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Meet Rob Korzen: The Inn's Newest F&B Director Elevating Hospitality

By: Inn at Virginia Tech / 07 Feb 2024
inn at virginia tech rob korzen

We are thrilled to welcome our new food and beverage director, Rob Korzen, a seasoned veteran in the hospitality industry with a passion for innovation, creativity, and the pursuit of culinary excellence.  

In today's post, we will explore his journey to The Inn at Virginia Tech as he shares some transformative experiences and key moments that have shaped his career, offering you a glimpse into the heart and soul of a true industry maven.

Let's dive in! 

A Chef's Path: Rob Korzen on Food, Philosophy, and Finding Home

Rob's story begins with his affiliation with Crestline Hotels, a company he highly values for its solid foundation and forward-thinking philosophy. 

Situated in the picturesque setting of Blacksburg, Virginia, surrounded by the serene beauty of mountains, Rob views his role at The Inn at Virginia Tech as not just a job but a stepping stone towards a dream retirement for him and his family. 

Escaping the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, he found solace and opportunity in this idyllic location.

What stands out about the hotel in Blacksburg is its size—not the largest by any means, but bustling with activity, largely thanks to its proximity to Virginia Tech. 

For Rob, the defining feature of this establishment is its staff's unwavering dedication and positive attitude. 

"The staff here never says no," Rob reflects, emphasizing their eagerness to learn, go the extra mile, and embrace new challenges. This spirit of relentless pursuit of excellence is what drew him to join this remarkable team.

Rob's Signature Style

Rob's signature style in the food and beverage industry involves daring experimentation and hands-on involvement. 

"I want to try everything and rather strike out trying than strike out looking," he asserts. 

This philosophy extends to his culinary preferences as well, where he doesn't confine himself to a single cuisine but rather champions the art of perfecting every dish, whether it's a simple hamburger or an elaborate pasta creation. 

Italian cuisine holds a special place in his heart, thanks to his experience opening a resort with an authentic Italian restaurant where everything was made from scratch.

Late-night culinary adventures with Rob promise a journey of creativity and spontaneity. 

Whether it's crafting the perfect steak, experimenting with duck confit wings, or whipping up a fresh pasta dish, Rob thrives on the thrill of transforming available ingredients into extraordinary meals. 

His love for wine and craft beer adds another layer to his culinary expertise, favoring Cabernets' complexity and hoppy IPAs' boldness.

Career Highlights

Rob's career is peppered with memorable encounters and experiences, from cooking for celebrities like Tom Cruise to unexpected performances by Jonathan Cain of Journey in a hotel lounge.

Each story is a testament to the unpredictable and exhilarating nature of the hospitality industry.

Perhaps the most impactful moment in Rob's career came from a conversation with Mr. Marriott himself. Challenged to manage as if his name were on the building, Rob embraced this philosophy wholeheartedly, leading to a profound shift in his approach to leadership and service. 

This encounter left a lasting impression on Rob and became a cornerstone of his professional ethos.

Impressing Groups

When tasked with the challenge of impressing groups, Rob Korzen embarks on a meticulous journey of discovery and innovation, tailoring each experience to his guests' unique needs and expectations. 

He begins by understanding the essence of the occasion, asking, "What meal period is it? And what's their agenda?" This initial inquiry sets the stage for a culinary presentation transcending ordinary expectations. 

Rob's approach is to surprise and delight, to venture beyond the anticipated and into the realm of the extraordinary. 

"My approach would be to do something that they wouldn't expect us to do," Rob explains, highlighting his commitment to elevating the dining experience to an art form.

For Rob, it's not just about the meal but the entire presentation, aiming to elicit a "wow" response from his guests as they encounter something truly unexpected. 

Whether it's serving VIP breakfast coffee breaks with impeccable attention to detail or creating made-to-order sandwiches right in the room, akin to a personalized sub shop, Rob knows that "presentation is everything." This philosophy of going above and beyond, of engaging guests in an interactive dining experience, underscores his belief that the essence of hospitality lies in creating memorable moments. 

"It's all about interaction nowadays," Rob asserts, emphasizing that the key to impressing groups lies in offering something uniquely personal and creatively engaging, ensuring every guest leaves with a story to tell and a desire to return.

Rob Korzen's journey is a compelling narrative of passion, innovation, and a relentless drive to exceed expectations. Through his eyes, we see the beauty of embracing every moment, the importance of taking ownership, and the transformative power of saying "yes" to new opportunities. 

Join us in celebrating the remarkable journey of a culinary innovator who continues to inspire and shape the future of the hospitality industry.

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