Friday - September 29, 2010 Share Del.icio.us | Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com
General manager, Duke’s
Where were you born and raised? Born in Honolulu and raised on Maui.
What got you interested in the food and beverage industry? My family has always worked in the business and I was exposed to it at a young age. My mom and my uncle have worked for T.S. Restaurants for 28 years.
You come from a long line of sporting “heroes” and you’ve played and coached football (played for Kamehameha, then played professionally for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was an assistant coach at Kaiser High). Does your pedigree help in running a restaurant? The restaurant is like a sports team. You have all of the positions - coaches, managers, owners, fans - so it is an easy crossover. Football is a very difficult sport both mentally and physically, so whatever else comes along doesn’t seem as hard to overcome.
What do people expect when they come to Duke’s? They expect “postcard” Hawaii. It is our job to make that experience real for them. We also have a reputation that we need to live up to, which can be a challenge in itself. What I feel we do best is exceed those expectations.
Does Henry Kapono still play on Sundays? Yes, he does. It is a staple for our guests, and many of them plan their vacations around “Duke’s on Sunday.” Henry Kapono is such a big part of the Sunday experience at Duke’s. We are very thankful for him.
Where do you like to go when you’re not working? My wife and I love to go to 12th Ave. Grill. On special occasions we go to Alan Wong’s, and we like to eat downstairs in the bar at Roy’s in Hawaii Kai. For quick stuff, I like Yama’s for Hawaiian food (kalua pig with long rice and fresh poi) and Diamond Head Grill for plate lunch (mochiko chicken and mac salad) after surfing.
Do you cook at home? I cook at home about three to four times a week. I use whatever is in the fridge. My mom and dad were so good at that when I was growing up that I just picked it up from them.
What’s always in your fridge? OJ, leftovers, tortillas, sandwich stuff. Who would you most like to see come in to Duke’s for dinner or drinks at the bar? President Obama.
Personal sporting heroes? My mother (surfer Laura Blears) and my grandfather (wrestler Lord “Tally Ho” Blears).
Anything about you that might surprise people? I love baseball more than football.
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