by Andrea Stuart
Seated in a high chair with marinara smudges settled into the creases of his youthful smile, a young Christian Pèpe was introduced to the family business, Pèpe International, when he was a sprout. As he grew, he could be found in the back of the family bakery dusted in flour, awaiting his turn at the counter. When that time finally came, the 11-year-old could barely peer over the counter as he assisted customers. Son of Rich Pèpe, proprietor of Pèpe International, Christian has cleaned the proverbial powder from his face and is preparing to take the reins when his father retires.
Though it started as a modest family business, Pèpe International has grown into an empire of sorts including the classic Carmel Bakery and Little Napoli, and newer ventures Vesuvio, Pèpe Winery, Pèpe & Pants, and Peppoli. Christian recently obtained a business degree in entrepreneurship and has donned the hats of every position in order to familiarize himself with the business. His experience working behind the bar of Vesuvio’s 65° Rooftoop Lounge, hosting at Little Napoli and Vesuvio, stocking wines, and conducting front and back office administrative duties among other tasks has given him a sense of appreciation for all that goes into operating the family business. When Christian was in high school, he found enjoyment in bussing tables and hosting at Little Napoli. Now, he takes the most delight in getting to know the staff on a more personal level, fortifying relationships with them and learning from the dedicated people who have been working with the company.
Christian has many plans in the works for Pèpe International. In addition to hosting a plethora of events at the city-chic Vesuvio—perhaps some mixology affairs for the libationally enthusiastic or Concourserelated events for the auto aficionado—Christian is updating the Carmel Bakery menu to include Panini sandwiches. If you don’t already know Christian, you soon will. He’ll be the one standing tableside, asking you how you’re doing while you sip The Pèpe and prepare to twirl your pasta around your fork.