Mona K.Wood-Sword

Jo McGarry
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Friday - November 24, 2010 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Occupation: Publicity and marketing consultant, IKAIKA Communications

Where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in Honolulu, but spent several years living in Japan. It surprises people when a Hawaiian-Chinese-Caucasian girl who graduated from Kamehameha starts jabbering away in Japanese.

Your “powerful little PR company” keeps you in the limelight. Between restaurants and hit TV shows, you’re incredibly busy. How do you take down time? My hubby Max Sword and I love traveling and movies, and I also love skydiving (did it for an E! Wild On episode and have been hooked ever since!), tennis, interior decorating, reading (Victorian novels are my fave!) and doing crosswords. My mind tends to race with ideas 24/7, so I need to focus on something totally unrelated to work to relax.

Are you more of a foodie now than when you began? Definitely. I’ve worked with several restaurants in recent years, including Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener and the soon-to-open Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar, so I am a lot pickier now because I notice things I didn’t before. Knowing what goes into every little detail before the food gets to your table makes you really appreciate the finer things. Wolfgang’s general manager Bill Nickerson is the best in the business and has been a great teacher for me.

Are chefs and restaurant managers much more aware of the media nowadays, or do you still need to help and coach them? Seasoned chefs and restaurant managers are very aware of the power of the media. But I do provide media training for less-experienced clients. Chefs are artists in their kitchens, but being in front of a camera or writer can seem daunting. I always stress that they “just be themselves,” and I’ve found that they learn fast and usually end up loving the spotlight.

Aren’t you tempted to eat at Wolfgang’s all the time? I am so proud to represent such an awesome restaurant as Wolfgang’s Steakhouse … and that’s not just the publicist in me saying that. I do eat there often, at least twice a week, but try not to have meat all the time. One of my favorite lunch items is a custom dish I like to call “the Mona special” — Caesar salad topped with our seared ahi — yum! And I love the weekend brunch at Wolfgang’s, where we offer Eggs Benedict made with filet mignon!

With whom would you most like to sit down to dinner? My father, Arthur Ka‘imi Wood. He passed away last year, and I miss him so much. I’d love to sit down at Kenny’s or Zippy’s with him and enjoy a simple meal, talk story, tell him I love him, again, and treasure every minute.

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