The last week or so has been hectic and slow at the same time. Slow because we have only had a couple of people staying with us. It’s hectic because Memorial Day weekend is unexpectedly kicking off our season. Last year Memorial Day was a non-event and June was slow. A few weeks ago this still appeared to be the case and we were conservatively gearing up for the season. Suddenly June became much busier than it was last year and people were calling about Memorial Day weekend. In short order we were scrambling to find enough staff to cover the small influx of reservations. Mind you, we only have five staff members on at the moment, the two of us, Michael the General Manager, Carolyn our Reservations Coordinator and Perla our one lonely housekeeper. So, even a few rooms can be challenging at times like these.
We are very fortunate that several members of our part time wait staff will be returning for the season. We are less fortunate in that many of them will be away during this critical time period because we did not expect to have this much business yet. Housekeepers and spa staff are another story and we are basically starting from the ground up this season. It’s a positive dilemma and we’re definitely not afraid to roll up our sleeves and dig in wherever necessary. Alex is good at airport runs and carrying bags and I’ve been known to make a bed or two. We’re very excited that reservations are starting to fill in. Now we just have to assemble the team to make it run smoothly.
One of the pitfalls of seasonal employment is when people who were not necessarily our finest employees wish to return. We may have liked them personally but had not been overly impressed with their job performance. It’s especially tough when they come knocking at a moment when you are somewhat urgently in need of bodies. It takes a great deal of faith to stick to your guns and gently turn them away. In my mind I wonder if anyone else will apply and if it isn’t better to bring back someone who is familiar with the system and needs less training. The sad truth is that if they didn’t perform well in the past and you bring them back, they will probably do a worse job the second time around because they think it's acceptable. Although others may not agree with me, I’d rather work a little bit harder now and wait for the right person to come along than set myself up for an uncomfortable situation in the very near future. Although the moment of rejection, no matter how nicely we phrase it, is not a pleasant one for any of us. One of the most important non-culinary lessons we’ve learned is that one negative staff member can have a viral effect on whole group. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to do the extra work ourselves, in the long run I know that patience and perseverance will pay off. Sometimes finding the right personality is more important than just finding the person in the right place at the right time.
In the meantime I'm feeling the urge for sugar and chocolate. We bake chocolate chip cookies for turn down service and there's always fresh dough in my reach-in. A couple of chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven will revive me and give me the added energy to push through the rest of the afternoon. A brief tip on cookie making, this is one place where the butter you use really makes a difference. We use Strauss Organic Butter for these cookies and Guittard chocolate chips. The fewer ingredients in your recipe, the more important the quality becomes.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
8 oz. sweet butter, room temperature (we use Strauss Organic from CA)
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups AP flour
1cup semi-sweet chips (Guittard)
Place flour, salt & soda in a bowl and whisk lightly to blend. Set aside. Cream butter in a mixer. Add sugar 1/2 a cup at a time and blend until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time making sure that the first egg is thoroughly absorbed before adding the second egg. Once the second egg has been fully incorporated stop the mixer and add all of the flour to the bowl. Mix on low until the dough just comes together. Add chips and fold into the dough by hand. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, wrap it up and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Shape cookies and place on a sheet tray. Bake 5-7 minutes, rotating if necessary until golden brown.