Carolina Kreckler, 24
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hostess at: Koi, Los Angeles
ESQUIRE: Koi is kind of a big deal to people who grew up in Los Angeles. How’d you get from Buenos Aires to, well, Koi?
CAROLINA KRECKLER: My father is a diplomat ? he’s now Secretary of State in Argentina. When I was 16 years old, he was transferred from Buenos Aires to Hancock Park, in Los Angeles, which is pretty much Hollywood. I went to school in Santa Barbara, and when I graduated, I moved back to Argentina for a year, to study, and discover myself, and whatnot. I decided to come back to L.A., and wanted to get into the restaurant business. Koi was the hottest thing that was going on, and I love sushi, and I had a friend who worked in the office.
ESQ: If anything, I’m glad that I pronounced Buenos Aires correctly. There’s always the fear that people will think you’re over-pronouncing.
CK: Right. You said it perfectly. I was impressed.
ESQ: Do you find yourself correcting people? People must ask where you’re from pretty often at work.
CK: Yes. All the time. Sometimes I like to show off my Spanish, because Argentinian Spanish is very beautiful. The accent is very unique. Whenever I have people coming in from South America ? not necessarily Argentina, but other Latin countries ? and they hear me say, “Hello, how are you?” they’re like, “Oh, you’re Argentinian, aren’t ya?” So when people ask, I usually say, “I’m from Buenos Eye-res, Ar-hen-tina.” And it’s funny ? they can’t forget my name, because I always say, “Carolina from Argentina.” It kind of rhymes.
ESQ: That’s a good self-instituted nickname.
CK: Oh yes. They never forget my name. For people at work, Mamalina is also one of my nicknames.
ESQ: Why Mamalina?
CK: Because I’m a mama. And … it rhymes with Carolina.
ESQ: So not mama in a maternal way, but mama as in…
CK: As in a hot mama. Yeah. I’m joking around with you. But it is the truth.
ESQ: Koi is a sushi restaurant, and sushi isn’t really an Argentinian thing.
CK: No. Absolutely not. But when I got to L.A., and I tried sashimi, I thought it was butter melting in my mouth. So delicious.
ESQ: What’s the best place to get food in Buenos Aires, then?
CK: La Faena. It’s a great restaurant. It’s one of my favorites. Since I was little, with my dad being a politician and all, we’d always go out to eat when a restaurant opened. And restaurants in Buenos Aires are outstanding. Delicious. A lot of steak, a lot of meat, empanadas, and so on and so forth.
ESQ: Any common misconceptions about Argentinian food? Some people think everything is like Mexican food.
CK: Right. Exactly! Argentinian people don’t like spicy food. That’s a big difference. Whenever I say, “I don’t like Tabasco,” people look at me like, “But you’re Latin, you’re from Argentina.” Honey, Argentinians like a lot of garlic, and lots of steak ? meat, meat, meat. No spicy food, though. You’ll never see Tabasco on a table.
ESQ: Have you learned any tricks for appearing to be more jovial on the job than maybe you really are?
CK: If I’m frustrated, I usually go to the bathroom, breathe a couple times, and come out with a smile. My goal is to smile. I have a very big smile. I kill people with my smile. How can you be mad at me! You know? I’m joking. But I do make people feel comfortable. It’s something I learned from my mother.
ESQ: Are there any stereotypes about Los Angeles that are true?
CK: Everybody’s superficial. I mean, everybody. I mean, not you, or me. But working at Koi, I’ve seen this man, who is in every Thursday with a different woman. And we’re like, How can this man bring in a different woman every time? And we figured it out. They’re all hookers. And one time, his date was late, so he comes and asks, “Oh my date is late. Can you sit me with another woman server? And if she comes, tell her I left.” Sleazy people like that come in all the time.
ESQ: My god.
CK: The thing about men in Los Angeles is that they all love the big boobies, the lips, all that. Which I hate. I’m the opposite of that. But it amuses me. Instead of thinking, “Oh my god, I wish I had that,” I’m like, “What is this woman doing with her life?” I think being natural is the most beautiful thing ever. But yes, it is true. Women in Los Angeles are obsessed with perfection.
Oh! And also. Let me tell you. We have a lady that works the bathroom, and she speaks Spanish. Hardly any English. She told me that there are always girls that come out and look at themselves in the bathroom, they look at her and say, “Am I too skinny?” Ninety percent of the girls who walk out of the bathroom ask this poor Mexican lady ? who I adore ? Am I too skinny? just to hear what she has to say. So that’s L.A. for you.
Article source: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/koi-los-angeles-050911