General Manager, Il Lupino Trattoria and Wine Bar, Waikiki
Where were you born and raised? I was born in Phoenix, Ariz., and then I spent about 10 years living in Japan. My mother taught English there, so a lot of my formative years were in Japan.
Do you miss authentic Japanese food? I did until I discovered Mitch’s Sushi out by the airport. Oh, my gosh. It’s such amazing food. I am craving it now. I just want to go back and eat there all the time.
How about Phoenix food memories? Oh, they are all about home cooking. My Nana Lily was someone who inspired us in the kitchen. Her home cooking was wonderful. Simple, home-cooked dishes like beans and tortilla are the kind of foods I love.
You’re working with a pretty inspiring chef over at Il Lupino. Chef Nic is known for his drive, his energy and his passion for food. Yes, it’s such a privilege to work with him. I am so impressed with his passion. I try to take that same passion with me to every table and every plate every night. I try to pass it on to our customers.
What do you recommend people try at Il Lupino? Because we are the only restaurant in town that offers cured meats and cheese from Italy, I would say try our salumeria plate.
Favorite dish at your upstairs neighbor restaurant, Wolfgang’s Steak House? Oysters and filet mignon.
What’s always in your fridge? Essential ingredients for making Mexican dishes; ingredients for salsa, avocados, and my husband’s beer.
Favorite kitchen tool? My palo (pin roller for homemade tortillas). Who’d you most like to see come into Il Lupino for dinner? Steve Nash. I love basketball.
You and your husband, Bill, both work in the industry, and you have a Brady Bunch-style family of five children. How do you manage it all? (Laughs) We are so, so blessed to have family here to help us out when we need them. And our kids are becoming more self-sufficient. Our 14-year-old daughter does a great job helping out. But we do have to juggle our holidays. We never have Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day, for example!
If you hadn’t been in the industry, what do you think you’d be doing now?