Take a Bite: Andaz chef wins Hyatt competiton
BY NADINE KAM / firstname.lastname@example.org
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is creating some restaurant buzz across North America by touting their chefs through The Good Taste Series, an “Iron Chef”-style competition (excluding executive chefs) that underscores the hotel chain’s commitment to supporting the next generation of culinary stars.
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa was host to one of 12 regional competitions on Friday; out of seven contenders, Gary Johnson, lead supervisor of Ka’ana Kitchen at Andaz Maui at Wailea, emerged the victor for Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. He won a $500 cash prize, plus a trip back to Maui (ha!) to represent Hawaii in the national championship taking place on Nov. 4 at Andaz. I’ll be watching to see how he fares in the nantional competition in the fall.
In addition to Johnson, chefs nominated to participate in the competition were:
» Audrey Spence, Chef de cuisine at Urbane Restaurant at Hyatt Olive 8 (Seattle)
» Rebecca House, Sous chef at the Hyatt Regency Calgary
» Gevin Utrillo, Chef de cuisine at Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
» Jon Matsubara: Chef de cuisine at Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
» Jeffrey Coil: Banquet supervisor at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue
» Reno Rodriguez: Banquet chef at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
The chefs were tasked with creating three dishes for a panel of judges that including David Nadelman, Hyatt Area Vice President/Hawaii; chef Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe; Conrad Nonaka, director of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific; and a wildcard judge chosen from the audience.
The three dishes involved a creative breakfast option, a lunch offering, and a dish that would appeal to children. To the chefs’ credit, timing was tight, with delivery of dishes scheduled five minutes apart. They all delivered, to the second!
I was able to photograph a handful of dishes, and it was clear the chefs really had fun with the children’s challenge, with ideas parents could also use to entice their keiki to enjoy more vegetables.
Also part of the evening’s challenges was a Masters of Mix contest sponsored by Market Advantage and Pernod Ricard to recognize up-and-coming local bartenders from Tiki’s Grill & Bar, Uncle Bo’s, Duke’s Waikiki, The Pig & The Lady, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki and Pint & Jigger.
Alejandro Alvarado of Tiki’s Grill & Bar won the audience-judged competition.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.