A week has come and gone, and the adrenaline rush from last weekend’s 4th Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival has finally settled down. From working at Alan Wong’s Restaurants, I had the most amazing opportunity to attend most of the events for this festival. Chef Alan always says that good luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and I couldn’t have been luckier. My experience in my previous role in the company prepared me to transition into my new management role.   I am reminded of how fortunate I am to work at a company and restaurant that provides these opportunities to see, learn, and grow.


My primary assignment for that weekend as our company’s social media manager, was to capture & communicate all of our experiences through interactive media platforms for everyone to see what was going on as it was happening. While this was a huge experience for me personally, it was an opportunity to test myself professionally. During this time, I strived to put what I’ve learned into action; and hopefully gained some presence with everyone there, who remembered me by my comical French fry phone case, and also by where I worked. I was humbled by the experience, and at all of the relationships that were created. Any positive comments that I received ultimately reflected the teachings of the mentors that have developed and invested in me.


People always say to watch who you surround yourself with because that is who you become. I’m blessed to be surrounded by the best, truly. Throughout the festival weekend, I was able to shadow Leigh Ito (VP, Development), and also spend time with Kathy Kawashige (Director of Operations), Mark Shishido (Wine Director), Nicole Ng (Marketing Manager), and of course, Chef Alan Wong. I get to learn how to observe things in every little detail. I enjoy spending my time with them, as they are all more experienced. I learn the most from our management team here, and it allows me to grow more than I’ve ever expected to. Following and being around this team develops my palate, knowledge, critical thinking skills, relationships, and sense of maturity. I've surrounded myself with the people I most want to be like.


Though it’s already been over a week since the festival, I can’t stop reminiscing. It truly was one of the best experiences of my life, and I have this team to thank for affording me that opportunity. I was allowed to live through the festival from both ends, as a worker and as a guest. This experience made me realize I still have a lot to learn, but I’m part of a team that is willing to teach me. I aspire to be like my mentors on this team, andlwill prepare myself for more opportunities to spend time with them in the future.


I’m also hoping my new network of friends come in and support me, as I’d be thrilled to see everyone again soon.