Huntington-native Paul Runnels takes the helm as executive chef
At the young age of 14, Chef Paul Runnels knew he belonged in a kitchen.
He applied for a job at the Huntington Country Club, where he was hired to wash dishes. But he found he just couldn’t do that. He had too many questions. He wanted to know more.
“On my first day, I asked the chef what he was doing, and he said he was carving fruits and vegetables for trays,” Runnels recalled. “I told him I could do that, and he said ‘yeah, right.’ He found out really quick that I could.”
From his first job in his hometown of Huntington, W.Va., Runnells set his sights on becoming a chef, and from there, he hasn’t looked back. His path has taken him from the Culinary Institute of America to several high-profile chef positions and back close to home at Berea’s Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant, where he recently was hired as Executive Chef.
Berea College is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review, the education services company that just published the 2019 edition of its Guide to Green Colleges.
Known as a leader in turning the Bluegrass state “green,” Berea College is one of 413 schools profiled in the new guide.
The guide is based on a survey the company conducted in 2018–19 of administrators at hundreds of four-year colleges about their institutions’ commitments to the environment and sustainability. The guide states, “Berea College is a model for sustainability in higher education for the Appalachian region and beyond.”
Berea College and Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant each were featured in recent issues of Hyde Park Living, a lifestyles publication based in the metro-Cincinnati area. Given Berea’s close proximity, many Cincinnati residents find Berea an enjoyable destination for day trips and weekend visits. Laura Hobson, a writer for Hyde Park Living, visited the College and the City of Berea for her three-part article series, which not only describe historic and contemporary features, but also include connections to Cincinnati. Several of the College’s buildings were designed by Cincinnati-based architects, and students, such as Gerald Thomas, a junior majoring in technology and applied science came to Berea from Cincinnati. Read part two of the article, featuring Berea College, and part three of the article, featuring Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant.
Historic Boone Tavern Hotel—long-known throughout the U.S. for serving up gracious hospitality—has gained international attention following a review by the London Telegraph. In a recent article loaded with photos, the landmark hotel, owned by Berea College, gets high mark for style, character, dining, value and service. The Telegraph article calls Boone Tavern “a great advertisement” for the College, “which is an attraction in its own right,” and notes that “with students providing many of the hotel staff, there is an energetic and eager-to-please style to most of the service aspects, with plenty of Southern-influenced hospitality.” Continue reading Boone Tavern Earns High Marks from Great Britain’s Telegraph →
Berea’s Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant is one of three well-known historic Kentucky inns that will be featured on KET-TV, beginning this Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 12:30 P.M. ET. Amy Hess, host of “The Local Traveler” program, will also focus on the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg and The Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown. Continue reading Boone Tavern to be Featured on KET-TV →
Travelers have ranked Berea’s historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant as sixth in the top ten Eco-Friendly Hotel in America. USA TODAY just concluded a four-week travel award contest during which voters named vote for their choice among 20 U.S. hotels that have gone above and beyond to promote environmental sustainability. Continue reading Boone Tavern Ranked #6 in US Top Ten Eco-Friendly Hotels →
Berea’s historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant is a contender as the Best Eco-Friendly Hotel in a travel award contest conducted by USA TODAY. A panel of experts selected Boone Tavern as a nominee in the latest 10 Best Readers’ Choice award. The contest, which is being promoted by USA TODAY, gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice among 20 U.S. hotels that have gone above and beyond to promote environmental sustainability. All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the 10Best.com website. Voters can choose Boone Tavern at: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-eco-friendly-hotel/ Continue reading Vote Now, and Every Day, for Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant →
The Historic Boone Tavern Hotel has been awarded recognition by Southern Living magazine as “One of The South’s Best Hotels and Inns.” The honor is part of the magazine’s annual “Best of the South Travel Awards” that cites top destinations for lodging, dining and other travel-related entertainment across the South. Continue reading Southern Living Magazine Names Boone Tavern as One of the Best Hotels in the South →
Boone Tavern and Berea College recently welcomed Didiayer Snyder, host of the At Home With Didiayer, on the Hallmark network. She came to Berea to film segments for a “Destination Kentucky” program for season two of At Home With Didiayer: The Travel Edition. She and her crew filmed spoonbread being made at Boone Tavern Hotel, interviews with President and Mrs. Roelofs as they described the College’s mission and the Hotel’s connection to the College. They also filmed staff and students at the Log House Craft Gallery, Weaving, Woodcraft and Broomcraft. The program is scheduled for broadcast in 2017.
Boone Tavern, the historic hotel owned by Berea College, has been nominated for the Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence as Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel in the category for hotels with less than 75 guest rooms. Boone Tavern’s Dining Room also has been nominated as Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel. The Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence recognize and celebrate the finest historic hotels and hoteliers across the nation. Continue reading Boone Tavern Nominated for “Best” in Historic Hotels of America Awards →
The Berea College Board of Trustees has authorized the college administration to move forward with an application for a “Qualified Historic Site License” that would permit the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink at historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant. After the Board of Trustees carefully considered the action for more than a year, the final decision took place during the board meeting on February 21 and 22, and followed an extensive process in which the college’s administration received input and opinions from faculty, staff, students, local officials, community leaders and citizens on the subject. We did not choose to survey our complete alumni community, because we do not have a means of doing that systematically, but we do have quite a number of alumni who are faculty and staff at the College. Those alumni who are employed by the College responded to the survey with the same level of support for moving forward with alcohol sales at Boone Tavern, as non-alumni who work at the College. The survey showed strong overall support for moving forward, but of course not unanimity, because this is an issue on which reasonable people do not find ready agreement. Continue reading Berea College to Move Forward with “Qualified Historic Site License” for Boone Tavern →
On April 24, the economics and business program hosted the 16th Annual Alfred & Shirley Wampler Caudill Luncheon at historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant. Continue reading Economics and Business Program Hosts 16th Annual Caudill Luncheon →
The Berea College Board of Trustees has authorized the college administration to move forward with an application for a “Qualified Historic Site License” that would permit the sale of alcoholic beverages by the drink at historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant. This action took place during the board meeting on February 21 and 22, and follows an extensive process in which the college’s administration received input and opinions from faculty, staff, students, community leaders and citizens on the subject. Continue reading Board of Trustees Decision on Boone Tavern →