SPG Resorts Hawaii World-Class Chefs
Chefs at Starwood’s hotels and resorts in Hawaii are the best of the best – respected names in the business with worldwide experience and accolades, recognized as some of the hottest talent in the Islands, unafraid to experiment with new styles and flavors. It’s the SPG Resorts Hawaii culinary team’s mission to ensure that guests leave Hawaii not only with great memories of sun, surf, sand and the culture of aloha, but also with taste buds that have learned how paradise should taste.
Executive Chef Ryan Loo, Twist at Hanohano, Sheraton Waikiki, Oahu
With his kitchen located 30 stories above famed Waikiki Beach, Chef Ryan Loo has elevated his restaurant to new culinary heights with his innovative way of bringing farm to table. Loo was honored in 2002 as the regional recipient of the Commis de Cuisine award in the Chaine des Rotisseurs competition in Hawaii.
Loo graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa after earning his Associate Degree in Food Service from Kapiolani Community College. His career with Starwood began in 1999 at The Royal Hawaiian. Previously he worked at Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel and apprenticed at West Virginia’s famed Greenbrier Resort. In 2007, he joined the Hanohano Room as Sous Chef and worked his way up to Executive Chef. In his free time, Loo loves to eat at “mom and pop” restaurants.
Chef De Cuisine Jon Matsubara, Azure, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, Oahu
Under the direction of Executive Chef Jon Matsubara, Azure redefines dining on an island where seafood is legendary. A graduate of the University of Puget Sound, Chef Matsubara also studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York. He has worked in kitchens from the Big Apple to Honolulu, including Restaurant Jean Georges in New York, Alan Wong’s Restaurant in Honolulu, and most recently Stage Restaurant in Honolulu. Chef Matsubara received numerous awards for his work at Stage, as well as at the Canoe House Restaurant and at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel in Kohala on the Big Island. Azure was recently awarded a 2009 Hale ‘Aina Award as “Best New Restaurant” by Honolulu magazine. Azure also received a 2009 Restaurant Award from Sante magazine and was recognized as a “Wine-Friendly Restaurant” by Wine Enthusiast.
Executive Chef Ralf Bauer, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Oahu
As a youngster growing up in Germany, Ralf Bauer dreamed of becoming a chef. His dream finally brought him to paradise where he oversees kitchen operations for the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. Chef Bauer trained at the Trade School for Chefs in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Before joining Sheraton, he was Executive Sous Chef at the former Kahala Hilton in Honolulu. He also held Sous Chef positions at the Toronto Airport Hilton, the Trinidad Hilton and Vista International Washington. Chef Bauer is active in the Hotel & Restaurant Industry Employment and Training Trust, is a member of the Chaine Des Rotisseurs and is a Chef de Cuisine.
Chef de Cuisine Rodney Uyehara, beachhouse at the moana, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Oahu
Chef Rodney Uyehara launched the beachhouse at the moana and has made it one of Hawaii’s “must eat here” destinations. It is already the winner of several prestigious awards, notably The Honolulu Advertiser’s Ilima Award for Best New Restaurant and Lea Lea magazine’s Best New Restaurant award. Having grown up on the East side of Oahu, Chef Uyehara knows how to find the best locally grown products and enjoys incorporating his vast knowledge of local ethnic touches and culture into the menu at beachhouse. He possesses an unmatchable appreciation for the various ethnicities that comprise Hawaiian society. Chef Uyehara enjoys incorporating his vast cultural knowledge into the menu at beachhouse. Born and raised in Hawaii, Chef Uyehara always finds the best locally grown products for his dishes.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Chef Uyehara has nearly two decades of kitchen management experience. He has been the Executive Chef at local restaurants such as Bistro at Century Center, Chai’s Island Bistro and Cascada Restaurant.
Chef de Cuisine Rich Hinojosa, Tropica, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Maui
Chef Hinojosa is Chef de Cuisine at Tropica where he piques the senses and tickles the palate with Maui’s famed local ingredients. Previously, Hinojosa was the Executive Chef and owner of CRAVE, a catering service specializing in creating and presenting intimate, multi-course wine dinners in private homes. He has played a role in winning highly-acclaimed Mobil and AAA restaurant ratings for the establishments he has served. Hinojosa was also a recent finalist in Hawaii Hospitality magazine’s “Top Young Chefs to Watch,” an annual selection of rising stars in the field. His forte is creating multi-course wine dinners that are not only a treat to the palate, but visually exciting. Hinojosa graduated from the Texas Tech University in 1994 specializing in engineering, business and English studies. However, his passion for food and wine prompted him to continue his studies at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona where he graduated in 1998 with an Associate Degree in culinary arts and restaurant management.
Executive Chef Francois Millet, Pulehu, an Italian Grill, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas
Executive Francois Millet from The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas has over twenty years of culinary experience. Born and raised in Switzerland, he and his family now call the island of Maui home. He joined the Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas after working as the executive sous chef at The Westin Maui Resort and Spa. Swiss-trained in the culinary arts, he started his culinary rise at the Tower Club 300 and The Cliff House in California. Prior to joining Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Chef Francois honed his skills as Executive Sous Chef at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa and the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa.
Kenny Takeshi Shimokawa, Chef de Cuisine, The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Local born, Chef de Cuisine Kenny Takeshi Shimokawa’s key responsibilities include menu creativity and designing selections for customers to enjoy at Ocean Pool Bar & Grill located at The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas. Kenny assists Executive Sous Chef Adam Tabura in overseeing and being accountable for the daily culinary and stewarding operations at the 1,021 villa resort on North Ka’anapali Beach. He is also actively involved in monitoring food quality at the various restaurants such as Pailolo Bar & Grill. Scrumptious selections include Hawaiian French Toast made with thick Hawaiian sweet bread, Paniolo Barbecue Ribs, Spicy Island Fish Tacos, Kobe Beef Sliders and Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwich with Haagen Daz Ice cream. His daily chef de cuisine specials that rotate regularly include Hawaiian Rock Salt Crusted Prime Rib, Crab Crusted Mahi Mahi and more!
Prior to joining the resort, Kenny held the position of sous chef at the formerly known Maui Prince Hotel. He graduated in Culinary Arts from Kapiolani Community College and has built a flourishing career with more than 12 years of experience in the culinary industry. Past positions include being the Lead Cook at Four Seasons Resort Lanai (Manele Bay) and Sushi Chef at Honolulu’s Sansei Restaurant and Catch of the Day Sushi. Kenny is also certified in Ecosure Food Safety & Sanitation and plays an active role in community-related events and fundraisers such as the Annual Kupuna Thanksgiving Dinner organized by MHLA; the much-celebrated Maui Calls and more.
Executive Chef Bryan Ashlock, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
Executive Chef Bryan Ashlock is a world-renowned chef with more than 30 years of culinary experience. Thanks to his extensive travels in Europe, Asia and beyond, Chef Ashlock brings international vitality and flair to his use of the Islands’ fresh natural products.
In the 22 years Chef Ashlock has been serving the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, he has created a distinguished dining program that includes two signature restaurants, Teppan-yaki and Black Rock Steak and Seafood, as well as two poolside bars – the Lagoon bar and Sundown Bar – Kekaa Terrace, Keokie’s Koffee Kart and an extensive in-room dining menu. Chef Ashlock is also responsible for catering, conventions and banquet operations and the creation of specialized menus for large groups.
Chef Ashlock began as a chef apprentice at the Sheraton Waikiki in 1976. He has worked at five Sheraton Hawaii properties, as well as the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel. In 1986, after serving as Executive Sous Chef at three of these hotels, Chef Ashlock was named Executive Chef at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
Executive Chef Ben Takahashi, Sheraton Kauai Resort, Kauai
With 25 years of culinary experience, Chef Takahashi oversees the hotel’s Shells and Naniwa restaurants as well as The Point. He previously served as Executive Chef at Cassis by Mavro and Executive Sous Chef at the Mauna Lani Bay and Bungalows. In 2004, he helped open the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, where he served as Executive Chef. Chef Takahashi started his career at Honolulu’s Yacht Harbor Restaurant and the exclusive Waialae Country Club and was mentored by Chef Mavro at the Halekulani’s La Mer. He also helped Chef Mavro open the Seasons Restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort on Maui.
Executive Chef Edward “Kahau” Manzo, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Kauai
Edward “Kahau” Manzo has been in and around kitchens for more than 30 years. He has been Executive Chef at The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas since it opened in April 2008. Before that he was the Executive Sous Chef at the Moana Surfrider – A Westin Resort and the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel for four years. He also worked at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Four Seasons Resort – Wailea, Grand Wailea Resort, A Pacific Café and the Maui Marriott Resort. Born on Oahu and raised on Maui, he attended Maui Community College’s food service program, then graduated with honors from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon.