“Sponsoring this lab is a big event for our whole family,” says Valerie Hata. “We want our culinary students to have facilities and opportunities to take them wherever they want to go. I’m so proud of them.”
“And this place looks awesome,” says Valerie’s husband Russell Hata, President and CEO of Y. Hata & Co., Limited. The awesome place is the new Y. Hata & Co. Advanced Pacific Regional Cuisine Lab at the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, a working kitchen with eight complete cooking stations for Hawai‘i’s next wave of chefs.
Forward-thinking in business and giving
Y. Hata has a long history of supporting education in Hawai‘i, and an even longer history of delivering food products and restaurant supplies to Hawai‘i businesses. The company began as a mom-and-pop operation in Hilo in 1913. Founder Yoichi Hata transformed his modest backyard business into a statewide foodservice distribution network. Three generations later, it is still a family business, innovative and forward-thinking.
Forward-thinking means investing in Hawai‘i’s culinary future. Grant Itomitsu, Kapi‘olani CC culinary arts chair, says Y. Hata contributes “in many different ways, through scholarships, sponsoring our nationally competitive teams, and naming this lab. Every student who’s passed through our classrooms has been helped by the Hata family’s generosity.”
Through the years, Y. Hata and the Hata family have energized students on multiple campuses in culinary, business, and athletics programs. For his company’s outstanding accomplishments, service to its community, and exemplary work as an ambassador to his alma mater, Russell Hata will be inducted into the Shidler College of Business Hall of Honor on October 10, 2019.
Bringing people together
“The food service industry has given the Y. Hata family a good life. On behalf of our 400 employees, we believe it’s important to give back,” says Russell Hata. “Food brings people together. I hope the takeaway by our students is simply how to cook good food, but if it somehow brings people and communities together, that’s a bonus. I’m grateful for my family’s chance to contribute.”