Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Photo by Steve Minkowski

23 years ago, fine dining in Hawaii meant going out for steak and lobster.  Tea was by colors… green or black.  Roy’s Restaurant opened in the culinary boondocks of Hawaii Kai.  And a movement was started.  Professionally, it’s been a privilege to grow up in the era of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine.  I have learned from and been sharpened by some of the finest Chefs, Food & Beverage Directors, Sommeliers and food writers.  Collectivley, HRC changed the way we look at food that’s raised, farmed and foraged in the Islands.  The following is taken from a press release by the Hawaii Restaurant Association.

In August 1991, twelve of Hawaii’s most talented chefs from across the Islands gathered on Maui and pioneered a new culinary concept: “Hawaii Regional Cuisine.” The premise was to elevate the culinary experience in Hawaii by featuring the foods of Hawaii’s land and sea into each of the chef’s own distinctive styles of cooking, resulting in exciting, creative presentations and delectable dining experiences . Both collaboratively and individually, they put Hawaii on the international culinary map and inspired-and mentored-generations of talented chefs. The founders of the movement, which include Sam Choy, Roger Dikon, Mark Ellman, Amy Ferguson, Beverly Gannon, Jean-Marie Josselin, George Mavrothalassitis, Peter Merriman, Philippe Padovani, Gary Strehl, Alan Wong, and Roy Yamaguchi, ultimately contributed to a local and regional food movement that continues to gain traction throughout the world. (Hawaii Restaurant Association)