Taking the Middle Seat next to Dustin Cornett at the Chocolat Inn and Cafe

On Episode 30, I talk to Dustin Cornett. He and his wife Mai own the Chocolat Inn and Cafe (Facebook and Instagram) in Beattyville, KY a small town in Eastern Kentucky (census stats). My family and I visited our extended family in Booneville, KY this past summer and decided to stay at Dustin and Mai’s inn (in the East and West Berlin rooms). I talk honestly in our interview about my assumptions and stereotypes before I went there. And Dustin talks about how he didn’t feel like he fit into the area even when he was growing up there. Dustin and Mai have been around the world and he talks about what brought them back to Beattyville. One of my favorite parts of Beattyville is the Woolly Worm Festival. I love a kooky festival!

Dustin talks about some of the natural gems around the Inn like the Red River Gorge and Daniel Boone National Forest with the Natural Bridge. If you’re into rock climbing or hiking, you absolutely need to visit! There is a really yummy restaurant there called Red River Rockhouse. The fries were legit. He also talks about being in Palau and how that experience made him view his home differently. He also mentions his wife’s home town of Osaka.

Our conversation really highlighted for me how we have become such a divided country. Whether those divides are geographical, technological, racial, political, or ideological they are divides we must work on. And I would argue, this can really only be done by listening, remembering that everything is nuanced, every person’s experience matters, and by taking the middle seat.

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