Title: Chef and Restaurant Owner
Company: TK’s Surf & Turf Kitchen
Location: Denver, Colorado, United States
Tyler Kanwai, Chef and Restaurant Owner at TK’s Surf & Turf Kitchen, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Business Owners for dedication, achievements, and leadership in restaurant management.
When he was still very young, cooking became second nature to Mr. Kanwai, who was raised by a chef. He loved watching his father create dishes and cater for events. Once he was granted permission to cook over the stove as a child, he began making pancakes and eggs before school. As he grew older, he continued to hone his culinary skills and started cooking for his friends, a habit that he carried on in college, often throwing parties and giving people a taste of his appetizing food. Since then, everyone who has ever known him, whether in school or in places he has worked, knows that he can cook.
The idea to dive into entrepreneurship came to while Mr. Kanwai was looking for supplemental income after his roommate moved out. He started cooking his own seafood recipes, posted them on social media and sold food from his home on weekends. After three years of doing it successfully, he began weaning himself from his full-time job to devote more time to his thriving business. Undaunted by the pandemic, Mr. Kanwai opened his restaurant, TK’s Surf & Turf Kitchen, in 2020 and drew many to his one-of-a-kind seafood offerings, especially his secret sauce. His clientele grew so swiftly that professional athletes including members of the Denver Broncos as well as customers from other states and even countries across the world such as London, have come to TK’s.
Mr. Kanwai’s restaurant, TK’s Surf & Turf Kitchen, is Colorado’s first Black-owned seafood restaurant. Customers especially love his signature plate called “The Works,” which includes crab clusters, shrimps, lobster tail and chopped beef sausage. When Denver Food Scene, a foodie network, heard about his restaurant, they posted a TikTok video of his establishment that went viral, gaining more than a million views in 24 hours and instantly turning his business into an overnight success. The chief executive officer of TikTok even mentioned his restaurant in an interview on Bloomberg in 2022, as he was explaining how the social networking service helps small businesses.
Mr. Kanwai, who had no prior experience in restaurant ownership, notes that his greatest sense of accomplishment comes from the fact that he is living his father’s dream. Notably, the NBA recognized TK’s Surf & Turf Kitchen among the 10 Black-Owned Restaurants in his state for 2022-2023. He feels blessed to touch the lives of as many people as he possibly can through the legacy that he received from his father. In the coming years, Mr. Kanwai plans to create a franchising business for his restaurant in order to preserve his father’s legacy and pass it on to his children.
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