Eat a Sketch: We Take a Look Inside One of Honolulu’s Top Chef’s Notebooks

One winter dish started with a carrot.


Some chefs sketch out their ideas for new dishes; most don’t.
At Chef Mavro, chef/owner Jeremy Shigekane’s intricate presentations—each of which will end up as a course on one of his tasting menus—begin with a vegetable or fruit. He checks, a site that shows what local farmers are harvesting, and starts from there. One month he might choose liliko‘i, another month eggplant. Then he opens his sketchbook and puts pen to paper.


One winter dish started with a carrot. Shigekane filled a page with sketches interspersed with scribbled ideas for slow-roasted carrot, a carrot reduction, carrot froth and a treatment for the carrot tops. Finally, he decided to pair the carrot with lobster. Like most of his concepts, it went through more than 10 iterations before he was satisfied with the result: Keāhole lobster with lobster oil and lobster jus; carrot that’s roasted, charred and glazed with the carrot reduction, miso-mustard sabayon and fresh liliko‘i. “The sketches are not what the finished dish turns out to be just because the dish doesn’t always end up like that,” Shigekane says. “Sometimes it turns out, sometimes it doesn’t. I think that’s what’s interesting.”

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