On the Line: Kai Robison of MRK|Public, Part Two

Kai, Rayne and Moriah: Just hanging around
Kai, Rayne and Moriah: Just hanging around
Photo courtesy of MRK|Public

Kai was the designated spokesman this week, as he clued me in on all things MRK. Today we address the clicking and stress of being restauranteurs.

We started the conversation with Kai yesterday over here. And we wrap things up below.

When you're not at work, what are you doing? All three of us are surfers, so we are usually trying to get waves. Rayne and Moriah both have kids, so they have full-time jobs outside of the restaurant.

Do you have any skills that have nothing to do with food? I've always been a creative type. I do a lot of drawing and mixed media artwork. Rayne is a good artist as well and the MacGyver of the group. He is always making things work that I would never have thought of. Moriah is an awesome athlete. The guy is good at whatever he tries.

Last song playing on your radio: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon.

Last movie watched; how was it? I just watched Birdman with Michael Keaton. I really enjoyed it. Acting was great, and the whole style was very unique and un-Hollywood.

How did you all meet, and what prompted the idea to open the business? Moriah and Rayne met in high school, and were close friends and surf buddies. I was the younger brother. But it was all later that we went to culinary school (at different times) and realized that we have a like-minded view on cooking and food. Moriah and Rayne were ready to start their own thing, wanting to do something unique in San Clemente. I jumped on board, and it just seemed to click.

Hardest lesson you've learned. Not to let stress get to you that much. There is a lot of stress in this business, and you have to know when to let it go.

Are you superstitious? The only thing we say a lot in the kitchen is Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will. If you don't have something, you will need it. If you have it, you won't need it. It always seems to work like that in restaurants.

What were you up to five years ago? Five years ago, I think I had just moved to San Francisco and was getting my chops up as a cook.

Last thing you looked up online. SNL's 40 year reunion. Which was awesome, by the way.

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? I really don't know. Probably doing something with art or in the music industry. But it's hard to say. Life has taken me here, and I'm happy about it.

MRK Public is located at 1402 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 441-7621; www.mrkpublic.com.

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