Koloa boy fulfills a dream at Keoki’s

PO‘IPU — Koloa native Jesse Anacleto’s dream came true last month at Keoki’s Paradise in the Po‘ipu Shopping Village.

TS Restaurants, the owner of Keoki’s, announced the promotion of Anacleto to executive chef at the popular eatery in the Po‘ipu Shopping Village.

Grant Carnes, a product of Le Cordon Bleu program at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz., was named the sous chef.

Anacleto and Carnes met at Keoki’s when Carnes came to Kaua‘i to expand his knowledge of the TS Restaurant operation from a management perspective under Chef Cory Dotario and Alex Amorin as an assistant sous chef.

He left with his newfound knowledge to open new doors when he opened Duke’s Beach House at North Ka‘anapali Beach on Maui in November 2009, where he was promoted to sous chef.

“Grant’s role in the opening of Duke’s Beach House helped the restaurant establish a sense of place among the other TS Restaurants on Maui,” said Manette DeCosta, marketing manager of Keoki’s, in an email. “But he wanted to somehow get back to Kaua‘i and when Jesse accepted the job as Executive Chef at Keoki’s, Grant was able to transfer back to the Garden Island to assist Jesse as Sous Chef.”

Carnes’ opportunities and career with TS Restaurants started with a three-month internship with the Le Cordon Bleu program, arriving at Duke’s Waikiki in February, 2005 where he started as a food runner for the Duke’s buffet.

Besides learning the ins and outs of the industry, Carnes developed a love for Hawai‘i, and following his internship was offered a permanent position as lunch cook.

But his quest for knowledge and his love for food and the satisfaction it brought people, Carnes juggled working nights at Duke’s Waikiki and pursuing a business degree, progressing to become a head line cook in the main dining room before coming to Duke’s Kaua‘i as an Assistant Sous Chef.

Anacleto started with TS Restaurants in 1999 as a lunch cook at Duke’s in Huntington Beach, Calif.

A year later, he was promoted to kitchen supervisor, assisting the Executive Chef and Sous Chef at Duke’s in Huntington Beach, and within a year, was promoted to Banquet Manager at Duke’s in Malibu, Calif.

His skyrocketing career with TS Restaurants hit another plateau, when in 2001, he accepted a promotion to Sous Chef while still maintaining his responsibilities as the Banquet Manager.

In August, 2005, Anacleto was ready to come back to Kaua‘i  to be closer to his family and friends and accepted a position as head line cook at the original Duke’s Canoe Club at Kalapaki Bay.

The goal of becoming an Executive Chef with TS Restaurants burned strong in his heart and he continued to demonstrate his passion for that dream through his efforts at Duke’s Kaua‘i.

Those efforts bore fruit when he was offered a position as Executive Sous Chef at Keoki’s Paradise in Po‘ipu, bringing him full circle, his dream almost in hand.

With the announcement, Anacleto’s dream is blossoming and he hopes to maintain the highest standard of TS Restaurants at Keoki’s with the help of Carnes, Corporate Executive Chef Scott McGill and the staff.

DeCosta said Anacleto plans on conducting regular food tastings to examine new concepts and trends in the culinary arts industry and his love for food and passion for excellence will be seen and tasted by local residents and visitors throughout the year.

“The friendship and teamwork between Jesse and Grant will allow Keoki’s to move forward productively and continue to be a staple among Kaua‘i’s South Shore restaurants,” DeCosta said.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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