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Keaton HopKins, Executive Chef/President - Cucina39
Company website: www.cucina39.com
Company focus: We are a traditional regional Italian cuisine
product that caters to grocery stores, delis, and hotels.
Latest accomplishment: Recently our all natural gluten free
sauce was featured in the Washington Post.
Favorite quote: The only way to know how a customer sees
How you celebrate success: I spend time with family and
friends.
your business in to look through their eyes.
What’s “next” for your business? Grow. We are getting
Best business advice received: Manage your expenses.
ready to introduce a new product, traditional lasagna. All the Best business book: Winning by Jack Weltch
details of this dish are prepared in the traditional Italian fash-
Proudest moment: Getting the opportunity to go to the
ion.
school of regional Italian cuisines in Italy and being able to
Company you most admire and why: Bare Naked. They are
come home and use what I have learned.
a granola company based out of CT. These two young peo-
ple wanted a healthy snack, worked really hard and created a
Childhood ambition: To be a celebrity chef.
product and company because of something they love. That First paying job: I was a line cook.
really inspires me.
How did you break into the industry? I told the owner of a
Most important characteristic for a CEO: Being a leader,
McLean restaurant my culinary dream, he gave me a job and
staying focused everyday, teaching your philosophies and
I worked my way up to where I am today.
helping everyone grow and work as a team.
Favorite hobby: Golf
You’re inspired by: Positive feedback. “It tastes too good
to be out of the jar”. That inspires me to make our business
Tech gizmo you can’t live without: Blackberry
stronger. Favorite place to conduct business: In the kitchen!
Biggest challenge: In this weak economy, convincing stores Favorite DC area restaurant: I Ricchi’s. It reminds me of the
to take our products and put it on their shelves.
food I ate in Italy.
One “lesson” learned: You recognize your strengths and
Favorite vacation spot: Charleston SC
weaknesses, it is important to find people that strengthen
both. Surrounding yourself with those people will help you
Where would you most like to visit? Italy
succeed. If you could drive any car… 2009 BMW 328 IL
40 ThinkBusiness April 2009 41
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