the creators of carina lounge
Michael Waters "Partner | Chef"
Michael Waters is a young boy who likes rap music and cheeseburgers in a middle age mans body. He was born outside of Chicago and grew up in a family who loves food (probably slightly more than they love each other). He started to cook at a young age next to his mother Margaret (She is perhaps the sweetest lady that has ever walked the earth). Margaret Waters is a great cook herself and taught him how to cook. The odd thing is, Margaret acts like she has never cooked before if he is around (she may just like his cooking better).
Michael started wrestling at a young age and starved himself way too often to make weight for wrestling tournaments. This lack of food for many years made him covet any and all gastronomic creations. He figured since he was apart from food for so long, he would choose a profession where he could be with it everyday. Cooking became his love and passion.
His first job was one of prestige. He was a salad bar attendant at a Ponderosa Steak house. The brown clip-on tie and visor were his favorite things about this job. From there it was on to bigger and better things. He worked at sandwich shops, bar and grills, steak houses and a gas station (he was fired from the gas station, long story). Many of these jobs were worked to put him through college. And after six long years he finally graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in political science. Then, looking at the long list of great things one can do with a political science degree, he decided to attend culinary school. He never really enjoyed school at any age, but culinarily school was different. He was truly interested in the subject matter. He wanted to know the how's and why's of cooking and graduated at the top of his class from Scottsdale Culinary school in Arizona.
From here he worked with some great chefs with diverse backgrounds. Some in fine dining restaurants and others in high end catering. These men and women taught him how to succeed and become a better cook. Michael knew that just because you graduate from culinary school it doesn't mean that you are a chef. It takes years of experience and hard work to become a true chef, and he wanted to follow that long path the right way.
Carina Lounge is now where you will find Michael playing with, and creating food he truly hopes you enjoy.
Marco F. "Partner | reinaissance Man"
Peter Kost " Partner | GM"
Born and raised in Seattle. My father’s side of the family is Greek and my mother’s, Italian. I apologize upfront, I don’t speak Italian or Greek. With the two different cultural backgrounds, neither spoke the language of their family’s origin, at home. However, I do love and feel fortunate of the food culture I grew up around. My mother’s parents were farmers, Dominic and Lucy. They brought their daily harvest to the Seattle Public Market and sold from a stand shared with a couple other cousins. Eventually opening a grocery store on their property as Seattle grew, and the area around their farm populated. Family functions on both the Greek side and Italian, were basically reasons to eat. The idea wasn’t to make enough food for who was attending. It was to make enough food so that everyone could bring some home as well. We never starved.
My first job – other than helping around the grocery store from about the age of 8 or 9 – was at an Italian restaurant in Seattle. The Italian Spaghetti House & Pizzeria, owned by Elio Andolfi. I started as a dishwasher at the age of 15 and quickly worked my way to prep/pantry and then a coveted bussing position. The average tenure at the restaurant was around 15 years, so the 3 years I spent were a mere second of time in comparison. I learned as much there about service, quality and the importance of the guest than at any other job I’ve held in the industry. Elio was famous for his on-shift tirades. He would basically yell at you throughout service about being better, faster, more caring about the product and the guest experience. At the end of each night, he would go around to the staff and tell them “thank you, great job!”. He instilled a work ethic that drives me to this day.
After working in the restaurant industry as a General Manager for 13 years, I dreamed of having my own place. I’m not a good employee. Somehow, I feel rules of a company don’t apply to me….that isn’t a good thing. So, I opened my first restaurant in 1998 on the corner of NW 21st and NW Irving, Lucy’s Table. The name was an homage to my Nonna, Lucy and the center piece; my grandparents dining room table. Our family enjoyed too many amazing meals, growing up around that table. I sold the restaurant in 2005 and embarked on a short career in the wine industry. I found, though I love wine, I’m not a good salesman. I quickly went into the world of grocery. Working with Zupan’s Markets for 10 years. I love the food culture of Portland and I missed the restaurant industry. I never said I was smart…..so here I am, back in it. I love it.
I’m an oddity in the foodie world. I don’t like mayonnaise, anything pickled and chunks of onion or bell peppers and cilantro. My biggest dislike that will sound oxymoronic when you read my favorite food, fresh tomatoes. Yep…..I’m weird.
My favorite food: Red SAUCE, Meat Sauce or simple Marinara. Gravy. Call it what you will….but, I could eat it every day.
Favorite thing to do: Travel. Italy, France, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Tanzania, South Africa, Turks and Caicos, St. Thomas, St. John, Hawaii and more….been there. I will go back. More places on the “list”.
Dream: 1973 Porsche Carerra RS. I know, keep dreaming.
Pet Peeves: Anyone that knows me, is irritated by the fact I have so many.
Almost forgot. Wine. I love wine. Maybe I said that already….