The work we do is about collaboration and partnership in a more encouraging way to lead and serve. Bold ideas without courageous contributors remains just that, an idea. These stories are shared to validate that the philosophy, values and actions of Awakened Hospitality have made an impact on individuals, businesses, and communities.
Former Executive Chef / Founding Partner –
Magnolias Uptown / Down South
“I started my work relationship with Chris in 1988 at Carolina’s in Charleston, South Carolina. We extended that relationship to that of operating partners of Magnolias Uptown / Down South in 1990. We were fortunate to experiment with a different kind of workplace culture at a pivotal time at the beginning of the Charleston culinary renaissance. I observed Chris’ commitment to hiring people based on personality rather than experience and watched as he engaged with this team in an unconventional way. We worked hard to never just train another line cook, server, or dishwasher, but rather to help people understand that a day at work could be a positive and fulfilling experience. We have both been fortunate to know the early experiences at Magnolias influenced many people to pursue their passion and created a generation of inspired hospitality professionals who have had a major impact on Charleston, the Southeast, and all over the country for that matter. “
Culinary Director of Restaurants - Wegmans Food Markets - Rochester, NY
"I had invested years into building a solid foundation of culinary skills when I met Chris Goss. I was ready add to it, something that would set me apart from most other Chefs. I wanted to learn and understand how to nurture a culture, develop others and inspire, as I had been inspired. Chris has always been, what I consider, a visionary. He demonstrated to me how to make others feel special, important to a cause and that what they were contributing made all of the difference. What Chris had built is sustainable. It’s alive and well in myself and so many others that he has influenced. We pass these philosophies and the ability to conduct ourselves in a true leadership manner along to others. I was extremely fortunate to have been mentored by him at a pivotal point in my development."
Founder Local Three / Partner Unsukay Concepts
I met Chris several years after the launch of Muss & Turner’s when I joined the partnership to create Local Three and Unsukay Community of Businesses. I knew of him and the impact his restaurant ventures had on the culinary scene of midtown Atlanta. We shared common bonds through Jay Swift, former South City Executive Chef who founded 4th & Swift where I was the opening Chef de Cuisine. Since the launch of Local Three we have called upon Chris to coach, mentor and guide us through critical times of transition. From partnership relations, to communication strategies, staff relations to expansion strategy, Chris has been an important part of Unsukay’s success. Chris’s ability to help us “look in the mirror” and assess our business for all sides has proven invaluable to us. His ability to draw necessary feedback from our team and present it to us with a plan for improvement has been critical in our growth. Our staff quickly came to trust Chris and shared both their successes and failures with him which in turn helped us be better leaders, mentors and business people. Each coaching visit from Chris helped us learn from our own people, make changes and improve the culture of our workplace. This is a complex and tough business at times. Stress when it feels like things are unraveling can have a major impact on our behavior which washed down over our people. Chris always seemed able fly in from Vermont with a fresh perspective, take the pulse of our team, meet us wherever our challenges were and help us find partnership alignment and renewed clarity. On all our menus, we print our business philosophy, which leads with “people matter most.” Chris is a major part of making sure we stay true to our philosophy and keep our greatest resource, our people, front & center.
General Manager - The Pantry & Beanery
Spruce Peak at Stowe - Two Roads Hospitality
I joined Stowe Mountain Resort / Spruce Peak Realty team November of 2104 to lead pre-opening development and operations for The Pantry & Beanery - a specialty food market, fresh deli and progressive espresso bar concept. This newly developed concept was to become the central gathering place for the Village at Spruce Peak. It did not take long after being hired by Chris Goss to understand my primary responsibility would be developing the business so it would be aligned with the company’s vision for Spruce Peak at Stowe. This was a dream opportunity for me as a recent MBA graduate. Chris had great skills for articulating this vision in a way that was both inclusive and clear.
Initially, this understanding provided a sense of purpose and ownership that motivated me as a leader to perform at my best. But it was not until recently, about three years later, that I can quantify the significance of that initial clarity. I see now that I have helped to perpetuate this cycle, whereby other leaders are being inspired to step up and continue the business’s development. It is important to mention that along the way, my team also created long term benefits for our organization, including the crafting of a distinct culture at The Pantry & Beanery, as well as attaining operational efficiency, financial stability, empowered team members, and happy customers. In reality, long term benefits await any business that involves their employees in the organization’s vision, but this is not to say it is easily done. Developing this into a core process requires leaders who are able to inspire others, lead with empathy, and learn from all of their mistakes. Chris Goss not only embodied these characteristics, but he also inspired those who worked around him to follow suit. I have learned a great deal about this style of leadership from Chris Goss, and over the past few years, I have seen him utilize the same methodology while launching other new businesses at the Resort. I can say with confidence that this is his true nature, and he will bring the same benefits to any organization he works with.
Managing Director AIG Global Real Estate-
President Spruce Peak at Stowe
"I have worked closely with Chris for over five years. Together, we have opened some of the most ambitious and creative private members' clubs, restaurants, coffee shops and fast casual restaurants in the east coast resort environment. Along with these projects, I have witnessed Chris develop teams, build leaders and implement a management vision. Chris has a big heart and is dedicated to his employees and colleagues. He has a unique ability to get the most out of a diverse set of employees and to create great teams."
Founder Muss & Turner's / Partner - Unsukay Concepts
Chris and I have been mastermind partners for nearly 20 years. We share a mutual love for creating inspired workplace creativity and culture. We are driven by empowering others to create better lives due to thoughts and ideas they are exposed to throughout the course of a day at work. We share a common belief that when a small group of people share in a belief system bigger than themselves almost anything can be accomplished. I have been fortunate to learn from his stories of success and experiences of hard knocks. From the early development of our first venture Muss & Turner’s I called on Chris to compare thoughts and clarify issues that were new to me. At times when we have been stuck in the growth of our organization, we have called on him as a business coach to step in, talk to our team, and shine a light on our blind spots. He has helped us heal relational conflicts as partners and gain alignment with the core team responsible for our success. He has been a trusted guide, a listening ear and a source of wisdom at times we needed it the most. I am grateful to have such a partner on this journey of business for the common good. I know he feels the same.
Chef / Manager - The Pantry & Beanery -
Spruce Peak at Stowe - Two Roads Hospitality
"Are you thinking of taking the next step in your career, changing your life, or just finding a resonating purpose in your work? At one point not too lang ago I was searching for the same things. I had been working 8 years in a classic 40-60 hour per week F&B grind job. I was not going anywhere with my career, no longer learning or developing myself further, and certainly not feeling appreciated for the skills I brought to the table. That all changed the day I met Chris Goss and interviewed for a leadership role in a new business venture he was launching at Stowe Mountain Resort. I took a risk to break from what I knew was safe and familiar, and embarked on a journey of challenge, growth and fulfillment. With my small team and Chris’s guidance we created a truly amazing business model that was not only successful operationally, but one that became the heart beat of a new alpine village community. Our staff desired to return each season because they felt a part of something bigger than just the resort’s expectation of service. Chris’s past experience and mentorship took us from a “walking” step by step in launching the business to eventually “running” a powerhouse business of great complexity. I realized, three years later, that it wasn’t Chris himself that made the business work but how he inspired and empowered each of us to take the right steps in bringing our own ideas and the values to what we we did. Over time that translated into an engaged team and truly happy guests that were attracted to our positive vibe.
I took a leap of faith with Chris three years ago and can’t imagine how my life would be now if I had not.
I will never forget Chris telling me this in our first interview. “You go from being the inspired individual who wants to take on the world, to being the person who develops along others in a team environment. It then comes full circle as a leader with you get to inspire others to follow your lead, be the example and continue the process in the next generation of team members".
Director of Mountain Dining – Stowe Mountain Resort
Chris and I developed a partnership when I joined the Stowe team to launch The Great Room Grill and Spruce Camp Bar in 2007. This 700 seat gourmet cafeteria / servery / bar and special events facility was certainly a best ever addition to Eastern United States ski mountain dining. We worked in collaboration with a goal to be recognized as a premier mountain dining venue in the country. We accomplished this along with hosting the development stage F&B services for the new Stowe Mountain Club private membership program. Over the years we developed an effective team approach to launching new businesses within the Spruce Peak at Stowe village. Chris was the lead in design, development, branding, vision, and strategy. I joined in for construction finalization, pre-opening planning, and to assume the lead in launch and ongoing operations. While Chris was my direct report supervisor, we always worked as partners sharing in the process and fulfillment of growth. As a leader I appreciated how he kept the team informed of broader organizational change but allowed us to remain focused on the objectives of our business units. Chris led with positivity and trust, was always willing to jump in operationally if needed. I experienced the long-term impact of communication, empowerment and self-confidence that came with being on his team. We continue in a trusting mentor relationship today as I have have moved into the position he left to launch his new consulting company.
Partner - Fifth Group Restaurants
"Based on our 35 year friendship, former business partnership and understanding of his role in the renaissance of Stowe Mountain Resort, I am confident Chris’ new consulting venture will provide great value to hospitality leaders seeking to develop their organization’s culture for greater success. 25 years ago as a founding partner of South City Management Group, now Fifth Group Restaurants, Chris envisioned a dining experience that connected great food and great people. The original South City Kitchen was a pioneering concept for midtown Atlanta. We provided a progressive combination of southern-inspired food in a welcoming fine-dining atmosphere and delivered meaningful, memorable experiences to our guests through connected service."
Almost 25 years later, with the fourth South City Kitchen slated to open, that original focus on meaningful connected service remains integral to our success and a mainstay of Fifth Group Restaurants’ mission.
Founder / Partner - Unsukay Community of Businesses - Atlanta, GA
"I was fortunate to meet Chris a career fair at the Culinary Institute of America in 1994. This Boston boy was thrilled to be offered the first culinary internship at South City Kitchen in Atlanta. A positive experience led me to return to his company upon graduation to formally start my career. The experience of trust, belonging, and purpose that we shared as a young team made a significant impact on me. As I grew in experiences and prepared to take my own risk as an entrepreneur, I found myself emulating the philosophies I championed at South City Kitchen and The Food Studio. I am thankful to have met my business partner Ryan Turner in this environment which led to a relationship and commitment to create our own caring, creative business. Chris and I have maintained a relationship for more than 20 years and along the way he has continued to help us adjust the compass heading of our business to create greater success and impact on our community."