Grind Time: Stage lifts curtain on new era
BY JASON GENEGABUS / email@example.com
A select group of VIP guests joined Honolulu Design Center owner Thomas Sorensen on Thursday for a lavish, seven-course meal that celebrated the redesign of Stage Restaurant — a “newly inspired Front of House,” according to an invitation — and the return of executive chef Ron De Guzman to the kitchen.
“Beyond Wicked” was a private debut of the new Stage, which will continue to update its “sets and props” in the coming months as De Guzman simultaneously introduces changes to the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus. Thursday’s VIP meal served as a showcase for the Leeward Community College graduate, who is back in the kitchen at Stage following stints at Sam Choy’s Seafood and Grill and the yet-to-open Sky Bar at the Top of Waikiki.
HERE’S WHAT Chef De Guzman served guests on Thursday night:
THURSDAY’S EVENT also showcased the work of four international artists: James Chiew, Jordi Gomez, Jean Raphael and Maximillian Wiedemann. According to Sorensen, he discovered their work while in Germany for a furniture trade show.
“I was walking the halls and I saw this exhibit of the best photography I’ve ever seen,” he said. “And I said, ‘I must have it for Stage Restaurant.’ So I put a collection together.
“I was just in awe. What grabbed me was the intensity and the size of the artwork.”
Raphael and Wiedemann’s work will appeal to pop culture fans, while the size and scope of Chiew and Gomez’s photography will cause you to stop and stare in amazement. Sorensen said pieces will range in price from $1,500 to about $5,000 once everything has arrived in Hawaii; the art on display during Thursday’s dinner was hung by Sorensen himself earlier this week after he spent $7,000 to have it shipped via air freight.
“I couldn’t wait to get them in,” Sorensen said. “They are gorgeous … on the wall, they’re dramatic. Absolutely dramatic and fun.
“This was my vision for Stage when we built the building in ’07. I wanted to make it a community house, an art exhibit, a place where you just come and dream. … This is a place to show off and just bring a little bit more (excitement) into Hawaii.”
Sorensen said the remaining artwork is en route to Honolulu and will be here in time for an art exhibit on May 1. Everything on display will be available for purchase, he added.
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.