Karina Iglesias: Co-Owner, Niu Kitchen

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Karina Iglesias was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is been linked to the gastronomic business for over 25 years. She was part of the mythic group Morocco in Madrid and Buenos Aires. In 1998, Iglesias settled down in Miami where she worked only and exclusively on the restaurant business. Karina worked for Mark Soyka for a period of 8 years until she started collaborating with New Orleans born and James Beard award nominee chef Kriss Wessel in his restaurant. A very original spot by the little river called Red Light. During 2013 she started developing her project Niu Kitchen with her partners Adam Hughes and Deme Lomas, also James Beard award nominee. Niu Kitchen open its doors in May 2014, a Catalan inspired small restaurant in the heart of downtown Miami where guests can try Lomas’s creative cuisine and enjoy a casual and relaxed environment created by Iglesias.

In 2016, again with her partners, she started working on her last project ARSON. Few doors down from Niu Kitchen. Arson is a brasserie where the star of the show is the Josper oven. Karina is a pioneer in creating a culinary destination of Downtown Miami. This part of town is also where she lives with her daughter Lola and her pets Nico and Seven.

How did you get into the industry?                    

As a teenager still in school I got into the industry because I saw it as a opportunity to meet new and interesting people and earn money at the same time.

Any emerging Industry trends?

Recently I have noticed a lot of restaurant  having natural wines on their wine list.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

At the moment I am not looking for any new opportunities but I always challenge myself to be bolder.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the business?

The inspiration behind our businesses are simple: focus on having good product and inspire our guests to try new things

What’s next for the business in the near future?

At the moment we are concentrating on opening our sister restaurant Arson for lunch.  As a wine director I am working towards creating a more exiting wine list.

Your key initiatives for the success of the business?

I was was very lucky to have found my two partners Deme Lomas and Adam Hughes, I truly believe that Niu Kitchen and Arson would not be the same if we would not have found each other

Your most difficult moment at the business ?

I would say that the beginning was the most difficult for me. it is very stressful no to be certain, you never know if people will like the result of your project.

Ideal experience for costumer/client?

I want the costumer to walk in to eat eat dinner, try something new and to leave that night feeling happy because they learned something that they can pass along to others.

How do you motivate others?

I always tell my employees to work like they own the restaurant. Nothing makes me happier than a customer asking whether one of the  servers is the owner, to me this means that they are doing something right. I am also not fond of uniforms, I think that uniforms tend to depersonalize people. I prefer to let my employees be themselves, I think it just gives people better vibes.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Be humble. Pay close attention to what your costumers want and keep learning. Learning is the key to innovation