The “Very Early” Years

I am honored to be writing for Jennifer’s inaugural guest blog.  I am the “big sis” and could not be prouder of how Jennifer has paved her own pathway to success in the hospitality world.

 Keany age 6

Keany age 6


First, though—I do not call her Jennifer, Jen, Perna—anything even related to her birth certificate.  She’s “Keany” to me.  She would prance around in little colorful bikinis as a young girl and “Keany-bikini” stuck.  I dropped the bikini part, but she is still Keany.

Second—her hospitality career.  It started way before what you can read on this great website.  Let’s go back to the mid-70’s, when she was about 6 years old.  Many weekends throughout the year, she would be the first one awake, and she would head to the kitchen.  We would be upstairs hearing cupboards, drawers, the refrigerator opening, and she would be busy.  She would call us down to dine at “Jennifer’s Place”.  She had a menu all written up.  Just one—so we would have to pass it around.  She even had a logo under the “Jennifer’s Place” part—it was a steaming hot bowl of something—probably oatmeal—with a spoon in the bowl and four puffs of steam.  Listed were the items available for breakfast.  Cereal 50₡, toast 25₡, butter or jam was an extra 5₡, juice 25₡, etc.  We would sit at the table and place our order—yes, she worked as server too—then she would go back to the kitchen.  Orders were prepared, one at a time, until everyone was served.


We ate and that was it.  Her service was over—guests were responsible for clearing their own dishes and cleaning up!  She was six—she was not doing everything.

So in summary—food, presentation and serving her guests has been her passion since well before her formal education and career began.  My best to Keany and to all those she serves—Jill McPhee