Keith Endo

Jo McGarry
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Friday - November 02, 2007 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Keith Endo
Keith Endo

Age: 40

Occupation: Executive Chef, Vino

Where were you born and raised? Hilo.

What started your interest in the food and beverage industry?

Both of my parents worked, and I had to fend for myself on the weekends. Instead of getting into a whole bunch of trouble, I started cooking when I was about 12. I liked it right away and got into it more as I got older.

You’ve been with D.K. Kodama and his restaurant chain from the early days. How did that begin?

I started on Maui. I was hired along with Ivan Pahk (Sansei, Maui, executive chef) and we could see that it was going to be a really exciting restaurant. I really wanted to work at Sansei because I thought it would be one of those restaurants that would grow. Turns out I was right!

Anyone you’d like to cook for?

I’d have to say I’d like to cook for a chef in Detroit, Don Yamauchi. He’s the executive chef at Tribute in Detroit. When we had dinner there I heard D.K. say that it was one of the best meals he’d ever had in his life. The experience of eating this chef ‘s food was really incredible. I would love to have the chance to cook for him.

How do you relax?

I cook. On days off I like to play around in the kitchen and experiment.

You worked for so long at Sansei, and now you are putting out a rustic, fun menu at Vino. Are you still cooking Japanese food?

I make it at home and I like to keep my hand in so I don’t forget.

What’s exciting about being at Vino?

Everything! We’re trying to make the menu exciting and new. We want to change the menu every few months and make it seasonal where possible - and we’re finding produce at its very best and using it in different ways.

Favorite movie?


What’s always in your fridge?

Furikake and shoyu.

Any advice for aspiring chefs?

Stay focused. Thomas Keller once said that the hardest thing he had to do was motivate himself to do the same thing every day - you have to peel potatoes but find a way to keep inspired every day.


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