Kitchen Cred Peter Karpinski, 33, came to Colorado in 2005 when he joined the Sage Restaurant Group as senior vice president. He now oversees seven restaurants in four cities, including the Corner Office Restaurant and Martini Bar and Second Home Kitchen and Bar in Denver.

Coffee Talk “My father-in-law brings this back for me every time he goes to the Philippines,” says Karpinski of Arengga Coffee Alamid, a brand of Philippine civet coffee. Wild civets eat the choicest, ripest coffee berries, and the undigested beans are collected from their droppings to make the most expensive (it’s about $1,000 a pound), and many say best-tasting, coffee in the world.

Gray Salt “I sprinkle this Celtic gray salt on meats and veggies,” Karpinski says. “I love that you can taste the ocean minerals. It’s not processed at all, and it has a great moisture content straight from the ocean.” Celtic gray sea salt, $10 for 26.8 ounces,

Sip Secrets Karpinski has a potted rosemary bush on his kitchen counter, and he’ll grab a fresh sprig to liven up a simple beverage. “I love using herbs in drinks,” he says.

Quick Tip “When cooking flaky fish on a grill, brush a generous coat of high-smoke-point oil (like vegetable oil) on the grill. Give the top of the fish a small coat as well. Also, try to only turn over the fish once. If you turn more than once, your chances of it falling apart increase dramatically.”

Hand-Me-Down “I use this brass pepper mill all the time,” Karpinski says. “It’s a family heirloom from my grandmother. I think it’s originally from Morocco or Turkey, and it looks cool—and it will last forever.”

Go Fish This MacKenzie-Childs fish-shaped serving platter is Karpinski’s favorite piece for serving the catch of the day. “The pieces are all handmade and hand-painted, and they come from Aurora, New York, which is close to where I grew up. They used to only be available locally, but now I think you can find them at Neiman Marcus.”

RECIPE: Casareccia Pasta with Sautéed Vegetables and Grilled Tuna Steak (Serves 4)

  • 2 fresh tuna steaks (approximately 12 ounces each)
  • PK Seasoning Mix, to taste (see recipe below)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 each green and yellow pattypan squash, halved (in cooler months sub in baby yellow squash; in the summer add in quartered fresh artichokes)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup brown mushroom caps, halved
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • handful of chopped applewood-smoked bacon (if desired)
  • 1 pound casareccia pasta
  • fresh basil, julienned

Rub the tuna with PK Seasoning, salt and pepper, and a little olive oil. Set aside.

Boil a large pot of water (with oil and salt for pasta). Combine pattypans, chopped onion, mushrooms, oil, garlic, PK Seasoning, and salt and pepper in a bowl and toss together. (If using bacon, add at this time). Sauté. Boil the pasta to package’s instructions or until al dente.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add tuna steaks, sear on one side for 3 minutes, flip, sear for another 2 minutes, remove and let rest 5 minutes.

Combine pasta and vegetable mixture. Serve in a large bowl and rest tuna on top of pasta. Finish with a toss of fresh basil.

PK Seasoning Mix

kosher salt
black pepper
dried garlic
dried onions
dried jalapeño
dried red chiles
dried cumin
dried thyme
dried rosemary
dried marjoram
dried celery seeds
dried orange peel
dried capers
bay leaf

Mix equal parts of all ingredients in a blender or coffee grinder.