“When you are hungry, you get fed”
Every Monday morning at Alan Wong’s Honolulu, Chef Alan and the Back of the House staff have something called, “Menu Development.” This is a time where Chef Alan and all of the kitchen staff get the uninterrupted chance to be creative – to put their inspirations into action, to learn (the basics, new techniques, life lessons – you name it), to grow, and to share. These sessions typically include, but are not limited to, the Back of the House team at Alan Wong’s Honolulu. Everyone in our AWR Ohana is welcomed, but whether or not they take the initiative to attend or show up is ultimately their own prerogative. Often times, it is difficult for the other departments or restaurants to attend due to other priorities or obligations directly related to their work. However, “when you are hungry, you get fed” and “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” It is always easy to get weighed down and distracted by the daunting day-to-day duties of life, but when you’re curious and choose the path of a lifelong learner, amazing opportunities can unfold.
Chef Alan and some of the team recently returned from a trip across China, bringing all sorts of inspiration back with them. One of the lessons that Chef Alan has been sharing with all of us since his return from the trip is the importance of taking photos, notes, and articulating a to-do list for whatever inspires him on his travels, or in general. An example of this was a photo he took of a black mushroom, with a note-to-self that “mushrooms are like sponges…” They are able to soak in whatever they are cooked with, enabling them to take on even more flavors, enhancing what they already are. Working at Alan Wong’s, I’ve learned that, “innovation is not creation if you don’t take action and transform inspiration to perspiration.” There is no better place or time for this type of action and transformation to occur than at Menu Development, and this can truly apply to all departments alike. Last week Monday, we had a great turnout at our KS (King Street) Menu Development. Various managers from the management team were present throughout the entire session, and even two of the cooks from The Pineapple Room, Matt and Sam, ventured over to spend time with us on their morning off. They came to seize the opportunity to “become better than [they were] yesterday.” They came hungry, so they could be fed, and in so many ways, so did the rest of us. We all came to be in the moment - we all came to be mushrooms – to absorb anything and everything we possibly could learn in those few, but flavorful, hours.
Yet, as it is with inspiration and creation, learning and knowledge does not become change without action to transform it. That is why teaching, coaching, and mentoring are so important. This, to me, is one of the best aspects of our company as a whole. Matt and Sam came from The Pineapple Room on their day off to learn and to be inspired, but what’s more important is what they’ll take back to teach and inspire others. We come hungry to get fed, and we return to our team to feed the hungry, and keep them hungry for more. This is how we give back, perpetuate our values, and leave a legacy.
~ Haein Park, Interactive Marketing Specialist