Kaneohe Ranch

Kailua Kitchen Made

A variety of kitchenware at Executive Chef.

March 20, 2012
By Sarah Pacheco | Photos by Nathalie Walker
Go! Kailua Magazine

If it slices, dices, pours, scoops or whips, just head to Executive Chef for that hard-to-find kitchen gadget. Hawai‘i’s premier “tool store for cooks” has made quite a name for itself since opening in Ward Warehouse in 1981, gaining a long list of fans with its wide selection of cookware, bakeware, barware, cutlery and more.

Building on its wild success in Honolulu (at Ward Warehouse), the kitchen wonderland opened a second location in Kailua on the day before Thanksgiving last year. The storefront is located at 629 Kailua Road in the newly constructed Kailua Town Center, fittingly enough right next door to the future Whole Foods Market.

“Whole Foods was a big draw for me because their customers and my customers are the same,” says Executive Chef owner Jim Russo.

“We’d been looking at (opening a store in) Kailua for many years, but I was a little frightened to make that big of a move over the hill,” he says. “But then my real estate agent found out what Kaneohe Ranch was doing in preparing the area for Whole Foods … Kailua has really grown, and you’ve got developers who are interested in making the town better for the people who live in the area, and I couldn’t think of a better landlord than Kaneohe Ranch. They’ve helped us all along the way, been very supportive, and it’s been all good so far.”

According to Russo, once Whole Foods opens later this year, the two stores will work closely together; in fact, Russo already has spoken with the natural/organic food chain about holding in-store demos of products and is excited to work more with the company in the future.

“We’re very happy so far, and I think we’re going to be happier once Whole Foods opens,” he says. “I think it’s going to be a real good fit. We can all get fat!”

Until then, customers can flex their retail muscles by shopping the 4,559-square-foot space for everyday kitchen essentials from highly coveted brands like Le Creuset, All-Clad, Wusthof, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Wilton and Nordicware, just to name a few. Additionally, Executive Chef carries the island’s largest quantity of specialty items such as cookie cutters, aprons, trivets, salt and pepper mills, vegetable peelers, zesters, avocado slicers, pineapple corers, melon slicers and much, much more.

“Gadgets are like our middle name; that’s where are strength is,” says Kelli Furushima, Executive Chef general manager and store buyer.

“We’ve got about 15,000 different items in the store,” Russo adds. “A lot of times chains will downsize for a smaller town, but we didn’t. We’re carrying everything at the Kailua Executive Chef as we are at the Honolulu location. We didn’t cut the inventory down.” In order to keep that inventory stocked with the latest and greatest in culinary creations, Executive Chef sends in-store buyers to national housewares shows each year.

“Usually our problem is figuring out what not to order because there’s so many new items,” Russo says with a chuckle. “You know, Picasso once said, ‘Build me a museum and I’ll fill it.’ With kitchenware it’s kind of like that—we could have a 10,000-square-foot store and we could probably fill it. There’s just no end to what’s available for the kitchen.”

Executive Chef Kailua

629 Kailua Road
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
888-4874 | www.executivechefhawaii.com

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