We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristel Arabian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristel, what do you attribute your success to?
I think the most important factor behind my brand and company is authenticity. There isn’t a larger “strategy” or master plan behind Kitchen Culture; we don’t have consultants in our back pocket with a “vision” for us. It’s just a lot of passion, hard-work and care. We love the hospitality industry, we love linking people up together and we love helping people + companies reach their goals! Authenticity makes things simple; we just do what comes naturally. We aren’t out there chasing a certain type of client to “make a splash” or “hit numbers”. Things develop organically and that way we work with like-minded operators… which we enjoy.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Kitchen Culture Recruiting is a national, high-touch boutique hospitality recruiting firm. We find full-time, salaried candidates in the food and hospitality realm. This includes Back of House (Chefs), Front of House (General Managers, Sommeliers, Bar Managers etc), Corporate/C Suite roles (Director of Operations, Corporate Chefs, COO etc) and much more. We also offer full-time Private Chef recruiting services along with consulting services for hospitality operations. I started Kitchen Culture because I wanted a small, well-run operation where I could do my best work. Some agencies have recruiters hit “numbers” or hold placement “closing” contests. I instead wanted a satisfaction based environment to work in. Satisfaction in the work for myself/staff and in the outcome for my clients. That would be how we measure our success. So I set out on my path to build that! I also didn’t see many female-owned hospitality recruiting companies out there, none with former female chefs at their helm, so I wanted to get THOSE numbers up 😉
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles is an amazing city. So much to do! After years of living in Venice, I’m now based out of Melrose/Fairfax district. Food would include dinner at Ronan on Melrose. A visit to the Sunday Hollywood Farmer’s Market to buy ingredients and cook/eat lunch on my sunny balcony. Definitely take a drive to Leo’s Tacos on La Brea for late night Al Pastor. I would ALWAYS do the “Hollywood Feast” at Carousel in Hollywood. Noodles at Saap Coffee House. Also sometimes like an impromptu pop in at Mozza for a drink, a pasta and dessert at the mozzarella bar. For drinks, I think I’d take her to The Dresden. Not a huge fan of clubs or bars, so it would have to be something with entertainment and history like that gem of an operation! Since it’s a whole week, I would take an overnight trip to the desert, which is my home away from home in California. Visit Joshua Tree national park, shop and get coffee at Old Town Yucca, grab a bite at La Copine, see some art and maybe catch a show if there’s one in town. Then just enjoy the stars at night and ride back into LA refreshed!!! We’d also spend some good time in nature… hiking in LA is a real thing and everyone has their favorites. We would also HAVE to take a drive up the coast to spend some time at/near the beach.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to send a shout out to everyone I worked with in the restaurant community during my early formative years. Namely, the first Chef who took a giant chance on hiring me. Ernie Moreno. I had no experience in professional kitchens, no formal training and a limited schedule since I was still finishing up college. He took a huge risk, hired and trained me… and I am forever grateful. Also, the whole crew at Joe’s Restaurant on Abbot Kinney, circa 2000’s, who became family for years to come. SO amazing to see us all spread out throughout the food world, doing our thing. Last but not least, my family. I’m especially grateful for my Dad who is the source of my strength, always. My Mom, who first hooked me on delicious food. And of course, my loving and badass sisters who inspire me to be me.
Instagram: @Kriskracks @KitchenCultureRecruiting @CAHospitalityCoalition