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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hawaii Rising Star chef awards announced

Photo courtesy of

Charcuterie platter at Salt Kitchen and Tasting Bar. named two Rising Star chefs at Salt: Quinten Frye and Doug Kocol

Some of our local chefs have joined the ranks of Joshua Skenes of Saison in San Francisco and Stephanie Izard of the Girl and the Goat in Chicago. For the first time,, a restaurant industry online magazine, visited Hawaii and picked a handful of Oahu, Big Island and Maui chefs to receive its Rising Star awards (chefs who have less than 10 years of experience as an executive chef and are under 40). The visit alone is validation that Hawaii, largely ignored by national food publications for the past decade or so, may be back on the culinary map.

Our local Rising Stars:

The chefs
Christopher Kulis, Capische? (Maui)
Andrew Le, The Pig and the Lady (Oahu)
Cameron Lewark, Spago (Maui)
Nick Mastrascusa, Beach Tree (Big Island) 
Wade Ueoka, Alan Wong’s (Oahu) 
Jojo Vasquez, The Plantation House Restaurant (Maui)

Pastry chefs
Michelle Karr-Ueoka, Alan Wong’s (Oahu)
Elizabeth McDonald, Honu Seafood & Pizza (Maui)

Sustainability chef (a chef that embraces sustainability)
Quinten Frye, Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar (Oahu)

Doug Kocol, Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar (Oahu)
(Kocol also received an award for charcuterie excellence)

Concept chef
Sheldon Simeon, Star Noodle (Maui)

Community chef (a chef with roots within his local culinary community and dedicates time to charity work/community outreach)
Mark Noguchi, Pili Hawaii Catering (Oahu)

Other awards:


Ed Kenney, Town, Uptown Events (Oahu)

David Newman, Pint + Jigger (Oahu)

Congratulations to all the chefs! For more details on why these chefs were chosen, visit

And of course, what are chef awards without a grand ol' party? The winners will be cooking at the Rising Stars Revue, hosted by Vikram Garg at the Halekulani. Some of the dishes slated: Ed Kenney's Cervena Venison Pipikaula with Bud Bucket Ice (yeah, you read that right), Andrew Le's pho with betel nut leaf-wrapped pork sausages, and Jojo Vasquez's lamb rack with eggplant puree and chickpea cake.

I'll be emcee-ing the event, so I'll see you there!

$95/$125 VIP, which includes a private reception. 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 4 at Halekulani. Tickets available at

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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