Business in Focus

Meet the Makers – Chef Russell and Chef Lydell from 3660 on the Rise, Honolulu

Welcome to Meet the Makers 2019, where we will meet all sorts of Makers from all industries. Hospitality, beauty, arts and more!

I’m so excited for this year, as I just love bringing another side of the maker to you all.

Today, we are chatting with Chef Russell and Chef Lydell from 3660 on the Rise which is one of the most incredible restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of dining at in Hawaii.

I will have a separate post on my dining experience, which as I mentioned was incredible. I thoroughly recommend if you are in Honolulu to grab and Uber and head on over for a night of incredible food. I didn’t get to meet Chef Russell and Chef Lydell in person, however all the wait staff that served us on our visit were friendly, attentive and explained the food in such a way I could have enjoyed the whole menu!

R. I wanted to start by thank you both for an incredible evening back in November. The food we enjoyed was incredible and full of flavour. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Chef R & L: We take local ingredients and flavours and try to interpret them in a new way, where it is still recognisable to or local guests but with a 3660 spin on it. We also like to see what the continental US and other countries are offering.

R. I loved the way you have done this with the Lilikoi Creamsicle Tart, those meringue pieces and Graham Cracker dust was the perfect combo! 

If you weren’t running the business and money was no object, what would you be doing?

Chef R: Travel the world eating and drinking wine!

Chef L: Take 3 months off then casually work in a kitchen with no responsibility!

Ahi Katsu

R. Sounds like a wonderful dream, hopefully you still get a little downtime to indulge when you can. 

What lead you to starting the business?

Chef R. It was a progressive process where I started at the Plaza Club and decided to take the leap of faith and start my own restaurant. It was at about the same time that the Hawaii regional cuisine was coming to fruition. I also had a great clientele that following me from my time at the Plaza Club.

R. I bet its been interesting watching the food industry evolve, I know that here within Australia the cafe movement and “fine-dining” brunch scene is moving at a swift pace.

In any business, there comes the good with the bad. How do you deal with negativity within the business?

Chef L: We like to take any feedback and use it as a learning tool to move forward. We always thank our guests for their input, good or bad, as they are the ones that keep us working harder to improve our food and service.

Pan Roasted Breast of Chicken

R: After dining with you, I can see how serious you all take customer service. As I mentioned, our server, and all the staff, were wonderful!

What does any given day look like for you both?

Chef R & L: Chef Lydell’s day starts around noon, where he does the butchering of the meat and first for the evening guests to the dining and banquet rooms. The day goes on with prepping for the evening service as well as talking with potential & current vendors he works with. It’s then onto working behind the line for dinner service. After dinner service is done, he does his daily ordering for the next day.

Chef Russell’s day usually starts in the afternoon also where he discusses menu ideas and overseas the banquet preparation and service, when there are events scheduled. He also checks on the accounting side of the business to make sure the purchasing is kept to a minimum.

R. Busy, busy! Any tips for those wanting to start their own restaurant or cafe?

Chef R: Prepare to work hard and put in long hours. Make sure you have a solid business plan and not deviate from it. If your friends and family ask you to help, take is as much as you can.

Grilled Fillet of Beef Tenderloin

R. Solid advice, having a sound business plan is key. Is the use of organic ingredients important to the business?

Chef L: It’s important but not a back-breaker if we can’t have it. Hawaii is such a small island that to have the organic farms supply all of the restaurants, there wouldn’t be enough to go around. We like to keep our costs to our guests to a reasonable price, so we don’t use too many organic products. This keeps our costs competitive but affordable as well.

R. That’s an incredibly reasonable point you have made, in terms of resources, and I know I was intrigued when I learnt that quite a lot of produce is generally sourced from the mainland for the Hawaiian people.

Are you working on anything new or exciting at 3660 on the rise?

Chef R & L: We have just debuted a new menu with some very exciting dishes, such as Fire Roasted Spanish Octopus and Kabayaki Dashi Broiled Butterfish Brochette.

Fire Roasted Spanish Octopus.jpg
Fire Roasted Spanish Octopus

R: Oh delicious, they sound wonderful. I am still dreaming of your classic, Ahi Katsu – heaven!

Who has been the most influential person to you and your business?

Chef L: Chef Russell has been the driving force in menu development and how to run a business for 26 years!

R. How do you both manage to keep up with the modern-day food trends?

Chef R & L: A lot of research is done with industry magazines, tv and even vendors showing us new products.

Grilled Garlic Marinated Colorado Lamb Chop

R. I recently came across a wonderful magazine called Hospitality Magazine and it has great articles about what is happening within the Australian food scene – such a handy resource.

Outside of running 3660 on the Rise how do you both like to enjoy your downtime?

Chef R: Travelling and golf are activities that I like to do for relaxation.

Chef L: Spending time with my kids as much as I can.

R. What would you say if your favourite part of the day?

Chef R: At the end of the day when I get home and I can decompress after a long day’s work.

Chef L: Coming in to do the butchering, it’s quiet and no one is around, plus I can blast my music!

Seared Foie Gras

R. Gratitude is so important, how do you practice it within the kitchen?

Chef R & L: Always say “please” and “thank you” to the kitchen and front of house staff. I also like to make some after work pupus (appetisers) for them.

R. That’s a wonderful trait to show your staff, here in Australia, kindness within the hospitality industry is rare.

R. Just like that we have come to our final question, what is your favourite food?

Chef R; Japanese food

Chef L: Ramen

R. I absolutely love ramen too, hopefully one day I can travel to Japan and try it! Thank you both for taking some timeout to tell us a little more about yourselves.

As I mentioned, this is one restaurant you must check out while in Honolulu. To my fellow Australians, beat the Waikiki crowds by heading to 3660, trust me it is worth it!

You can contact with 3660 on the Rise via their website or via instagram @3660ontherise.

Have a wonderful week all,


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