Russell cites his grandparents and his parents, as his influences for cooking. His grandfather on his father’s side was from China, where they didn’t have refrigerators. What they had to eat was whatever they had bought that day. So he preferred to go to Oahu’s Chinatown every morning to shop for fresh items of food such as meats, poultry, and vegetables. Every day, Russell’s Grandfather would prepare three or four exotic and traditional Chinese dishes for supper and as a child Russell would get to help him in the process.
Russell’s Grandmother from his mother’s side was different, however. She was born in Hawaii and more Americanized. She cooked different varieties of foods from Chinese to more local Island favorites, to typical American plates. Russell’s Grandmother had an acute sense of taste and would be able to recreate any type of cuisine that they had tried at restaurants and be able to tell exactly what was in them. Russell to this day relies on her tips on how to prepare different types of food.