Niki Nakayama: In the kitchen we are neither men nor women

Niki Nakayama became an international food name in 2015 when the Netflix series Chef’s Table dedicated a segment to the Los Angeles–based talent and her restaurant n/naka. In the show, her voice is soft, but her words are bold. Although it would seem she had a head start—her family business is the seafood distributor Unified Seafood Co., and relatives in Japan own a ryokan, where … Continue reading Niki Nakayama: In the kitchen we are neither men nor women

Bruce Bromberg: How he fell for Hawai‘i + the origin of his famed bone marrow

For a Modern Luxury Hawai‘i assignment, I was lucky to be able to interview three chefs participating in this year’s Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, happening Oct. 14–30 on three islands and with more kitchen and bar talent than ever before. I figured most media would be mobbing the new names—especially returning local heroes Chung Chow of New York’s Noreetuh and Ravi Kapur of Liho Liho Yacht … Continue reading Bruce Bromberg: How he fell for Hawai‘i + the origin of his famed bone marrow

Cochon Island: Pig night out at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

“The pig is a magical animal,” said Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon555 at Taste in Kaka‘ako last Wednesday. “You sound like Homer Simpson,” chuckled Lee Anne Wong, who is one of five guest chefs who will cook at Cochon Island, the Hawai‘i version of Cochon 555, on Hawai‘i Island this Saturday. When Lowe launched Cochon 555 in 2008, his original concept was five chefs, five … Continue reading Cochon Island: Pig night out at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

#HFWF13: Reason to go—Floyd Cardoz

Gosh, seems like yesterday that I was mashed in with hundreds of small-plate-grabbing people in the narrow strip of deck around the Modern (then Edition) pool, for the first Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. And now the third one is fast approaching. As much as I dislike elbow-in-face public feeding frenzies (they really bring out the worst in what I assume are human beings), looks … Continue reading #HFWF13: Reason to go—Floyd Cardoz

Hawai‘i gets three candidates in James Beard Awards semifinals

The Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists for the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards are out—and Hawai‘i has three guys on the list! *Drumroll please* The semifinalists are: Rising Star Chef: Quinten Frye, Salt Bar & Kitchen (pictured above) Best Chef: West: Ed Kenney, Town Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional: Chuck Furuya, DK Restaurants Congratulations to all three men—they have worked hard for the honor. … Continue reading Hawai‘i gets three candidates in James Beard Awards semifinals

Plan ahead: Maui Ag Fest, April 6, 2013

Back in April, as a judge at the Maui County Agricultural Festival (aka Ag Fest), I got to play Top Chef with Sheldon Simeon. He was one of 12 Maui chefs paired with a Maui farmer and tasked to create a dish with that farmer’s produce, as part of the festival’s Grand Taste Education Program. Simeon won. And now he actually is on Top Chef—last … Continue reading Plan ahead: Maui Ag Fest, April 6, 2013

New York resto safari: Eleven Madison Park

It’s not often that a restaurant not only has staying power, but actually ascends to food-world pantheon domination at the age of 14. Fourteen! That’s, like, 85 in restaurant years. And venerable Eleven Madison Park has done it, earning a fourth New York Times star in 2009, a third Michelin star last year, and this year taking the Outstanding Chef Award at the James Beard … Continue reading New York resto safari: Eleven Madison Park

Chelsea food tour with Hawaiian Airlines

I’m on day three in New York, part of my #AlohaNYC trip with Hawaiian Airlines. Last night I joined Hawaiian Airlines‘ Jeremy Althof and Asiana Ponciana along with Amuse Bouche blogger and New York food scout Bradley Hawks on a food hop in Chelsea. Bradley won Hawaiian Airlines/Urban Spoon’s contest for best New York food blogger, which means he’s taking the airlines’ new nonstop flight … Continue reading Chelsea food tour with Hawaiian Airlines

Chris Kajioka reunites with Ron Siegel

I feel like I’m working on a soap opera script, following chef Chris Kajioka. Two months after I interviewed him and Mourad Lahlou (see below) in September, the Hawai‘i-born chef went through a tearful divorce (I keed! It was all amicable) and reunited with his old flame Ron Siegel at the Ritz Carlton’s new restaurant Parallel 37 (they gutted the eight-year-old Dining Room). Seigel is … Continue reading Chris Kajioka reunites with Ron Siegel

Mourad Lahlou loves Kaua‘i shrimp (and Chris Kajioka)

Pretend it’s Sept. 28, 2011. Please? Cause that’s when I did this interview with island-grown chef Chris Kajioka and Mourad Lahlou, chef-owner of vaunted, Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant Aziza. OK, the time travel starts…now. SINCE CHRIS KAJIOKA joined Mourad Lahlou’s San Francisco resaurant Aziza in January 2011, the contemporary Moroccan spot has become a sort of pilgrimage stop for Hawai‘i eaters and cooks. And Kajioka … Continue reading Mourad Lahlou loves Kaua‘i shrimp (and Chris Kajioka)