Kaleo Schneider

Jo McGarry
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Friday - March 07, 2008 Share | Del.icio.us | podcast Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com

Kaleo Schneider
Kaleo Schneider

Occupation: General manager, Buzz’s Steak House.

Where were you born and raised? On Oahu. I grew up here and then went to restaurant school in California.

Your family has been in the restaurant industry for years. Did that inspire you to follow suit?

Well, ever since I can remember we were in the restaurants. I remember being quite young and coming from school to the restaurant and helping out with small things like placing forks or napkins. Then we’d have dinner at the restaurant and go home. We have Buzz’s in Kailua and here in Pearlridge, and my brother owns a restaurant (Lucy’s) in Kailua, so something must have influenced us!

So the business is in your blood.

You know, it’s funny because my dad convinced me to go to restaurant school, which I did, but when I got there I realized that what they were teaching were things I instinctively knew already. There was a process of osmosis where I’d just picked up most of the restaurant business.

How about mentors?

Probably Martha Stewart. I was given her first book on catering in 1982 and I began my own catering company that same year, inspired by her.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not at Buzz’s?

We love Thai food and simple places to eat out. I love Green Door and I like Olive Tree in Kahala. And I worked for Roy’s for a couple of years, so I still love going there.

What’s changed most in the past 20 years or so in the industry?

Probably the celebrity chef thing. There were no celebrities 20 years ago - Roy Yamaguchi really changed all that. He was the first person to come here and change the way that restaurants looked at food and what they were doing - and he brought the celebrity element with him.

Any advice for someone getting into the restaurant business?

You’d better know what you’re doing! You have to be aware that it takes a lot of time and that you have to be devoted to it and really love what you do. You become a part of it. Oh, and it helps if you’re great with people. Being able to greet customers with a smile and a good attitude goes a long way.


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