Our Story

Dean Shinagawa - Chef / Owner

Kari Aholelei- Office Manager


Aloha!! My name is Dean Shinagawa and I am the Chef/Owner of Kama’aina Grindz .

I was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii where I first got a taste for the culinary arts from my mother. I attended Kalani High School and remember always loving home economics and feeling at home in the kitchen.  After graduation I started working at the Yum Yum Tree where I had my first official cooking position.  It was here that I quickly discovered that the hospitality industry is where I wanted to be.  Over the next few years I worked at various restaurants on the east side of Oahu and realized that food was my passion.  I completed my culinary apprenticeship at the prestigious Kahala Hilton Hotel.  Soon after graduation I ventured to Saskatchewan, Canada on a one year culinary exchange between the American Culinary Federation and Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks where I earned a Gold Medal in SaskCuisine ’95 in the category of Five Course Gastronomique.

I moved to Seattle in 1995 where I became Sous Chef of Piatti Restaurant in the University Village. After one year there I missed cooking the Island Flavors I grew up with. This is when I met famed Chef and restaurateur Roy Yamaguchi who taught me how to blend the classic culinary training with the bounty and flavors of Hawaii. I was finally “home” in Seattle!! I was appointed Chef of Roy’s Seattle in the Westin Hotel where I worked for six years.  In 2003 I left Roys and moved on to become the Chef/GM of Tulalip Bay Restaurant at the Tulalip Casino. In 2007 I was fortunate enough to be invited to cook at the famed James Beard House in New York and over the next few years, we were awarded with many accolades including the DiRona Award, ISante award for Most Innovative and recently the AAA Four Diamond Award.

All chefs dream of having their own restaurant where they can express themselves through their food. Kama’aina means ( Kama )“child” and (aina) “land”, child of the land. “Grindz” is a Hawaiian slang term for “eat”, Let’s go grind means Let’s go eat. “Kama’aina Grindz” is my interpretation of food that I grew up eating and would like to share with you. Hawaiian food is a melting pot of many cultures and has always been a part of my life, but the Northwest is my home. Let me take you on a journey to Hawaii utilizing fresh ingredients with a touch of creativity to feed your ever changing palate. 



Chef Dean