Greetings, Blog Friends.
This month marks 30 years of work in hospitality for me and I can't help but reflect on this time as a blessing. Starting with a 2 month stint at a fast-food joint to where I am today--owning a glorious New England inn---has never been without its sacrifice, hard work, and learning.
The scores of co-workers, teachers, and guests that have marked my career are only thoughts away. I re-visit these times on occasion and am amazed at how much time has passed.
I always say to my current staff (the best group of positive, genuine individuals with whom I have had the honor to work) that hospitality is 'not so bad a gig' (yeah, swanky hipster lingo added, I guess!). Remembering the routine, creating details, and delving into one's heart for sincerity is something that has always been a part of my own personality. In today's world, fraught with unmotivated robots, to be genuine and creative means so much. Moreover, it is a code of work ethic that to honor guests who are paying with their hard-earned money that begins and ends every day of mine.
In this time the sacrifice for earning my living has meant missing holidays with friends and family. It has meant making mistakes in the eye of the public. It has meant sacrificing my very health to work more than I should have (gets tougher as I age). It has meant so many things that this blog can never report.
Among my high points (besides the oodles of satisfaction of "work done well") were waiting on former Vice President Al Gore, buying The Inn at Long Lake after returning after a heart-breaking absence, and filming my television cooking series "Cooking Inn Style" on local Lake Region TV (2005-06). Smaller, but no less meaningful, were the smiles of happy guests enjoying and the phone call and cards (many I still keep in a box in my bedroom closet) that validated my intention.
In this blog I have tried--and will continue to try---to be a positive influence to wherever your food and entertaining schemes are evolving. After these 30 years and experiencing that food, beverage, and hospitality means to me, I encourage you to grow in your knowledge as I have spent my career doing. In doing so, those around us are privy to a place in our hearts of conviviality and warmth. And, my friends---that is a "pretty good gig" any day of the year.
Keith A. Neubert
Innkeeper, The Inn at Long Lake