Hawaii Hospitality - March/April 2014 - (Page 22)
All the Right
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
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
me, 'Deb, that's your income-take it.'
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
HRA Employee Excellence Awards
Big Island Hospitality
Talk Story with GEORGE SZIGETI
Food & Beverage SuperStars, Part two
Featured Department: Food & Beverage
Hawaii Hospitality - March/April 2014