VRS069 – What’s Cooking at Your Vacation Rental with Rachel Miller

Rachel Miller is a food writer, chef and cheese lover who joined me to talk about her experiences of being a vacation rental guest who loves to cook.

I came across Rachel after she wrote a piece for the Phoenix New Times called Tips and Hacks for Baking in Your Vacation Rental. Needless to say I was curious to find out what it was like for a real live ‘foodie’ to stay at a vacation home.

Rachel talks about her experiences and shares a lot of great information that we can take and put immediately into action.

tweetTweet: Perfect tips from @PistolWhippedP @cottageguru How to stock your #VacationRental kitchen http://ctt.ec/96YB8+

Who knew that restaurant supply stores would be a great source of more durable and more economic cutting boards, or baking trays?

What about buying your next knives from a specialty knife store?

Or ordering herbs and spices in bulk from a wholesaler?

In this episode Rachel shares:

  • Her views on being a vacation rental guest
  • The equipment every vacation home should have
  • The specific small appliance that needs to be in any kitchen labeled as ‘gourmet’.
  • Why getting a kitchen inventory is helpful
  • Why attention to detail is so important
  • The items she would like to see in a herb and spice collection
  • What she would include in her own vacation home
  • The importance of a sharp knife
  • Why restaurant suppliers are a great resource for kitchen equipment

Links in this episode:

Tips & Hacks for Baking in our Vacation Rental Phoenix New Times

Croissant in the City (Rachel’s blog)

Uplands Cheese

Pistol Whipped Pastry

Abalone Bay Sea Ranch


Where you can find Rachel:









Donna Martinez

Thanks for the shout out Heather! What a fabulous list Rachel- thanks for putting that together- it’s a great help! And we now have a microplane because of your earlier post in the Phoenix New Times Rachel.

Rachel- what is your feeling about the new silicon pads/sheets in place of parchment paper and/or wax paper?

Enjoyed your comments about cheese too. I learned how to make my own cottage cheese when living in La Guaijira Colombia so we could have it as a substitute for ricotta (neither of which were available in this outback area).

Rachel… We’d love to have you at our Abalone Bay vacation rental in Sea Ranch, CA-let’s talk! http://www.searanchabalonebay.com

Amy Blomquist

Really enjoyed this podcast! I’m always on a lookout for more things to add. I don’t have a digital scale or parchment paper – so plan to add those on my list! We currently have very hard well water (yes, we have a water softener – to no avail. LOL!) and I would love to have better quality knives. I supply medium brand knives that I sharpen on a continual bases, also I supply a knife sharpener in the drawer for guests but would love to offer more high grade knives. My problem is that guests put the knives in the dishwasher and they rust instantly because of our water. Even if I have a note saying, “Please don’t put in dishwasher” they will put them in anyways (I don’t blame them – they are on vacation). Any suggestions on how I can upgrade my knives without hurting my bank account or demanding my guests to a bunch of rules?


Thanks, Donna! I love the new silicon pads, however not everyone knows how to use them, care for them, and that they are not cut proof! I think the parchment may be a more inexpensive means in the long run, just due to someone accidentally cutting through it, rendering it useless or for smaller sheet pans, causing you to spend another $20 on a replacement. Just my two cents.

Would love to visit Abalone Bay at some point and talk cheese with you! Thanks so much for your original comment and for this.


Thanks, Amy! Have you thought of offering it as a complimentary upgrade, should they want it? Something like “We offer a complimentary gourmet knife upgrade upon request. Please inquire when you register.” That way it makes them feel like they are getting something extra, while at the same time, make them feel like you are entrusting them with something valuable too. Plus, not every person will want the nicer knives, but those who do will ask for them, giving you an opportunity to stress how to care for them.

Have the knives in a nice box or block with the “gourmet knife upgrade” instructions (very simple – NO DISHWASHER!!! lol) attached. It calls a little more attention to the knives, which will hopefully register in the guests mind as “wow!” and will make them want to give more care, since you have called them out as being something special, instead of just having them there.

I don’t know if this is a viable option or not, but may work. I would also approach a small knife shop and ask their thoughts. See if they have any durable products that may work in this situation. There are always new products coming out, and they very well may have something that would work for you in this situation.
Thanks so much for your comments! Best of luck!

Heather Bayer

That’s an amazing idea Rachel. Offer higher quality, for no extra cost, without the need for harsh rules or being too overbearing. Genius!

Amy Blomquist

Thanks for the suggestions, Rachel! I really appreciate it. I like both of your ideas. I haven’t been to a knife shop to ask about hard water stains. I bet I’m not the only one with this problem and like you said new products are coming out all the time or at least they’re working on it! Thanks again!

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