I was introduced to the food service industry in high school. Like many teens, I took “Food Service” with the anticipation of eating my way through the year. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my life’s path. After two years of Pearl City High School food service classes, Mrs. C (as she was fondly known) encouraged all her students to apply for the Culinary Scholarship at Leeward Community College. I was one of the lucky ones to receive the scholarship.
I followed the designated course sequence to earn an Associate’s degree in Culinary Sciences, but I never felt a strong passion to become a chef. At that point in time, it was something to do. I worked while taking classes and developed my kitchen skills. After receiving my degree, I gained employment at several restaurants and a few hotels. While working as a second cook at the first hotel, I entered the Hawaiʻi Seafood Competition. The excitement of creating and competing gave me a new outlook on cooking and it was no longer “just a job.” That’s when I truly developed an understanding of and appreciation for food and cooking and was no longer just going through the motions. I uncovered my passion for cooking and was enjoying it. I got serious about what I was going to do with my life and set goals for myself. Finding success in the industry coupled with a strong work ethic is what caused my motivation to soar and helped me become who I am today.
Over the course of my 30-year career, I have been fortunate to work under strong local chefs – including two Hawaiʻi Regional Cuisine (HRC) chefs. I learned so much about the industry under their tutelage and am thankful for the experiences I had. When I became an executive chef, my learning didn’t stop; I just had to work a little harder to learn independently. I still possess a strong desire to create and have been blessed with participation in cutting edge professional development.
Additionally, traveling to various locations in the United States, Asia, and Canada heightened my appreciation and knowledge of food. I learned about tastes, techniques, and plate presentations while dining at five-star restaurant establishments – and loved every minute of the experiences – but, after a long day at work, I am truly satisfied by a good meatloaf and other “comfort foods.” Understanding what it takes to be in the culinary field, I hold a strong appreciation for those who were and are in the industry, who hone our craft and do it well.
Wanting to do more and never being satisfied with status quo is the catalyst that jumpstarted me to share these sauces with others who love to cook and/or love to eat.
At uCook, we strive to be creative and hardworking and our work is never done. We will continue to create and do what is necessary to offer high quality products to ensure that uCook….and we make it easy!
On a personal note, every person has at least one specific talent and I believe that it’s important to discover one’s own talent and use it to make a positive difference in the world. Since I have the skill set to plan and cook (often for large banquet events) I try to find opportunities to use it to serve others, especially houseless children. Having regular balanced meals is a necessity for these little ones, but they are not in control of family situations, so if I am able to contribute in a small way to help provide an occasional meal, I believe that I need to do it. When I’m not working, which is rarely, my hobbies are fishing with my son, spending time with my grandsons, and skiing down powdery white slopes with gusto!