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Hawaii chefs, restaurants, iced out of James Beard Awards

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 06:51 a.m. HST, Mar 18, 2014

None of the Hawaii semifinalists nominated for James Beard Award consideration made it to the list of finalists announced Tuesday morning.

When the semifinalists were announced Feb. 20, four Honolulu chefs and one Honolulu restaurant were among those named.

Chris Kajioka, of Vintage Cave, Michelle Karr-Ueoka, of MW restaurant, Ed Kenney, from Town, and Andrew Le from the Pig & the Lady all were named semifinalists, while MW also was named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.

It was Kenney's second time as a semifinalist, though other longtime Hawaii chefs also have been a semifinalist numerous times without making it to the finalist round.

James Beard Awards for Best Chef are regional, and Hawaii chefs are up against chefs in Nevada and California. This year's Best Chef finalists all cook in California.

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mitt_grund wrote:
Pacific Rim is apparently out. That's OK. Leaves more food for us locals.
on March 18,2014 | 07:12AM
honupono wrote:
As a graduate of the culinary institute of the pacific, I can say it's not just about the food. I lived in NYC Manhattan on the upper East side for several years and to me, every restaurant in many categories bring its A game every day. From the wait staff to the cooks. The atmosphere and detail is well thought out and fresh. Hawai'i is stuck in the past and the ingredient list is to common to be fresh. Using Yuzu, Li Hing Mui, Sarraccha (sp), Poi, and Kiawe is not going to cut it.
on March 18,2014 | 07:55AM
eros_et_logia wrote:
on March 18,2014 | 08:44AM
Retiree wrote:
Agree,most of the so called top restaurants are only operating by their reputation.Owners either cant spend or dont want to spend to get the innovative chefs in their kitchens. Chefs need to travel to experience whats out there,owners need to realize a week a year can bring great ideas to the chefs.
on March 18,2014 | 08:53AM
primo1 wrote:
Actually using kiawe as an ingredient would be quite original.
on March 18,2014 | 02:38PM
eros_et_logia wrote:
I think Andrew Le is doing great things at The Pig and The Lady, even though my second experience at the brick and mortar was rather ordinary. I think there is an issue with getting plates to the tables in a timely fashion and my Le Saigon Banh Mi seemed a tad skimpy.
on March 18,2014 | 08:51AM
eros_et_logia wrote:
A dining scene that supports over a dozen Zippy's, L&L and Rainbow Drive Inn simply cannot be trusted. Hawaii chefs are so safe and uncreative because their customers are unsophisticated diners. You would think that the combination of all our cultures would enhance a dining culture, but because of the relative equality of opportunity for all concerned (relatively easy access to the American dream) we just sought to make as much money as possible by not offending or surprising other culture's palates. This lead to the blandest multi-ethnic cuisine in the world (save Ono's and Helenas and the like, who serve real Hawaiian food). Almost all the best food in Hawaii is made by the Japanese and Koreans who arrived within the last few decades.
on March 18,2014 | 09:04AM
kailua000 wrote:
agree. live my whole life here and when I see kids away at college post "i wanna go home and eat chicken katsu" Its just fried chicken people. Zippys is the equivelent of Dennys on the mainland. L&L is an average take out. Quick and easy but really is it so special?
on March 18,2014 | 03:42PM
kailua000 wrote:
so boo hoo. Is Nevada crying? get real, Hawaii is a small state, fewer people than the city of LA. So if we are nominated, it shows there we are among the best of the best. We can't always have representation in everything.
on March 18,2014 | 03:40PM
opalaedo wrote:
Need to visit Tokyo where the chefs are coming out with new and exciting dishes, mainly because there is so much competition that you got to be good, plus the service is outstanding. Roy's and all these other Pan-Paciic cuisine restaurants are stalled on what they believe is the essence of Hawaii's best. Need to go beyond that.
on March 18,2014 | 05:42PM
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