And This Year’s Hall of Fame Inductees Are…

10 restaurant industry standouts are honored at the 10th anniversary of the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame gala.


Ten inductees spanning Hawai‘i's diverse restaurant industry were inducted into the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association Hall of Fame on Sept. 19 at the Pōmaika‘i Ballrooms.
Photo: Courtesy of Tom Quach, Hawai‘i Restaurant Association


Many of Hawai‘i’s top restaurateurs, chefs, sommeliers, food producers and culinary educators gathered Sept. 19 to honor 10 new inductees to Hawai‘i Restaurant Association Hall of Fame at the Pōmaikaʻi Ballrooms. (HONOLULU Magazine was one of the sponsors of this event.)


Inducted were the late David Nagaishi (Ocean House, Pounders at the Polynesian Cultural Center), the late Edward Doty (Eagle Distributors, JMD Beverages), Mark Shishido (Wine Director at Alan Wong’s), the late Alicia and Raymond Kam (Alicia’s Market), Mel and Lynn Tanioka (Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering), Jacqueline Lau (Roy’s Hawai‘i), John Morton, Ph.D. (Vice President for UH Community Colleges), Bob and Christine French (Brennecke’s Beach Broiler, Kaua‘i), Aaron Placourakis (President/CEO of TriStar Restaurant Group, JAS Restaurants and AMP Restaurants Ltd.), and Debra Ching and Ric Maiava (Ken’s House of Pancakes, Hawai‘i Island).


Also honored with legacy awards were Zippy’s, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next month, and the 70-year-old Aloha Shoyu.


You can’t have a culinary event without great food, and this year’s gala featured 13 notable chefs preparing small plates at stations in the ballrooms. Called the Chefs of Aloha Dine Around, it boasted dishes by chef Chai Chaowasaree (oxtail soup with bee hoon noodles, Chinese celery, cilantro and jalapeño peppers), chef Ken Mackenzie of Tommy Bahama’s (takaki prime flat iron with wafu sauce and a wasabi-lemon emulsion), chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Pili Group (Maui Nui venison salpicon with salsa verde on a tortilla), chef Goran Steng of Tango’s Contemporary Café (duck confit popsicles with celery root rémoulade and pōha berries), and chef Cyrus Goo of Café Laufer (panna cotta and pots de crème). Proceeds from the benefit support HRA’s scholarship program.


Chef Chai Chaowasaree pours his oxtail soup into a serving bowl. He was one of 13 chefs who provided dishes for the Chefs of Aloha Dine Around.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox


Kare kare-braised beef and oxtail in a savory peanut sauce over coconut rice by chef Freddy Billena of the Pōmaikaʻi Ballrooms.


Chef Ken Mackenzie of Tommy Bahama’s served this takaki prime flat iron with wafu sauce and a wasabi-lemon emulsion.


The Hall of Fame was created 10 years ago by then-director Gail Ann Chew, as a way to honor old-time restaurants and people who have influeunced Hawai‘i’s restaurant industry over the years.


Leonard and Geri Kam of the 67-year-old Alicia’s Market in Kalihi accepted the award for their mom, Alicia Kam, who passed away this summer. She was 89.


“We’ve very proud of her and what she has contributed to the community,” Geri said. “She would have loved it.”


Her legacy, Leonard said, was very simple: “She just wanted to make people happy. She really liked it when people smiled and came back.”


Mel and Lynn Tanioka, the owners of the 38-year-old Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering in Waipahu, felt humbled to be inducted with the other nine honorees.


“It’s not something we expected,” Lynn said.


Ric Maiava and Debra Ching flew in from Hilo to accept their award for Ken’s House of Pancakes, which they bought in 1990. (The 24-hour restaurant itself has been open for almost 50 years.)


“We love Ken’s,” said Maiava, who has decades of experience working in restaurants. “It’s my favorite restaurant I’ve ever worked in.”


The event honored not just established restaurants but less-visible industry folks, as well. Mark Shishido of Alan Wong’s, whom master sommelier Chuck Furuya called a “game-changer,” and Jackie Lau of Roy’s Hawai‘i made this year’s list of inductees.


Shishido has worked at Alan Wong’s for 18 years, serving as wine director. Lau started with Roy’s Hawai‘i when it first opened and has served as executive chef of the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival for the past five years.


“These are two people the next generation should aspire to be like,” Furuya said.


Join us for a starlight soirée celebrating the culinary stars of this year’s Hale ‘Aina Awards! Dine on dishes from 13 top restaurants while sipping on cocktails and enjoying amazing entertainment, all under the stars at the luxurious Royal Hawaiian Hotel. For more information, click here.