Keeping Your Balance with Kristel Arabian

Photo by Mark Margossian 

Photo by Mark Margossian 

Meet Kristel. Kristel Arabian is the founder of Kitchen Culture Recruiting, a national hospitality recruiting firm and co-founder of WaltzIn, a restaurant software company that gives diners access to the "insider's restaurant experience" and a seat at the chef's table. Before diving into life as a two-time entrepreneur, Kristel established a name for herself as a Michelen Star restaurant chef. 


Why do you do what you do?

I love the hospitality industry. It is a very tough business full of amazing, passionate individuals who are full of creativity, youth & fire. Both of my companies allow me to be helpful to the hospitality industry's best operators and to give them a competitive edge. It is very gratifying to be involved in this way after giving up my career as a chef.

What is one thing you hope never changes?

I hope the current drive for change and the movement striving to attain equality for all people stays alive and strong. It has brought about a sense of camaraderie and community I think is beautiful. 

Let's keep it going!

When do you feel most alive?

 I feel most alive when a recruiting match I've made is starting to blossom into a great working relationship. It's sort of like falling in love - you have the inkling that "this is going to be good" when you introduce candidate to operator, you feel the chemistry that exists between them, you hear the stories but you're not quite sure how it'll pan out... and then BAM! It's a match and they walk into the sunset together!!! 

What's even better is visiting your beloved eatery and witnessing the successes they've forged together. Seeing first-hand how the General Manager you placed made it so the dining room floor is humming with warmth and synergy. Or to taste the delicious new menu item your Chef has put on the menu. There's nothing like it!

What are you really good at, but kind of embarrassed that you're so good at it?

Shhh don't tell anyone!

I'm REALLY good at keeping things streamlined and organized. I'll employ any tactics necessary - color coding, labeling, notecards, spreadsheets, time tables. It's geeky in and of itself but the degree to which I enjoy doing it pushes it over to a whole new level.

What's the hardest lesson you've had to learn?

The hardest lesson I've had to learn is that not everyone is going to have the same strong morals and values as I do. I think my familial and professional upbringing (because restaurants ARE like families) taught me to always be honest, do the right thing and work hard. 

Experience has taught me that many won't always operate this way; only when it's convenient to do so will they uphold these standards. Many will conduct business with an "at any cost" type of attitude. 

I know some will say that my stance isn't always feasible for all businesses; and they are absolutely correct! That is why I will always control the size, volume and direction of my businesses... so that I am able to uphold my best standards within them.

What's the title of the current chapter of your life?

"How to Keep Your Balance". 

The chapter prior to it was called "How to Find Your Balance"!

Be sure to follow Kristel on Instagram

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