Home Food & Drink Hawaii Regional Cuisine Part 4 – A New Beginning

Hawaii Regional Cuisine Part 4 – A New Beginning

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Written by Evan Freeman, Translated by Mami Yamazaki


24 years ago, a dozen young chefs gathered on Maui for the first “Hawaiian Cooking Symposium” later to be renamed Hawaii Regional Cuisine at the insistence of Chef Sam Choy.

24年前, 12人のシェフがマウイ島に集結し、初めてハワイアンクッキングシンポジウムを開催し、その後シェフサム·チョイ氏によりハワイリージョナルキュイジーヌと改名した。

hrc5 One of Roy's first restaurants. Photo: Roy Yamaguchi via Honolulu Magazine

One of Roy’s first restaurants. Photo: Roy Yamaguchi via Honolulu Magazine

Chef Roy Yamaguchi was already making a name for himself with his popular restaurant Roy’s in Hawaii Kai which would later help him win a James Beard Award, the first for Hawaii, and a respected award honoring American cuisine.
既にハワイカイにあるレストラン「ロイズ」で名を馳せていたシェフ ロイ・ヤマグチ氏は、ハワイで初のアメリカのキュジーヌ界で名誉あるジェームスベアード賞を受賞した経験もある。
The other chefs were talented and successful, but weren’t famous yet. Sam Choy was cooking for a bowling alley in Kona at the time, Alan Wong was the chef of a hotel and a restaurant on the Big Island, Chef Mavro was the executive chef at the Halekulani. Soon that would change.

Shep Gordon and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger sampling Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Photo: Shep Gordon via Honolulu Magazine



Shep Gordon is a name you are likely unfamiliar with. Although if you are a rock fan you may have heard of Alice Cooper who was massively popular from the late 60’s to the 80’s. You may also have heard of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Shep Gordon was the man behind much of their fame and many others in film and music up until the early 90’s before retiring to Maui.


Shortly before retiring to Maui however, Shep Gordon had started the celebrity chef movement which had spurred on numerous cooking shows, advertising deals, cook books and more that continues to this day. It was off of this success that Shep Gordon was aide these chefs in their mission to add food to the list alongside the sun, sand, and surf thatHawaii is known for.


The only problem was that there were very few fresh ingredients being produced in Hawaii. Hawaii was receiving most of its food by ship from the main land, and while Hawaii is still mainly dependent on food importation, the growth of the local agriculture industry now provides fresh fruits and vegetables in large part because of the demand created by these chefs.


It is because of these chefs that you can now eat Manoa lettuce, Waialua chocolate, Hamakua mushrooms, Big Island Kuahiwi beef, and many more.


Alan Wong 1996 Hale Aina Awards. Photo: Honolulu Magazine

Alan Wong 1996 Hale Aina Awards. Photo: Honolulu Magazine