Chef de Partie, Alan Wong's Honolulu
featured in the upcoming "Girls Night In" Next Generation Dinner
on September 17, 2014
How did you come up with your Keahole Lobster "Kokoda" appetizer?
It is a take on a more classic Poisson Cru, which is a Tahitian ceviche, using raw fish, coconut milk, and lime juice. "Kokoda" is the Fijian version of this, and I wanted to stick with islander dishes that feature fresh seafood and local ingredients.
What was the inspiration behind your "Fish & Poi" dish?
I wanted to do something with pa'i'ai (pounded Taro), especially with the Taro movement, and locals wanting to learn more about and go back to the Hawaiian roots, back to native food sources. I'm 1/4 Hawaiian, and have lived in Hawaii almost all my life.
Why did you become a chef?
I used to be a housewife, and loved hosting and entertaining meals. I wanted to learn more about cooking, and how to do it the right and proper way, so I went to culinary school. I went to and graduated from Kapiolani Community College (KCC) with Culinary Arts.
What is your favorite part about being a cook?
Definitely, the people. I love the people I work with because to me, they're my second family.
What is your greatest struggle or challenge as a chef?
It is balancing all the commitment it takes to be here in the kitchen while maintaining my "normal" life outside of this kitchen. Success is being able to maintain that balance. I don't have it yet, and am still seeking it, but I definitely make time to spend with my family and friends, to balance out the intensity of the kitchen.
Advice to up and coming chefs? To Foodies and diners?
To chefs, run! Just kidding. Just follow your heart and no matter what you do, give everything. Do your best with your 100% best effort.
To the foodies and diners, travel. Never say no to a new experience, and stay open-minded. This could all change your perspective.