Give-N-Grind – Hawaiian Style
Somebody asked me the other day why we do fundraisers. We do a lot of events and we just finished the Muscular Dystrophy event at the Royal Hawaiian. It was a great night. The organizers put on a first class event with some great restaurants and I was really proud of my team. I thought about that and I thought about the question and it really comes down to three things: my team; the people at the event; and the food.
My staff works really hard at these events and there are a few that sign up to do every single one. They love coming out, being part of the community and representing the restaurant. We get a chance to showcase our people and that’s important.
We’re there for exposure too, of course. I want people to know what we have to offer at Tiki’s and charity events are good for that. You get the word out. But I also want us to be part of the community. For my kitchen staff it’s a great opportunity to get closer to the people who are experiencing our work. We’re usually trying something new and we’re looking for people’s reaction. For the guests, the donors, they also get to experience some of the energy that goes into working in a kitchen, putting out 600 plates, like we did at the MDA event.
One of the things I’m proud of at Tiki’s is the great energy. I’ve always liked that about the kitchens I’ve worked in. Great energy is important for making great food. I’ve said before that the reason I’ve been successful is I love what I do. The staff that comes out for these events shares that philosophy. We’re going to work really hard, have some fun and at the end of the night, there’s probably going to be some beer.
I like these events because people are open to trying new things. I’ve seen fundraisers where there’s just a little piece of chicken and some rice. I don’t do chicken and rice. A lot of people like chicken and rice, but I don’t do that.
People at these events, they paid a lot of money and I think they should eat well. It’s for a good cause sure, but that’s no reason the food has to be boring. I like to do something that’s maybe a little bit challenging, a little twist on something they’re familiar with. Just because there are going to be a wide range of tastes, I’m not going to dumb it down.
One thing I learned about doing events a long time ago was that you need to cook something. We’re not going to show up and serve salad. We’ll be cooking something, live, at the event. It takes a little bit more logistics, a little more forethought but seeing your food come together right there, I think that adds to the experience for the donors.
We’re going to showcase something special, something new that they haven’t tried before. Hopefully by the end of the night they’ll be talking about it. If it goes really well we might add it to the menu at the restaurant. That’s what I’m going for; great food.