I was reliving my Massachusetts college days (“Why did you decide to go to college in the United States?” “Why do you speak English so well?” etc. etc. etc.) while I was watching John Tyler explain mochi and “Keoni” to the show host on KTVB. I must say that he was uber patient in the face of such questioning. They really liked his butter “moki” too!
I guess such interactions are to be expected. After all, John (actually, he prefers Keoni so Keoni he shall be from here on out) is not in downtown Kakaako but in Boise, Idaho where creations such as butter mochi are not just exotic, they are literally unheard of.
But Keoni is actively working to change all of that. Dubbing himself “Keoni da Kook” he’s volunteered his culinary skills to the Boise Rescue Mission. Reviewing his online pictures of the huli huli chicken, teriyaki, and caramel cut he has prepared in this position make me sure that his clientele of 200+ is both well fed and well satisfied with what he puts on their plates. Keoni calls what he offers “Dining on Donations” because the menu depends upon what is available each day.
Back to his tv show appearance … In it, Keoni appears with his boss, Chef Lou, owner of the Westside Drive-In. For those of you who are fans of Guy Fieri‘s Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, you might recognize the name; the Westside was featured on the show on May 5, 2010. Unfortunately for us, Keoni, didn’t make an appearance then. He has only recently joined the diner’s staff.
Keoni says that he is helping bring an “eclectic cultural theme” to the Westside. As to what that really means? Drop by in the evening when Keoni is working as the dinner chef to find out.
Better yet, maybe we can convince Keoni to help out at our next reunion with a snack or two. Picnic lunch anyone?