Our leadership spotlight goes out to Gabriel this week! His determination and positive attitude have allowed him to accomplish his goals and succeed at Kirkwood. We appreciate all of his hard work and we love having him on the team. Find out more about Gabriel below!

Name: Gabriel Eduardo Salazar-Servent
School/Major: Cesar Ritz Institut Hotelier; Culinary Arts & Hotel Management
Hometown: San Salvador, El Salvador

Why did you start with the company?

I started with Kirkwood because it was an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and see if I could excel at anything else, besides cooking. I was a Chef for well over 10 years, so my domain was a cutting board; a knife; gas-stove-french-stove-top; cast-iron-pans; a screaming Head-Chef; and fellow comrades fighting, cooking, and pushing as hard as me.

I wanted an opportunity to know the other side of my trade – the business. Sales is such a fundamental trade and skill that I longed to understand. It’s the backbone of any successful business as the very word implies. Sales are about people, without people there is no successful business.

What is your favorite part about working with the company?

My favorite part about working with the company would be all of it. The field has it’s particular appeal, the training of new staff, the interviewing of new candidates, the office work (Finance, Accounting, Entrepreneurial teachings), and camaraderie amongst the team. It’s all one big adventure!

If you can travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

Switzerland! The Swiss Alps, it’s great lakes, and heart-warming people make it, not only, a perfect tourist destination, but the best place to live in.

Who is one of your role models?

One of my all-time role models would be Thomas Keller: Head Chef of the critically acclaimed 2* Michelin-Star restaurant – The French Laundry – in Napa Valley, California, and Owner and Founder of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. His way of teachings in life, as much as in the kitchen, are the perfect example of success.

“When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy, that is what
cooking is all about.” -Thomas Keller

What are some of your favorite hobbies? How did you get into these hobbies?

My hobbies are my passions. My obsessions. Food is my hobby. The pursuit for a great dining experience that leaves a memory imprint, strong enough to resonate across my life.

Gabriel giving Ben some cooking tips! #TopChef anyone?


Do you play any sports?

I played rugby for well over nine years. A sport I enjoyed competitively and freely in my own time.

How do you relax after a stressful work week?

A full Spa day. Hard to argue over a 90-minute massage; a club-sandwich; and a vanilla milkshake.

What is your advice for new leaders on the team?

Don’t quit. Hard work is the key to success. The only time ‘success’ comes before ‘work’, is in the dictionary.

What is your favorite book and why?

All the books I read are cookbooks from world-renowned chefs.

What is your favorite quote?

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” -Ghandi

Who is your favorite sports team and why?

The New Zealand, All Blacks. They love to win. And that’s all they do. Win.

Is Gabriel winning at team night? We think so!

Do you have a secret talent?

Unfortunately, no. But I can rock-a-karaoke-mic.

Do you have a favorite color and why?

Green. It takes a warm-color: yellow. and a cold-color: blue; to make green. Depending on either amount, will determine the shade of green.

If you could be any famous person in the world who would you be and why?

Tai Lopez. That dude seems to have it all figured out.