Getting to Know Your Innkeeper: Monika Sudakov
We thought it would be fun to do a couple of blog posts introducing our two innkeepers. Many people are afraid to stay at a bed and breakfast because they don’t like the idea of staying with strangers. Well, how about if you are introduced to the innkeepers in advance?! Here is your opportunity to get to know us before you stay with us. We polled previous guests and asked them what they would ask us if they were staying with us for the first time and these were some of the questions that came up. We also threw a couple of others in there just for fun. So without further ado, meet your chef and innkeeper, Monika Sudakov.
1) Where are you from? I was born and raised in Southern California, moved to Las Vegas for 5 years after we got married to pursue my Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and then we moved here in 2005.
2) How did you end up in Sheffield? Well, we always ask if you want the true story or the fake story. The fake story goes that we threw a dart at the map and it landed in Sheffield. The true story is that we were looking for bnb’s all over the country and this one popped up for sale at the right time, in the right price bracket, with all the right qualifications. We were willing to go anywhere and this seemed like the perfect fit. After 10 years here we are so glad we picked Sheffield. Only a couple of hours from Chicago which is a great city to be near.
3) Didn’t you have culture shock when you came to such a small town from California? Well, we got here on a Tuesday in February and had our first guests that following Friday. Seemingly in the blink of an eye we had been here for a year and now for 10. We didn’t really have time for culture shock. Besides, we love that it’s quiet and there is no traffic. Coming from California that’s the thing we miss least.
4) What did you do before becoming an innkeeper? Well, I was a ballet dancer for about 14 years. My first job was in parades at Disneyland when I was 16. I worked there for 3 years and did every short part you can think of from Mickey and Minnie to Dopey and Pinocchio. After that we moved to Vegas where I worked for a company called Allstate Ticketing. I started off in concierge services selling show tickets and tours around town, then moved into box office management, database management and finally ended up the call center manager of the whole company. Once we decided to pursue our bed and breakfast dream we moved back to CA briefly where I worked waiting tables, first at a California Pizza Kitchen and then in the lounge at the Four Seasons Resort in Newport Beach.
5) Did you go to culinary school? No. I’m a self taught chef. My interest in food is two fold. First, my husband’s idea of dating involved taking me to a different ethnic restaurant every time we went out. I grew up in a Hungarian family that ate mostly Hungarian food cooked by my grandmother so I was pretty sheltered when it came to food. Jeff expanded my horizons greatly and created quite a monster. Now I’m more adventuresome in food than he is. The second aspect of my interest in food stems from my degree in anthropology. I was particularly interested in the dynamic between food and culture and actually wrote my Master’s Thesis on the Ritual of Mint Tea Consumption in Morocco. Since opening the Chestnut Street Inn in 2005, I have completed a program through the International Association of Culinary Professionals to become a Certified Culinary Professional and am currently working on a similar certification through the American Culinary Federation.
6) What is it like working with your spouse? How is it that you haven’t killed each other yet? Ha!!! Well, it isn’t always easy, but I will tell you that we very rarely argue. We are best friends and truly enjoy each other’s company. And this is actually not our first job together. We worked together while we dated and at the same company in Vegas while we lived there. The other secret is to delineate work/home time. Since we work from home it’s important to set aside time where we don’t talk shop and do what we like. We also make sure we allow each other some “me” time. For Jeff that’s usually golf and for me that’s usually sitting at my computer on You Tube watching Celine Dion videos. We also have been very good about making sure we each have our duties outlined. Jeff does all the laundry, ironing and linens (mostly because I dye everything pink and shrink everything). He also does most of the dusting, vacuuming and bed making. I’m in charge of food, bathrooms, marketing, accounting, social media and bills. It keeps us out of each other’s hair. That’s not to say we don’t consult with one another, but we know what our duties are, get them done and then there is no argument.
7) Speaking of hobbies, what do you like to do in your off time? I enjoy working out and do so almost every day. I also am a HUGE Celine Dion fan and spend a lot of my down time listening to her music, watching interviews and reading about her. We are both movie buffs and enjoy watching movies and going out for dinner when we can get away from the inn. Additionally I love to read, although I keep my reading to mostly non-fiction and food related. And I am fond of social media. I do enjoy connecting with friends and family through the various platforms.
8) How do you stay thin when you have to cook and taste all your food all the time? Well, that’s a tough one and one I have juggled a lot over the years. I do work out, but I’m also very good about not eating everything I make. I taste it, but when it comes to a meal I generally eat really healthy. No carbs/white starches, very little sugar and limit my dairy to mostly goat. That being said, I do enjoy eating out so when we are out, I’ll eat whatever I feel like. Life’s too short not to have fun.
9) Do you have children? Nope. Not in the cards. But we do have a huge feline named Couscous who is our furrbaby/boss of us.
10) Do you ever take time off? Sure we do. We are pretty good about scheduling time off in advance so that we have at least a short getaway every quarter. Then we try to take a longer break in the winter when things are slower to either visit friends or family somewhere warmer.