Denise Takara

Jo McGarry
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Friday - June 22, 2011 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Jo McGarry photo

Occupation: Co-owner of Kochi Restaurant and Lounge

Where were you born and raised? Here in Honolulu.

What started your interest in the food and beverage world? I grew up in our family restaurant business. Our family had a saimin restaurant, Kay’s Grill. As second generation, we didn’t really want to run the business, so my parents sold it. Then I get married to Lee and I’m in the business again (laughs).

That could be either good or bad. (laughs) Yes, it’s good. But in the beginning we definitely both had our own way of doing things. We both grew up in restaurants, so we had to find a point of compromise.

Do you cook at home? No. I’m learning, but it’s really hard to cook for a chef. Lee is so good that I don’t really need to cook anything.

What’s always in your fridge? Leftovers from dinner. Our icebox is full of homemade food that Lee makes from scratch: sauces, dressing, baking ... I love going in there and pulling out leftovers.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not at Kochi? For us, being at home and eating is just really such fun. I’d rather eat Lee’s cooking at home than go out most of the time!

With whom would you most like to have dinner at Kochi? My family. My mom, dad ... the immediate family. I’d like them to come to the restaurant and enjoy dinner, but I don’t know if that could ever happen because when we’re here we’re always thinking about work. It would be so great to be able to eat here and relax here at the same time, but that would require two different mind-sets!

Advice for partners/married couples who venture into the restaurant business? Get ready to compromise, especially when you’re both passionate.

How do you get away from the stress of running restaurants? We recently bought a piano as an outlet for me to relax away from the restaurant. It’s been really good for me to play and unwind. Right now a piece I’m playing a lot is Debussy’s Clair de Lune - definitely a stress reliever.

Kochi Restaurant and Lounge
1936 S. King St.

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