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The Next Generation of Chefs on Oahu

Information about chefs and their restaurants on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC) chefs are passing on to the next generation of chefs, the quest to provide the world with the best of Hawaii's diverse culinary resources from the culture of the people and the bounty of the land and sea.

In 1999 with the solid foundation of HRC set, the next generation of chefs who trained, studied or were inspired by the original 12 founding chefs of HRC, formed a new group called Hawaii Island Chefs (HIC). As an association, they carry on the HRC tradition by nurturing, supporting and encouraging up and coming chefs and culinary programs throughout the state.

The island of Oahu distinguishes itself with 12 of the 15 founding chefs of HIC creating their signature style and fusion. From fine dining to gourmet plate lunches, the chefs remain committed to perpetuating the creativity, excitement and innovation of Hawaii as a premier culinary destination.

HIC have organized, created and developed the resources to provide adequate supply, innovative new products and perpetual use. Community and relationships are important aspects for HIC as they are committed to “Buy Hawaii,” and are respectful of the environment and supply issues.

Many of the chefs form key partnerships with local fisherman and farmers in using the freshest ingredients available without depleting the sources. On Oahu, the Oceanic Institute is reestablishing the moi (Hawaiian white fish) population. Dean Okimoto grows organic greens at Nalo Farms in Waimanalo and shrimp are raised on an aquaculture farm on the North Shore. Other local products incorporated in the chefs' menus include sweet Kahuku corn, coffee, pineapple, mangoes, papayas, seaweed, fish, sea salt, and macadamia nuts, just to name a few.

The HIC movement is back to basics, back to family values, relationships and healthy concepts. The center of family life and the basis of society is sharing a meal with family and friends, which is especially true in Hawaii. From the early Polynesian settlers to the plantation worker immigrants, Oahu has been host to many diverse cultures. As different ethnicities brought their own cuisine, a natural sharing and blending that is still present and thriving today.

HIC's passion for creating dishes, menus and passing on culture comes from their basic human belief in the nurturing of people. They learned from the best, trained under master chefs and noteworthy culinary institutes, developed their own personal styles and pass it on by supporting culinary institutions, schools and events.

Just over 10 years ago, 12 chefs formed the HRC association with a concept that had been brewing more than 10 years prior. The original 12 HRC chefs are Sam Choy, Roger Dikon, Mark Ellman, Amy Ferguson-Ota, Beverly Gannon, Jean-Marie Josselin, George Mavrothalassitis, Peter Merriman, Philippe Padovani, Gary Strehl, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi.

The HIC chefs are Steven Ariel of Alan Wong's Pineapple Room-Macy's West, Chai Chaowasaree of Chai's Island Bistro, Hiroshi Fukui of L'Uraku, Teresa Gannon of Haliimaile General Store, George Gomes of Nick's, Wayne Hirabayashi of Hoku's-Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel, D.K. Kodama of Sansei, Lance Kosaka of Alan Wong's, Jacqueline Lau of Roy's Restaurants, Douglas Lum of Mariposa-Neiman Marcus, James McDonald of Pacific'O and I'o, Mark Okumura of Alan Wong's, Goran Streng of Prince Court-Hawaii Prince Hotel, Russell Siu of 3660 on the Rise and Kakaako Kitchen and Corey Waite of Hapuna Beach Hotel.

The extended group of the next generation of chefs also includes Glenn Chu of Indigo, Elmer Guzman of Sam Choy's, Rodhel Ibey of Kapono's, Patrick Kaanoi of Padovani's Restaurant, Barbara Stange and Wade Ueoka of Alan Wong's, and Mike Wong of Duke's.

In the middle of the Pacific, in the middle of the world, the island of Oahu is perfect for fusing all cultures and culinary styles, making it a world-class culinary destination.

Article provided courtesy of the Oahu Visitor's Bureau

See also:
- Fine Dining Restaurants on Oahu
- Dining on Oahu
- Restaurants on Other Islands

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