Total loan: $6,500


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Waikoloa, HI, United States / Food

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Kaikili's story

I was born on the east side (Hilo) of the Big Island. I am of Japanese and Portuguese heritage and spent time living in Washington and on Kauai island. I attended Hawaiian immerson school in addition to Hilo Middle School and High School. It was during my schooling that I was first introduced into the culinary world, which would cultivate a passion that would stay with me to this day. I took an elective cooking class taught by a former Japanese sushi chef and became engrossed in Japanese cooking and culture. The ties between the culture of my home and Japan made me continuously interested in Japanese culture, eventually landing me a position as an apprentice at a Japanese restaurant. I worked long hours without vacations to climb the ladder for three years at this restaurant before I was rewarded with a raise, and eventually an opportunity to work with a master chef from Tokyo at a high-end restaurant. I had to start from the bottom under this new master chef, and it took 3 years for me to finally be taught special techniques for cutting fish. Once I received this lesson, I knew this would be my trade. Eventually I took over the restaurant for five years before my Sensei became ill and was forced to close the doors. Then I started a catering company while also working at a private resort. This experience taught me the importance of locally sourced food and how to craft delicious and unique menus. Now I want to channel this expertise into my own restaurant and share my love for sushi with the residents and visitors of Pahoa .