Albert and I married in Hana, Maui in 1986. Honeymooning a month after our November wedding, we chose Volcano Village on the Big Island. At our Bed and Breakfast accommodations and during our walks and picnics in the National Park, we made a life changing decision. We would give up our former careers…Albert as a 30 year veteran of the film industry, me as a Honolulu high school psychology teacher.
The big questions were: What career path to follow and maybe do together and where?
In a delightful conversation with our B&B hostess, Joanne mentioned that Volcano Village really needed a restaurant. Albert and I didn’t take that advice seriously… neither of us knew anything about running a restaurant. We were thinking along the lines of “country inn”, places we had stayed in New Hampshire when visiting my son at Dartmouth College. Joanne, B&B hostess, baker, cook and realtor showed us the former Volcano Lodge. This magnificent property was once a YMCA camp built in the 30’s and looked like a cross between a large Craftsman house and a Big Island plantation manager house. A small lunch restaurant in the 60’s, Volcano Lodge closed in the early 70’s and served as Bill and Virgina Dicks (the owners’) home for 14 years.
Upon entering the large main room of the Lodge, we stood in awe of a soaring vaulted ceiling and a magnificent stone fireplace. Wow! Both of us said “This space belongs to the world”. And our plan was hatched. And yes! we would have to learn about running a restaurant.
In our late 40’s, neither of us felt we had time to return to school to learn another career. We opted for learning as we plunged! Buy the property, read read read books on restaurants, go to auctions to buy used equipment. Talk to bankers, architects, County health, planning and building departments. Learn about water catchment (now termed water harvesting) and cesspools (now septic systems). BOY! Was this different than city living!
Every so often I would ply Albert with questions: who was to cook and what would our menu look like and how would we figure all that out? I was a decent cook but never aspired to cook for volumes of customers. Albert didn’t know anything about cooking.
He assured me everything would fall into place. AND one day it did. A young mustached 30 something man entered our front door and said he was here to be our Chef! Huh? But he was talented and energetic and had tons of ideas. We hired him. Matt, our kitchen angel.
By 1988, we were finally armed with all permits, renovations, equipment, Matt and lots of chutzpah. We opened in March of 1988.
However, restaurant demands were more intense than we anticipated and Albert realized he needed more hands on education to run a kitchen. By 1989 we were off to Culinary School in the Dordogne Valley, France. Intense! Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Cooking, tasting,reading, grabbing a nap and back to cooking, tasting and reading. Intense! In between school, we sampled foods from all over the region. Then spent five days in Paris eating in well known bistros, cafes, and restaurants. Heavenly!
Find out more about Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant by visiting our website: http://kilauealodge.com/