Who We Are

Our Mission

is to create a unique culinary gathering space that celebrates the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure and community.

Open Kitchen is…

A full-service BISTRO that honors the farm-to-table spirit with seasonally, ingredient-driven menu of handmade, comfort food, using fresh, local and sustainable products as much as possible.

An intimate, fully-equipped, commercial kitchen facility and dining space offering custom-designed, interactive, and engaging PRIVATE EVENTS for business and social gatherings, life celebrations, and chef-instructed, design-your-own cooking classes.

A GOURMET MARKET & WINE BOUTIQUE that reflects our philosophy that there is a magical relationship between wines, foods, and human connections. An evolving concept that includes Open Kitchen’s newly launched Wine Club featuring weekly wine tastings, seasonal wine dinners, wine reward program, and wine shop with gourmet snacks and nibbles.

Amid the noise and haste of modern living, Open Kitchen aspire to provide guests with a culinary retreat for gracious living…a place to relax, unwind and share in the joy of food, wine, and community.

At Open Kitchen, we promise to:

  • Promote and facilitate culinary entrepreneurship and innovations.
  • Satisfy and open taste buds with healthy, creative yet simple dishes.
  • Inspire the joy of cooking.
  • Collaborate with local food producers and farmers.
  • Improve the quality of life of our community.
  • Provide an eco-friendly culinary establishment, full of innovative and simple actions, to enhance our lives and our world.

Our Team

Hue-Chan and John Karels, Owners

It all started with cookies!  In 2007, Hue-Chan, encouraged by her supportive husband, John, had the inspiration to make a lifestyle change and depart from her FDA regulatory and compliance consulting practice to start an artisan cookie business.  In starting her business, she soon discovered federal, state and local laws required her to produce her cookies in a commercially licensed and equipped kitchen.  However, because there were no facilities like this in the Washington DC Metro area, Hue-Chan’s culinary business plans came to a halt.  She called churches, community centers, food shelters, schools, restaurants, and catering facilities.  Although most of these places did not allow other businesses to rent out their space, the few that were willing, would only do so after normal business hours.  A few wanted Hue-Chan to sign a long-term sublease. Just starting out in the food business, she was not sure how quickly her business would grow and if she could commit to these requirements.  Not one to back down from life’s challenges, she pushed forward in her quest for an affordable licensed kitchen and found she was not alone.  This process gave birth to the core concept behind “Open Kitchen” which is to provide licensed kitchen facilities for rent on a cost-effective and flexible basis.  After some  reshaping of their original vision, Hue-Chan’s and John’s Open Kitchen became a reality  when its first location at the West Metro Plaza in Falls Church, VA opened in the Fall of 2009.

Holly Camalier, Events and Marketing Manager

Growing up with parents in the restaurant business in Atlanta, Holly discovered at a young age that she had a passion for food service. When she and her family moved to Virginia, met with the owner, Hue-Chan and they started to develop a great business friendship.  Assisting Open Kitchen in the shaping of its original vision of a commercial timeshare kitchen into a true culinary community, Holly is has worked for Open Kitchen since before its doors were open!  Working onsite as the General Manager for almost 3 years, Holly has recently moved back to Atlanta.  She now works behind the scenes to ensure the vision of Open Kitchen moves forward.


Christopher Carey, Executive Chef/General Manager

Executive Chef, Christopher Carey, joins the Open Kitchen team with years of professional experience under his belt.  Chef Carey is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu of Paris, France, and The French Culinary Institute of New York City.  He is also a graduate of Fordham University, located in New York City, with a Bachelor’s degree in economics.  Christopher’s personal cooking style exemplifies the use of local seasonal ingredients, farmers markets, and ageless cooking techniques.  He is convinced that the best-tasting food is organically and locally grown and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound by people who are taking care of the Earth for future generations.

Christopher’s prior culinary experience includes The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg, the Goodstone Inn and Estate in Middleburg, the Ashby Inn of Paris, VA and the Clifton Inn in Charlottesville.  He has received numerous awards and honors such as a two star review from The Washington Post, been invited to cook at the renowned James Beard House in New York City, featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Country Inns of Virginia,” and honored as one of the “Best Chefs of Washington,” and achieved the DiRona Award.

We are excited to have Christopher on our team as our Executive Chef and General Manager, helping to create the ultimate culinary experience for all of our guests.  He oversees the creation of our seasonal bistro menu that is a collaborative effort of the entire chef team, designs and executes our wine dinners as well as directs our service team to assure guests receive a gracious and enjoyable dining experience.  Christopher also serves as a culinary class instructor.