’ll serve breakfast and someone will say, “I don’t eat eggs.” You have to think on your feet. You have to come up with an alternate; remember we don’t have a menu here, the meal is carefully planned ahead of time. But you learn to have a Plan B and C. If the melon isn’t sweet, you have to add candied ginger. You have to make it work.
Running the show
What’s really critical is being organized. There is a place for everything, from the dishtowels to the juice in the refrigerator. If one thing is out of place, it impacts everyone’s performance. We spend 3-1/2 to four hours doing breakfast for ten guests or so, and it’s our whole morning. There is a rhythm for when guests sit down at the table, and when they are served, and how they experience our hospitality.
People often choose a B&B for the gourmet experience. There’s a higher level of service. We make their breakfast experience elegant. There’s also attention to the security issue, I watch out for my guests. If a guest doesn’t come back by midnight, if they don’t show up for breakfast, I’m concerned.
Starting the day as the maestro of breakfast
Mine is a bottle of Slimfast. I skip breakfast. After cooking breakfast for all these years, I don’t need to eat it.
Experience The Verandas
A Bed & Breakfast Inn
202 Nun Street, Wilmington, NC