Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 72

perspectives

interview: peter karpinski
early experiences in the hotel business, I always felt like many of those organizations could do it as well as or better than pure restaurant companies, if they were truly committed to doing so.

HD: Can you give us some insight into your corporate culture?
PK: Our culture is very transparent and inclusive. Everyone respects and understands each other’s talents and weaknesses, and we work together as team to be stronger. We like to have fun, while at the same time, work hard and are committed to excellence. We often say ‘love what you do and love who you do it with,’ and ‘life is not a sprint, it is a marathon.’ The idea of life fulfillment is very important to us. We are very focused on constant innovation, and embrace change. We don’t take things personally, encourage risk taking, and thrive on the processes that lead us to an end-product or goal.

HD: Talk to us about your new concept, Kachina Southwestern Grill, set to open this fall in Westminster, Colorado. The dining room of Departure Restaurant + Lounge in Portland.
opportunity to give West Point a shot. I was in the army for about two years, and cycled out after really struggling there academically and deciding that it just wasn’t the right path for my life. I took a couple years off before transferring to Cornell, spending a winter as a ski bum and waiting tables in Alta, Utah, and a couple years living on the beach in San Diego and working for Evans Hotels. While there, I had my first job in management, first as a room service manager, and then as the executive steward. Three of the best things I have done in my life: attending West Point, leaving West Point, and working as an executive steward. I learned lessons in leadership and experiences that you can’t put a price on. PK: Kachina is a modern Southwestern restaurant; we are calling it ‘Spirited Southwestern Cuisine.’ ‘Kachinas’ are the mythical spirit beings of western Pueblo cosmology, personifying the belief that everything in the universe has an interwoven essence and life force. Our backyard—Denver—is the epicenter of this type of food, and we wanted to do our own spin on how we interpret that. It takes into account the combined influences that this region has seen over time from the Native American Indian tribes, the Spanish missionaries, the European settlers, and the influx of influence from Mexico.

HD: What do you think diners are looking for today?
PK: They want overall great value—awesome food and drinks, a fun and energetic vibe, unique design, personalized service, and an interesting overall experience. I don’t think that has changed too much over the years, except maybe that people are more value-driven today. Consumers are more and more casual, and want really genuine experiences, without any pomp or circumstance. They want more customization and are getting much more comfortable with using technology in relation to their dining experiences. People always want to feel special, recognized, or be made to feel better.

HD: Other lessons learned must have come from working for some of the best in the industry—Four Seasons, Caesars Palace, and Starr Restaurants.
PK: Four Seasons is an all-around best-in-class operator and I encourage any young student out of school to go work for them. They teach the fundamentals of being great as well as any company out there. The size and scope of Caesars was eye-opening to me. I was there during a time of major expansion and was able to work on the teams that developed and opened Bradley Ogden’s, Mesa Grill, and Guy Savoy. At Starr I learned what the down and dirty hard-core independent restaurant world is like. It was a very creative and innovative company, and I think Stephen Starr is a genius in many ways. At all of them, I was taught to be committed to nothing less than excellence in everything you do, that hard work is the only way to get across the finish line, to have a deep passion and love for what you are trying to accomplish, and to always lead by example.

HD: You have worked with a range of designers—from dash design to Skylab Architecture. What is the key to a successful collaboration?
PK: It is kind of like dating or getting married. You have to really click and have a certain chemistry with each other. And, like dating, it isn’t always the right fit and doesn’t work out. That is OK. What is important is making the effort to find, nurture, and build that relationship. And like any relationship, it takes energy and commitment from both sides, over a considerable amount of time. Many times there isn’t a real right or wrong, and finding that sweet spot in the gray areas is what will set you apart. I have always found that if you keep working at something that just doesn’t feel right yet in your gut, and pushing and pulling each other, you always end up at a certain ‘a-ha’ moment, and land in a really great place. Healthy, honest, transparent, and frequent communication is key. Hear Karpinski live at HD Boutique in Miami, September 11th at 3:00 p.m.

HD: So how did Sage Restaurant Group come about?
PK: In 2005 I was trying to find a hotel company that was interested in taking the risk to do what most hotels had been struggling with for so long—having really great independent community-focused restaurants while at the same time really understanding and taking care of the F&B needs for the rest of the hotel operations. I met the founders and partners of Sage Hospitality, who had the vision and appetite to do that within their business, and we formed a partnership. Stemming from my

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - August 2012

Hospitality Design - August 2012
Contents
Online Contents
From the Editor
From the Show Director
People
Sketchbook
Trends
Competition
Interviews
Jason Wu
Kenneth Cobonpue
HD Boutique Preview
Lighting
Seating
Mirrors
Design-Driven Chefs
Tori Tori
Inbi
Brio
Churrascos
Balena
Back Space
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Intro
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Hospitality Design - August 2012
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Cover2
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 1
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 2
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 3
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 4
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 5
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 6
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 7
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 8
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 9
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 10
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 11
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 12
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 13
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 14
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 15
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 16
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 17
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 18
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Contents
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 20
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 21
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 22
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 23
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 24
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 25
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 26
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Online Contents
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 28
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 29
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - From the Editor
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 31
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - From the Show Director
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 33
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 34
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 35
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - People
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 37
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 38
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 39
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 40
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 41
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 42
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Sketchbook
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 44
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 45
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 46
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 47
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 48
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 49
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 50
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 51
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 52
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 53
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 54
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 55
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 56
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Trends
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 58
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 59
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 60
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 61
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 62
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 63
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 64
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 65
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 66
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Competition
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 68
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 69
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 70
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Interviews
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 72
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 73
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 74
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 75
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 76
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 77
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 78
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 79
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 80
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 81
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 82
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 83
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 84
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Jason Wu
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 86
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Kenneth Cobonpue
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - HD Boutique Preview
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 89
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 90
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 91
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 92
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Lighting
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 94
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 95
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 96
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Seating
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 98
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 99
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 100
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Mirrors
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 102
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Design-Driven Chefs
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 104
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 105
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 106
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 107
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 108
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 109
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Tori Tori
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 111
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 112
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 113
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 114
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 115
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Inbi
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 117
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 118
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 119
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Brio
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 121
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 122
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 123
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Churrascos
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 125
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 126
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 127
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Balena
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 129
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 130
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 131
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 132
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 133
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 134
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - 135
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Back Space
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Cover3
Hospitality Design - August 2012 - Cover4
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