Eddie Kim Jr.
As a student, Eddie Kim Jr. earned his degree in engineering. These days, at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, he applies those skills to bartending, synchronizing flavors and temperatures to perfection, and he does it so well that the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association (HHLA) recently named him Food and Beverage Person of the Year.
Headquartered at the Hyatt Waikiki for 35 years, Kim is responsible for many of the hotel’s signature cocktails. He has helped craft the Hawaiian Mojito (mai tai with mint and lime), Da Hawaiian (vodka and Red Bull with a hint of guava juice), Ty Ku Cocktail (sake and Mandarin orange) and a dozen different martinis like the Pineapple Express (pineapple-infused vodka), Chocolate Martini (chocolate vodka, Godiva liqueur and cream), Mango Monkey Berry (vodka, mango and banana liqueur, and cranberry juice), Pure Passion (vodka, passion orange juice, guava and grenadine) and Copa Cabana (vodka, banana liqueur and pineapple juice).
Like an artist, Kim infuses his martinis, mai tais and island spirits with technique, precision and passion. Regulars on the other side of the bar claim that he provides the ultimate drinking experiences while demonstrating a rare ability to balance quality and quantity.
At the same time, HHLA praised Kim for his ability to connect warmly with guests and employees on a daily basis, acknowledging his listening skills, empathy and relatability. All of his contributions have led to long-term guest satisfaction at the hotel, said David Lewin, general manager of Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa.
“Eddie is a model for any business,” Lewin said. “He truly lives up to Hyatt’s mission to provide authentic hospitality and make a difference in the lives of those we touch every day. He is an exceptional employee whose aloha spirit is evident in everything he does. We are proud to have him as a member of our team.”
Hyatt Waikiki food and beverage director Vince Brunetti concurred.
“Everything about Eddie comes naturally because he has found his true calling in life, and he has embraced it with a passion rarely seen so completely in others,” said Brunetti.
HHLA’s annual awards are considered prestigious recognition for members of the hotel and lodging industry throughout the islands. Hyatt Regency Waikiki’s Barbara Branvold was the runner up in the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year category. Honorable mentions also went to Hyatt employees Kaleo Keolanui in the Manager of the Year category and Sheryl Tadaki in the Front Office Person of the Year category.