PTBOCanada Q&A: Mike Skinner On KEGI's Purchase Of Dolce Vita Resto In Downtown Peterborough

 PTBOCanada file photo: Mike Skinner

PTBOCanada file photo: Mike Skinner

Dolce Vita Resto in downtown Peterborough is no longer for sale. It has been purchased by the Kawartha Entertainment Group Inc. (KEGI), which is owned by a team including Michael Skinner, Catia Skinner, Jeff O’Connor, Mike O’Connor, Kyle Guerin and Lorrie McMullen. Dolce Vita joins the KEGI team alongside The Venue and WhiskeyClub (which is opening June 21st). In an interview with PTBOCanada.com, KEGI President and CEO Mike Skinner explains the decision to purchase Dolce Vita...
 
PTBOCanada: What factors made your group decide to buy Dolce Vita, and will you be keeping the name?
 
Mike Skinner... "Not only are we keeping the Dolce Vita name, but the feel of the restaurant as well. Dolce Vita has made a name in this community which we intend to keep and build upon. Chef Kyle Guerin—who will be Executive Chef at Dolce—joined KEGI last year and since then we have been expanding the Venue’s food events, such as the upcoming Savor the Flavour event coming up on July 24th, and the dinners for 300+ people that we often do twice in a week. In order to showcase Chef Kyle's talents, we launched the Lobby Bar and Restaurant in the Venue on Thursdays and Fridays at the start of this year. The challenge is the Venue has been booking large scale events and concerts on Thursdays and Fridays that take up the entire building. By purchasing Dolce Vita, this allows us to provide a dedicated, consistent restaurant in which to highlight Chef Kyle’s expertise. Also, this allows us to turn the Lobby space back into an event space for 40 to 60 people when we don’t have major events and continue to run an international menu which can be themed to the specific entertainment event we are running."

 
PTBOCanada: What are your plans for Dolce?
 
Mike Skinner... "We want to continue to grow based on the foundation of the previous owners. We believe there is a market for a high customer experience coupled with award winning food in Peterborough."
 

PTBOCanada: Tell us more about Chef Kyle Guerin, and what he brings to Dolce.  

 PTBOCanada file photo: Chef Kyle Guerin

PTBOCanada file photo: Chef Kyle Guerin

Mike Skinner... "Chef Kyle will be Executive Chef. He began his career at the prestigious Walter Wilcox Dining Room located at Moraine Lake Lodge in Lake Louise, Alberta. After successfully completing his diploma in Culinary Management, Chef Kyle moved on to apprentice at The Restaurant at Vineland Estates Winery in Vineland, Ont. Chef Kyle then worked under Chef Massimo Capra at the Rainbow Room Dining Room, located in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. In 2010, Chef Kyle travelled back to Western Canada to assume the role as Sous Chef at Elk Ridge Resort, Saskatchewan's only "4 Star Resort". After two years, he left to move back to his roots in Peterborough to open his own restaurant, Cravings Bakery & Café. In 2013, one year after opening Cravings, Chef Kyle assumed the role as Executive Chef and co-owner of The Venue, our multipurpose event facility that caters weddings, conferences and private events. Last December, The Venue opened the Lobby Wine Bar & Restaurant. Currently, Chef Kyle is mentoring under Chef Michael Pigeon to compete in the 2014 World Culinary Championships and the 2016 Culinary Olympics in Luxembourg Germany. During Chef Kyle's career, he has had the pleasure of cooking for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former NBA Commissioner David Stern, the Jonas Brothers, actor Jason Priestley, 2-time Olympic gold medal winner Catriona Le May Doan, and Canadian Astronaut Marc Garneau."
 

PTBOCanada: What changes will be seeing under Chef Kyle's direction?

Mike Skinner... "While Chef Kyle will be the Executive Chef, we will also continue to retain the existing Dolce Vita team to ensure consistency through this transitional period. We will not be making any major changes at the beginning. We want to get into the restaurant, meet the loyal customers and really see what works, improve what doesn't, and of course continue the tradition of daily and weekly specials."


PTBOCanada: What message do you want delivered to existing customers of Dolce?

Mike Skinner... "Our message is simple: It is not our intent to change Dolce Vita. We want to continue the great service, atmosphere, attention to detail and of course the delicious food.  We will be honoring any existing gift cards as well as accepting gift cards from the Venue and Lobby. All cards will now be able to be redeemed at all our locations. Also, for our corporate customers of both the Venue as well as Dolce Vita, we believe we can now offer even more options for your catered events."
 

PTBOCanada: What is your overall sense of the restaurant scene in Peterborough right now, and where Dolce fits into that?

Mike Skinner: "I believe Peterborough has one of the best and vibrant local restaurant scenes in North America. Dolce Vita has some major competitors, but at the same time I believe that our team’s attention to detail and love for what we will do will continue to ensure that the people of Peterborough as well as the tourists that come here every year will keep coming back."

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