By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
A dessert flan bears the Y. Hata & Co. logo in white chocolate. The company is marking its centennial.
Y. Hata & Co. is marking its 100th anniversary as a wholesaler of dry, chilled and frozen food products, supplying Hawaii's food industry. As they put it, "Every time you quench your thirst at Jamba Juice of sit down to a meal at Zippy's, a burger at Teddy's or a sumptuous spread at Aulani, you're enjoying Y. Hata products."
Additionally, Y. Hata also supplies schools and military personnel daily.
To mark the occasion and in looking forward to the next 100 years, Y. Hata has undergone a 100th birthday renovation and refresh, with restyling by Cathy Lee Style, and held an open house April 3 with pau hana pupu and drinks showcasing some of the company's products.
Included in the revamp is third-generation chairman and CEO Russel Hata's gift to the company's 200 employees, a Google-inspired employee lounge constructed from a pair of shipping containers, and furnished with flat-screen television, game table, dart board and foosball table.
A peek into the new Lounge @ Y. Hata, an employee lounge constructed from two shipping containers and styled by Cathy Lee Designs.
Also foremost in the renovation is the prominent display of the company's core values: Partners first, continuous improvement, ohana empowerment, ohana pride, candid communications, and live aloha, give aloha.
It was nice to see a business with a philosophy of putting people first, and I'm sure a lot of companies could learn from the example. Quite a few guests, after getting the workplace tour, were ready to fill out job applications!
Y. Hata & Co. had humble Hilo origins, starting in Yoichi and Naeko Hata's garage, after the couple immigrated from Japan. The company continues to be run by family. Russell is the son of chairman emeritus Frank Hata, the youngest of Yoichi and Naeko's 10 children.
And the company continues to look forward in ways beneficial to the aina and community, as a supporter of Kapiolani Culinary Institute of the Pacific, sponsor of culinary scholarships and CIP's national teams, and as home to a green, rooftop photovoltaic system.
Also of interest to many people will be the fact that they operate a retail store where anyone can shop for bulk food items, catering-size pans for parties and events, professional knives and cookware.
Among the most popular items are bags of McCormick chicken seasoning ($11.99) for deep-fry chicken and pork, and marinated kalbi, great considerations for your next big back-yard celebration. The shop is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays at 285 Sand Island Access Road.
Congratulations for 100 years of success and the next 100 to come!
Y. Hata's third-generation chairman and CEO Russell Hata, with interior designer Cathy Lee.
Cathy said both genders were thrilled with the lounge, with the female employees immediately seeing it as a place for bridal and baby showers, and the men looking at it as a place to enjoy the Superbowl and other televised sports events.
A table for lunch or board games. All areas reflect Y. Hata corporate colors.
Employees can take a break for darts and board games, but they are never far from posters reflecting the company's mission and core values.
A dry erase board in the lounge provides a place for messages and brainstorming ideas. Outlets provide a place to plug in computers and other personal electronic devices.
A visitor entry also puts core values up front with retro and shoji-like touches reflecting Y. Hata's history and Japanese heritage.
Sitting area in one of the employee lunchrooms. Most of us wished we could live in such an environment.
A stairwell wallpaper poster offers encouragement in striving for the next 100 years of success.
On the menu prepared by Y. Hata executive chef Ernest Limcaco:
Braised Sterling Silver chuck flat jardiniere with roast baby potatoes. There was also
seared Russian scallops in shellfish oil on mesclun, but I guess I was so anxious to try it I forgot to snap a photo.
Confit of Sterling Silver pork belly with lilikoi-mango glaze on foccaccia. The pork was so delicious. In spite of all the TV commercials, I never tried it at Times Supermarket but will be looking for it now! The chuck was also amazingly tender.
Pil pil shrimp on sourdough crostini. It didn't start out spicy, but when someone else told the chef it wasn't spicy enough, they seemed to double up on the chili pepper flakes, so mine turned out to be extra spicy.
The company is also committed to bringing up the next generation of chefs, and among its interns from Assets School are Louie Coronado, left, and Croix Koenig.
I missed these desserts made from Albert Uster Imports mixes when Y. Hata participated in the recent Hawaii Foodbank "Great Chefs" event. At the time I was too full to sample, so was happy for this second chance. Included were a chocolate pots de creme topped with cubed haupia and toasted coconut, and panna cotta topped with champagne jelly.