Category Archives: History

A Busy Chef

Posted on July 26, 2013 by admin
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Going non-stop in these hot days of summer. I’ll be at Real Beer Fest this weekend where I’ll be baking up my Big Isle Beef Cakes, come have a drink with me and taste these bad boys. Cooking it up at the Touch of Iolani the following Saturday. On Friday August 16th I’m doing a demo for the Made in Hawaii Festival at the Blaisdale. We should have our newly bottled Lilikoi Salad Dressing launching for sale at this event! All while running a busy kitchen during the craziest time of year. Needless to say I got lot’s going on so I'm going to make this short. Just wanted to check in and give you an update. Follow the links if you want to come and see me at any of these. Aloha... Read more

Locally Grown

Posted on April 27, 2013 by admin
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[caption id="attachment_117" align="alignright" width="584"] Nalo Farms, a local farm on Oahu where we get a lot of our produce.[/caption] Locally grown and raised is the big trend right now and that’s a wonderful thing. It’s how it was in Hawaii for millennia.  It’s a return to an authentic past. The resources and spices and plants and vegetables of your local region are utilized. It just makes more sense, it’s fresh, it’s supporting local farming and it’s healthier. Take it one step further, if animal husbandry was more common there possibly wouldn’t be things like swine flu for example. When killing a pig or any other animal, for that matter, and taking direction from the worlds pauper cuisines, you wouldn’t waste any of it. If I could raise a pig and chickens without pissing my neighbors off then I would! What we do grow at home right now is an herb garden with basil and rosemary chili peppers, Hawaiian and Korean peppers, bananas, papayas, avocados, yuzu tree (no fruit yet), calamansi, mango tree, tangerine tree, trying to get a taro garde... Read more

It’s the Sauce, Stupid

Posted on April 13, 2013 by admin
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A sauce is often the last thing you taste, that’s why they are important. Designing sauces is a lifelong journey. We make our sauces from scratch at Tiki’s. The most interesting thing in my apprenticeship was learning how to make sauces. The Saucier that I trained under, Mark Brathwaite at Copley Plaza Hotel, was from the island of Barbados and learned mostly from French and German Chefs on Cruise Ships. He had long dark dreadlocks and sported a new Lincoln Town Car and could sing like a nightingale.  It was the 80’s and he was in a Reggae band in Boston.  He was SO into what he did, his sauces and his music. That’s the wonderful thing about this trade; it’s so eclectic. I remember we would taste things and we’d make gallons of sauce based off those tastes for the high-end Copley Plaza and the Back Bay Hilton. They were sister hotels with the Park Plaza in New York City. You gotta understand the components salt, pepper, acid, sweet, sour, sugar; your basic flavors. What kind of spice component? Bags of Lobster bodies, 50 pound bags of onions... Read more

The Choices We Make

Posted on January 11, 2013 by admin
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It’s funny, maybe terrifying when you think how the choices you make now affect your life in the future. “Long and treacherous is the path of the straight and narrow.” When I was 20 the 1989 economy was going south, especially where I grew up in Massachusetts. Tourism wasn’t that big out there except for pockets like Cape Cod and such. Restaurants were closing left and right. I had developed some really close connections, one being with Kent Bacon.  I had worked with him in Massachusetts at a restaurant on a lake.  He’s a Korean adoptee that reconnected with his biological mother in Hawaii, he was my first experience with Asian culture, the first that would turn out to be many. So my high school buddy, Mark and I decided to take the plunge as the options became less and less for me in MA. We moved to Oahu seeking a grand adventure with Kent and Janice’s (his wife’s) help. We had nothing to lose! Mark and I sold our cars, saved a few grand and left. When I was young planning for the future wasn’t a consideration. Little did I know how th... Read more

Becoming A Chef

Posted on November 11, 2012 by admin
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I knew in 8th grade that I was going to become a chef. I love to cook. My Mom taught me and my Dad, who died when I was eight, had taught her. I was the youngest in my Italian family of four siblings making cooking more fun than a responsibility. What I remember about my father was his passion. His passion for cooking, his passion for life! My most vivid memories of him were from four to seven. They took place on Sundays. All day Sunday this 6’4” 230 pound larger then life “spaccone” would be in the kitchen, singing opera, Mario Lanza style, cooking tomato sauce (gallons of it), making meatballs and watching cartoons with us. Those meatballs were wonderful, he would always make one gigantic meatball. I miss those meatballs, I still don’t know how he did them exactly. My mother would say, “put some gawlic in thea”. Since he’d make gallons of this thick bubbling tomato sauce taking hours to neutralize the acids he would sear these meatballs and throw them in the sauce to braise them. It would make for these beautiful, just fall apart meatballs. ... Read more