Hawaii Hospitality - March/April 2014 - (Page 22)

All the Right Ingredients BY STACY POPE Hawaii Hospitality is showcasing two executive chefs, a server, a hostess and a director of catering, all recognized by their hotels for their abilities, teamwork and positive attitudes. These are people who enjoy people, and people who enjoy good food-the perfect recipe for success in their departments. Dean Kamiya UExecutive Chef, Ala Moana Hotel Dean Kamiya has worked in the food and beverage industry since high school, doing everything from cooking plate lunches to washing dishes and bussing tables. Twenty-five years later, he's the executive chef at the Ala Moana Hotel, which includes overseeing about 45 employees and all of the hotel's culinary operations. "And thankfully," says Kamiya, "a part of my day still involves cooking!" What inspired Kamiya to enter this challenging field at such an early age and stick with it? "I love to eat!" he replies. "While in high school, I needed to find a part-time job, so it made sense for me to work in the food and beverage industry," he adds. "That's when I realized I also love to cook. At home, my mom did a lot of the cooking, so she was definitely a source of inspiration. I was also fortunate to have great mentors early on in my career. Once I saw what they did everyday and how much they enjoyed their jobs, I realized that cooking was something I wanted to make a career of." Kamiya attended the Culinary Arts programs at both Kapiolani Community College and Leeward Community College, but also credits his knowledge to on-the-job training, working hard and always wanting to improve his skills as a chef. As executive chef at the Ala Moana Hotel, he notes that he's "always looking to push the envelope and make something better. The relationships I've formed with others in the industry are really the things I cherish, so motivating others to Dean Kamiya evolve into better chefs has been a motivator for me. Ultimately, it makes the person, our team and the industry better." His favorite part of the job? "Besides the cooking, it's the eating!" he says enthusiastically. "I also love that in this industry, each day is different. One minute we could be executing a corporate event for 500 people, and the next a guest could ask us to prepare a dish using a fresh fish he or she caught earlier in the day." On his days off, you'll find Chef Kamiya spending time with his friends and family, including teaching his daughter how to cook. Deborah Ritchey UServer, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa Deborah Ritchey always knew she wanted to work for the Hyatt, even though at the time she was running her own business as a DJ and fashion show coordinator. "I always had my eye on Hyatt Hotels and Resorts," she says. "I knew so many people who loved working for them and was so impressed with the beauty of the hotel. I really wanted to be a part of the team." When the hotel offered her an opportunity to train as a server at Harry's Bar, she jumped at the chance. Twenty-eight years later, Ritchey's a favorite server at SHOR and the recipient of Hyatt's 2013 Employee of the Year Award. Despite her eagerness, her first job in Food & Beverage did take getting used to. "My first tip was $1," she says. "I tried to give it back to the customer, telling her it was my pleasure to serve her. My trainer smiled and told Deborah Ritchey me, 'Deb, that's your income-take it.' 22 Hawaii Hospitality ■ March/April 2014 It's been a training process ever since. I'm still trying to hone my skills and enjoy the experiences of each and every guest." These days, Ritchey helps serve up to 900 breakfast guests- remembering most by name-and according to management, is one of the most efficient servers on staff. When asked what motivates her, Ritchey tells us that it's her mom. "She inspired me to live each day as the greatest day of my life. She was an executive secretary at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the most amazing woman I've ever known." The most challenging and rewarding aspects of her job? Ritchey showcases her award-winning attitude when she says that it is "turning my guests from groggy, grouchy, demanding and sometimes impossible into happy, funny and satisfied, as well as looking forward to enjoying Hawaii." Outside of work, Ritchey loves to spend time hiking or at the beach with family, boogie boarding with her dog, volunteering and taking photographs, which she's been doing for more than 30 years. Her beautiful images of Oahu often appear on Hyatt's Facebook page for guests and employees to enjoy.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hawaii Hospitality - March/April 2014

Walk the Talk
Na Poe Paahana Awards
Travel Pono
News Briefs
HRA Employee Excellence Awards
New Restaurants
Big Island Hospitality
Talk Story with GEORGE SZIGETI
Association News
Food & Beverage SuperStars, Part two
Featured Department: Food & Beverage

Hawaii Hospitality - March/April 2014