PO‘IPU — Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort chef Michael Young said the last time they did this, he and fellow chef Russlyn Morita were the sous chefs, together.
“Now, we can have fun together in the kitchen again,” Young said while delivering a tray of teri beef for the Sheraton-style bento while Morita fished out a tray of hot dogs from another oven in the resort’s kitchen.
Young was working with Chip Bahouth, Sheraton Kaua‘i general manager, Friday as the team of volunteers, primarily the resort’s department heads, assembled 650 to-go meals for the drive-thru meal distribution for the resort’s ‘ohana who were laid off following the arrival of COVID-19.
Approximately 250 associates were left without jobs as the resort shut down in the face of the public-health emergency.
“We’re taking care of everybody,” Bahouth said. “The landscapers, the pool-service people, and others who are directly involved in the resort’s operations. We all wear the same uniform — we’re family. We’re fortunate that our owners are such nice people that they allow us to do this for our associates.”
Young said they started doing this last week, when more than 650 meals were distributed to associates and their families. “Every Friday, there are a group of volunteers who have a lot of time on our hands since we all got furloughed,” Young said. “We get together at the hotel, cooking food for all of our associates and their families before doing a drive-thru pickup. On Good Friday, we gave away more than 650 meals, plus a bunch of Easter baskets — and, everyone got a roll of toilet paper. “We’re just emptying out the freezers and using whatever is on hand,” Young said. “We’re lucky the owners are letting us do this.”
Friday’s meal, a bento box lunch to the specifications of the Sheraton signature, got help from the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, whose truck rolled up with a gallon of milk for every car driving through for the food pickup.
“What is milk without something to go with it?” said Kelvin Moniz, KIFB executive director, who lent his staff and wife’s talents to helping with the distribution. “We were able to get a box of cereal to go along with the milk. What’s next? They need some help with head cabbages for next week’s menu of kalua and cabbage. We might be able to find some of that, too.”