What New Year’s Resolutions Hawai‘i Chefs are Making

Local chefs are planning big things—personally and professionally—for 2016.
Fourteen local chefs and restaurateurs—and a master sommelier—share their New Year’s resolutions. top row: alan wong, lee anne wong, SHELDON SIMEON, roy yamaguchi, jennifer hee, george mavrothalassitis. second row: mark “Gooch” noguchi, elmer guzman, henry “hank” adaniya. bottom row: bev gannon, peter merriman, chuck furuya, colin hazama, ed kenney.


A lot of us make them, the annual list of resolutions for 2016. The new year brings all this hope and optimism, and we make big plans to change our lives. Eat healthier! Work out more! Watch less The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! We asked a bunch of local chefs, restaurateurs and a very kolohe master sommelier what their plans are for the coming year.


(In alphabetical order)


Henry “Hank” Adaniya, chef/owner, Hank’s Haute Dogs

“I don’t make any new year’s resolutions, but I do an annual cleansing fast to balance out all of my holiday indulgence. I have difficulty holding any abstention for too long, so I pay my dues all at once, then jump, albeit slowly, back into eating with a full-throttle passion.”


Chuck Furuya, master sommelier, Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar

“I endeavor to do more wine education for 2016. Hence, the Wine 101 concept and a German tasting I will be doing for the trade this year.”


Bev Gannon, chef/owner of Hali‘imaile General Store, Joe’s in Wailea, Gannon’s and Celebrations Catering (Maui)

“Work less, eat more caviar, drink more rosé, and head to Barcelona and Paris for an eating frenzy in the spring, Bangkok, Myanmar and Hong Kong in the fall. Now, if only it would come true!”


Elmer Guzman, chef/owner, Poke Stop and Chef Guzman’s Island Cuisine

“We’ve been in business or 12 years and seen a lot of obstacles small businesses have to face. My new year’s resolutions are to strengthen my partnerships with local purveyors because they will be there during the good and bad economic times, bring Poke Stop to the next level where sustainability will play a big part on daily decisions, and spend more time with my family because we have built this successful mini empire and we should take the time to enjoy the benefits.”


Colin Hazama, executive chef, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

“In 2016, you will see a lot of local farms coming forward in bringing new products for locals and chefs. Farmers are slowly noticing that seasonal crops are becoming more common here due to our weather changes and climates. We’ve already seen things like exotic limes, squashes, various baby-root vegetables, kale, Swiss chard, fennel, multiple tomatoes, exotic fruits, cucumbers and onions. Farming is evolving with hydroponics and aquaponics. Micro-herbs, -greens and edible flowers have made a comeback … Food in Hawai‘i will always be evolving. But, to me, the main take is that it’s fresh, local and there is heart and soul put into the food and cuisine we eat.”


Jennifer Hee, chef/promoter of deliciousness, Juicy Brew

“My resolution is to eat at least half as well as I feed others. I put so much of myself into creating wholesome, balanced, plant-based meals for customers, but I am often so exhausted when I return home, I don’t have the energy to eat mindfully—and often just sit on a five-gallon bucket with a bowl of Raisin Bran. And by often, I mean every day. Perhaps getting a table would be a good start.”


Ed Kenney, chef/owner, Town, Kaimukī Superette, Mud Hen Water

“To focus on writing a cookbook. Title: Kuleana.”


George Mavrothalassitis, chef/owner, Chef Mavro

“I’d like to spend more time fishing and eating the fish that I catch.”


Peter Merriman, chef/owner, Merriman’s Restaurants and Monkeypod Kitchen

“To eat more bacon and less kale.”


Mark “Gooch” Noguchi, chef/co-owner, LunchBox and Mission Social Hall & Cafe

“Balance. To be a better husband, father and cook. It’s so easy to forget about balance. It’s just go, go, goooooo.”


Sheldon Simeon, executive chef, MiGRANT and Mala Wailea

“To make an effort to cook more for my own family. I hardly ever cook for my family. If I do, it’s always something easy and very simple. On my days off, we tend to go out to eat. So, this year, I’m cooking for my family.”


Alan Wong, chef/owner, Alan Wong’s Honolulu, The Pineapple Room, Alan Wong’s Shanghai

“We will be celebrating the grand opening of our Shanghai restaurant soon, and we are all looking forward to learning more about the different regional cuisines and unique dishes in China. With every trip, we experience something new, and we are looking forward to expanding our palate memories to bring back lessons and stories to share with our team and our guests. Maybe even some new dishes, too!”


Lee Anne Wong, chef/partner, Koko Head Café

“My resolution this year is to use my free time to forage more and discover more indigenous ingredients.”


Roy Yamaguchi, chef/owner, Roy’s Restaurants, Eating House 1849

“To eat more ramen, Mexican and Cuban food, and learn more about Indian food.”