SUDBURY – When Tyler Karpeichik turned 16, several members of his family gathered at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn to celebrate the milestone.
At one point he excused himself from the festivities and went missing for about 30 minutes. He had gone to lobby and asked if he could see the kitchen and he recalls being enthralled with the space and the bustling culinary activity, “I knew then that I wanted to be a chef.”
In the years since, Karpeichik has gone on a journey from bus boy to server to sous chef to nutrition specialist to his dream job of Executive Chef at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn (LWI) in Sudbury.
Having previously worked as a line cook for LWI in 2013, Karpeichik’s career has come full circle with his return in May.
“We are thrilled to have him back here!” said Innkeeper and General Manager, Steve Pickford. “Chef Tyler brings a creative energy to our kitchen, but he also understands our history and traditions, which is important.”
Karpeichik attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, where he received degrees in both Culinary Arts and Food Service Management.
To add a little excitement to his career, he accepted a two-year position with the Colorado Rockies Baseball Team in Denver as their Associate Nutritionist.
“Time on the professional baseball circuit was both exhilarating and exhausting,” said Karpeichik. “But in all honesty, I missed my New England roots—my family, friends, sailing…I also missed my Wayside Inn family.”
Because of COVID-19 closures and restrictions, Karpeichik’s new job comes under less than ideal circumstances. The staff has had to rethink their business model on multiple occasions over the past few months to comply with state mandates and guidelines. In March, the restaurant was forced to temporarily close its doors to in-restaurant dining and shift to a take-out menu.
Pickford noted that this was a first for Wayside “We’ve always been a fine dining establishment. Our experience with take-out was limited pre-COVID and this forced us to be flexible.”
At the same time, The Wayside Inn Foundation created a program to direct some donations to meals prepared by staff for essential workers and families in need. Outdoor patio dining opened in June and a limited reopening of indoor dining followed a few weeks later. “While I wouldn’t have planned it this way, the reopening and hiring of a new executive chef actually aligned well,” said Pickford, “The gradual reopening has given Chef Tyler an opportunity to adapt to his new role and add his own flavor to the menu.”
Regardless of the how and when, Karpeichik is ready for the challenges ahead. “My passion is creating, cooking, and working with a high-performance hospitality team. The Wayside Inn allows for all of this, so I feel like I am living my professional dream.”
The Wayside Inn Foundation is a Massachusetts nonprofit organization formed in 1944 to own, operate and preserve Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, believed to be the oldest operating inn in the United States, along with nine other historic buildings located on 100 acres in Sudbury, Massachusetts. For more information visit wayside.org
Photo and release submitted to SOURCE media