9 Things Hawaii Chefs Wished You Knew


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#6 News flash: Valentine’s Day comes every year

“If you know that a big holiday is coming up, one that involves making a restaurant reservation, it’s your fault if you didn’t make it earlier,” says Noguchi. Restaurant staffers “have the best stories about people—I like to call them civilians—who try to pull stunts during the holidays.”

“When it’s the day before Valentine’s Day, if the restaurant you’re calling is full and whoever takes your call apologizes for not being able to satisfy your request, take it as face value that we’re not blowing you off,” says Noguchi. “Successfully serving a capacity restaurant involves a delicate game of balance, filling tables and clearing them at a timely pace, without making the diner feel rushed. If we ‘squeezed’ in everyone that begged and pleaded, not only other diners, but you, too, would suffer less-than-ideal service and food. It really doesn’t matter who you know. If a respectable restaurant is full, it’s full. Restaurants usually try to offer another time slot, a spot on a wait list or maybe the next day. If that doesn’t work for you, it was your fault for not calling earlier. Go see if Denny’s or Zippy’s will squeeze you in.”


#7 Cool your jets

Justin Pardo, chef-partner of Maui’s Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao, wants people to know that, “If you want good food that is cooked properly, tastes good and is as fresh as it can be, it won’t be out in 10 minutes. Good food takes time.” Pardo, a New Yorker who worked in the groundbreaking kitchens of Tabla and Union Square Café, cooks everything to order, and mostly with Maui-grown ingredients, “so 20 minutes to wait for lunch, I don’t think it’s a long time,” he says. “Everyone is on that fast pace. But you’re on Maui, you’re on vacation. Sit back, relax, enjoy the scenery.”

Kevin Hanney agrees: “Not all food can be cooked and served within 10 minutes. It has taken many people many hours to prep the dishes, but sometimes it still will take 15 to 20 minutes to cook for you. The best flavor comes from bone in, shell on, cooking from scratch, which may take a little longer.”

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Honolulu Magazine March 2018
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