BY SUSAN WENZEL
Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
February 19, 2014
The cozy kitchen, warmed with the enchanting scent of rosemary, offered a welcome respite from the bleak Pacific Northwest day. The sunny greeting offered by Scott and Stephanie Pendell, owners and operators of The Midnight Kitchen, conjured away the last bits of the cold and gray.
The pair, who started their business in 2007, was hard at work creating hundreds of their bewitching Turner and Bea’s Rosemary Crackers. Each of the savory crisps is rolled to the perfect thickness in a hand-cranked pasta maker—one by one—ensuring no two will ever look exactly the same. However, a dusting of fresh rosemary and a pinch of sea salt guarantee each to be equally as scrumptious whether eaten naked or adorned with any array of tasty toppings.
“And nothing smells as good as a giant pile of these crackers,” said Scott, of the huge batch cooling on the counter and the nearby bins filled to the brim with the crunchy goodies. “I usually bake in the morning and go in to eat lunch. When I come back, they still smell great.”
Once upon a time they were only offered as part of The Midnight Kitchen’s extensive gourmet catering menu. As the story goes, Beth Kuchynka, owner and head gastronome at bayleaf in Coupeville, was the fairy godmother who finally persuaded the Pendells to sell Turner and Bea’s Rosemary Crackers at select Whidbey Island food retailers. Since then, the Pendells have cranked out countless hearty crackers in an effort to match the supply with the ever-growing demand.
But, why “Turner and Bea’s,” one might wonder.
“Those are our kids’ names,” said Stephanie. “We liked the sound of it and the name seemed perfect.”
With the rosemary flavor garnering such rave reviews, it would seem only natural for other types of crackers or goodies to follow suit.
“Maybe, eventually, we will offer additional items,” said Stephanie. “But for now, catering takes up most of our time.”
The Pendells schedule between 40 and 50 events every year. They welcome occasions of any kind—weddings, retirement parties, baby showers, birthdays, store and gallery openings and more for parties of typically twenty people and up. They recommend potential clients contact them six months to a year before the event to ensure snaring that perfect date and time.
“We can cater every type of event,” said Scott. “And we are a full-service caterer. We do it all for our customers. People get nervous when they need to hire a caterer. Our goal is to make it easy for them so they can relax and enjoy the party.”
“We handle everything from arranging the rentals to hiring the wait staff to designing a custom menu including all of the food and desserts,” he continued.
The Pendells, both classically trained chefs, can accommodate any taste or preference. Salmon is the hands-down most popular main course, but there are countless other crowd-pleasing favorites.
“The crab macaroni and cheese is so delicious,” said Stephanie. “People love that dish. I love that dish!”
“I like the chicken with leek confit,” said Scott.
“Except for cleaning the leeks,” he added. “I absolutely hate cleaning leeks.”
Which dish—salmon, crab or chicken—is best may be a matter of opinion, but the Pendells guarantee all of their food is of exceptional quality. They select only the freshest and finest ingredients available, most sourced from the freshest and finest Whidbey Island growers. Willowood Farms, Three Sisters Family Farms, Little Brown Farm, Penn Cove Shellfish and Blackberry Moon Farm are but a few of their preferred local suppliers.
Whether you are looking for a bag of rosemary crackers for a midnight snack or a banquet of fairytale proportions for your next enchanted evening, visit The Midnight Kitchen website or call 360-321-2796.
Turner & Bea’s Rosemary Crackers are available at bayleaf, 101 NW Coveland St., Coupeville, Three Sisters Family Farms and Market at 779 Holbrook Rd., Coupeville and seasonally at Little Brown Farm at 1377 Barr Rd. in Freeland.
Photo at the top: Scott and Stephanie Pendell in front of their “Midnight Kitchen.” (photo by Susan Wenzel)
Susan Wenzel, food writer, believes in the power of locally produced food to fortify the health and wellbeing of both the individual and the community as a whole.
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