Humans of Corner Kitchen is a continuing blog piece each month featuring an outstanding member of our staff.
Rene Teran – Manager
How long have you worked for Corner Kitchen? 6 months
What is your favorite dish at Corner Kitchen? The pork belly Bahn Mi at lunch is a great example of how we do a take on a classic cultural dish and make it something that’s more approachable. Its got layers of flavor and texture to it.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? I’m looking forward to seeing the Grand Canyon this spring and have plans to see some of the other national parks in this beautiful country. I’ve traveled abroad quite a bit and have come to appreciate the natural wonders of the world more than the cultural. That being said, I do love being a food tourist, so India is at the top of that list.
What life lessons have you learned from working in the service industry? I’ve worked virtually every position in a restaurant and appreciate how crucial every position is to its success. Often, a person’s job or position can influence the way they are perceived by the world – as though the job they hold is one of the greatest indicators of who they are. I’ve found that particularly in the service industry, people come from all walks and stages in their lives and you’d be surprised to hear how incredibly varied their stories are. I’ve worked with a dishwasher, who was a surgeon that emigrated here as a refugee and just needed to provide for his family while trying to sort out his life; a server with a degree in chemical engineering, and a general manager who was just 18 years old and never went to high school. You never know who a person really is, until you’re willing to have a real conversation with them and we too often make preconceived notions about people based on superficial factors. Its that kind of mindset that has led our country to be as polarized as it is today. I’ve always said, that I wish everyone had to work in the service industry for at least one year of their life and it would be a real eye-opening experience.
What has your most memorable experience with a guest been? I came into work early one day, during the short period when we are closed from 3-5pm. A guest came in while we were closed and was just visiting the village by herself for the day. She wasn’t familiar with Biltmore Village at all and was a bit flustered and hungry. So I decided to walk with her down the street to another restaurant that was open. When we arrived at The Cantina, she decided that she preferred something else and we just ended up walking around the village for a while and talking. It was a beautiful fall day and it was nice to take a moment and enjoy the village through someone else’s eyes.
A story about a favorite regular… I never had the pleasure of meeting one of our long-time regulars who had passed away before I started working here. The staff still speaks fondly of him and we have his picture hanging on the wall. Well, it was his birthday and his good friend and also long-time regular decided to come in and order his favorite drink in memorial of him. So we set his picture up on the bar at his favorite seat, with his favorite drink in front of it. His friend stayed and had dinner and shared some great stories about him with me. Ever since then, every time he comes in, it feels like a personal friend is here. He’s a no fuss kinda guy, usually just comes in by himself and has a seat at the bar. He doesn’t expect any special treatment or interaction, just some good genuine conversation, and service. To me, that’s the essence of this whole place.