Posts Tagged ‘children’

A Family Affair

Monday, October 10th, 2011

A Family Affair

At the Breakers Palm Beach, Executive Chef Anthony Sicignano has found a new way to extend the resort’s legendary guest services.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

John Buchanan
Executive Chef Anthony Sicignano
Executive Chef Anthony Sicignano

For most guests, finding something delicious to eat is not a problem at most luxury resorts. But for the most discerning eaters – people with food allergies – it can be a challenge.

Not at the Breakers Palm Beach, where Executive Chef Anthony Sicignano and his staff have developed a program for dealing with families with food allergies. The efforts, which began about five years ago, have gained even more momentum in the last two years.

“That means that today, we can accommodate any type of food allergy,” said Sicignano, who oversees nine restaurants.

Key ingredients of the program are items such as a gluten-free pasta. Guests may also bring their own specialty foods, such as rice milk, which are stored in Room Service and provided to the guests as needed. The Breakers has also invested in purpose-specific cooking equipment for specially prepared meals.

When guests book a reservation, they are informed that the program exists and asked whether there are any food allergies that should be addressed. If so, Sicignano’s assistant, Maren Bronkma, contacts the guest and gathers preliminary information before Sicignano follows up personally.

“From there,” said the chef, who joined The Breakers in 1993, “we procure the ingredients so
that we can have them in our kitchens. And by doing that, we are able to accommodate virtually
any guest request.”

For example, he said, a family from Australia arrived a while back with a young child who has food allergies. “They had some very specific dietary requirements,” he said. “So the mother met with me and Maren and she explained the kinds of food the child liked to eat at home.”

Sicignano meticulously adapted the child’s favorite local foods from Australia into a personalized allergy-avoiding menu.

“They came to lunch at our beach club and when they arrived, we presented the child with a copy of the menu,” he said. “It literally brought the father to tears. And we felt great about it.”

Such a level of commitment and service helps enhance the hotel’s long-established reputation, which includes AAA Five Diamond status. But for Sicignano, the issue is more personal.

“You have to understand how important this issue is to families today,” he said. “And 80 percent of our guests with allergies are children.”

The distinction he has created at The Breakers is based on his observations that at many hotels allergy orders in restaurants are viewed as more of a nuisance than a customer service opportunity.

“They really don’t put a human face to the issue,” Sicignano said. “So I’d encourage chefs to get out there in the room and get to know these families, get to know the children. And really create a special experience for them. That’s really what it’s all about in the hospitality business.”

Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast inn

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

The Evolution Of The B and B
Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast inn

* accommodation
* B&B
* bed and breakfast
* inn
* myth
* USA & Canada

The Evolution Of The B and B

When travelers were asked by the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns if they had ever stayed at a bed and breakfast, some of their answers led to the discovery of interesting myths surrounding B&Bs.

B&B decor is limited to lace doilies, paisley wallpaper, antiques, and patchwork quilts
The decor of some inns recall earlier eras, but increasingly, more inns are trending toward clean, sophisticated decor with modern furnishings and amenities. Even many Victorians feature individually decorated rooms to appeal to a variety of tastes.

You have to share a bathroom with other guests
The majority of inns offer private bathrooms. For those that don’t, most have policies of only renting rooms with shared bathrooms to families and couples traveling together to ensure the safety and comfort of guests.

You have to eat breakfast with total strangers and eat whatever the innkeeper prepares that morning
Many inns offers guests a variety of choices for breakfast and pride themselves on accommodating guests with special diets or food allergies. Some offer brunch featuring lots of items.

You have to abide by a curfew set by the innkeeper
Curfews are one of the most common myths. Guests usually are given keys to the main house and guest room doors, providing them with the flexibility to come and go as they please.

B&Bs are only for couples and strictly prohibit children and pets
Many inns offer family units with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and a number of inns offer pet-friendly rooms as well. These pet-friendly inns are also a good resource for pet-friendly restaurants and activities.

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