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Kenny’s Restaurant

By Dining Out Team
August 5, 2012

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Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers who work diligently day in and day out to make sure Hawaii’s diners have a top-notch dining experience.

This week, Dining Out got the inside scoops from Kenny’s Restaurant sous chef James Drewery, who gave us a little taste of Kenny’s and shared just what fuels his culinary drive.

Name: James M. Drewery
Title: Sous Chef at Kenny’s Restaurant
Training/Education: U.S. Army and Johnson & Wales University
Years at Restaurant: One year

Who or what inspires you as a Chef?

There are three people in my life who have shaped my career. First my Mother, she constantly told me I can do anything if I set my mind to it. When I was growing up it wasn’t acceptable for a male to be a chef, in fact, people thought cooking was a job for high school dropouts or ex-criminals. Now, there are numerous cooking shows featuring celebrity chefs. Thanks, mom! Secondly, my aunt and grandmother have inspired me. They taught me the basics of cooking — they are awesome cooks. I would hear people rant and rave about their cooking, expressing, “Man, you put your foot in it!” (An expression used in the South, meaning the food was really good).

What’s your most popular dish(es)?

The Barbecue Ribs, Chicken, Baked Beans and Cornbread, to name a few.

Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request?

Yes, the Smothered Chicken.

What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received as a Chef?

I love it when people tell me that I’m an awesome cook, but the highest compliment I can receive here at Kenny’s is from my staff. Since I’ve been working at Kenny’s, the staff has embraced me and though we are from different cultures and backgrounds we have become one big family. Cooking at Kenny’s isn’t about one person, it’s a team. And although I’ve created some new dishes, Kenny’s Restaurant is known for its classic entrees, for example, Korean Fried Chicken and Chinese Chicken Salad. I learned to prepare those classics from the longtime kitchen staff of the Restaurant. There are a lot of people behind the scenes preparing, cooking, serving, making sure that the customer enjoys a favorable dining experience, and they also deserve recognition.

If you could serve food to a celebrity, who would it be and why? What dish would you serve?

I would love to cook for G. Garvins. He’s an Afro-American Chef that gained notoriety for his simplistic approach to cooking. Whether you are an experienced chef or a person who wants to learn the basics, his book can teach you. I also admire him because of his desire to work with under privileged kids. He started the foundation called, “One Bite at a Time” for kids ages 16–19, and it gives them the ultimate culinary experience. For seven days, these kids learn not only kitchen skills, but how to run the restaurant from the front to the back of the house. My favorite quote from G. Garvin is, “There are no limits to what you can get, but you have to forge it yourself.”

I would serve him Wild Rice Lobster, Crab and Sausage Jambalaya and my Sweet Potato Cheesecake.

Kenny’s Restaurant

Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St., Honolulu
841.0931
Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-11 p.m.