“‘Top Chef’ has changed my life dramatically,” said Sheldon Simeon upon his return to the television competition. “I opened up two restaurants, I got to cook for Hollywood stars — it feels great to be back,” he says on the first episode of the show’s 14th season, airing Thursday.
The Maui chef competed during Season 10, finished as a finalist and was named “Fan Favorite.”
He’d already gained recognition as the chef of Star Noodle and Mala Wailea, and after the show opened MiGRANT and, most recently, Tin Roof, a mom-and-pop restaurant in Kahului he runs with his wife.
This season pits new competitors against returning chefs, and we see in the first episode what makes Simeon so relatable as he shouts at the TV screen, just as we do, while watching the newbies in their first challenge.
When it’s the returning chefs’ turn to cook, he says, he is “ready to represent Hawaii, ready to cook my (backside) off.”
The new season debuts Thursday on Bravo. Viewing times vary depending on cable service, and shows repeat throughout the week.
Erika Engle, Star-Advertiser
Build your own bowl at new Aloha Poke
There’s been a bit of a flip-flop at 1111 Bishop St., where a coffee shop was once an unlikely spot to get fish dishes. Now fish takes center stage with the opening of Aloha Poke Shop, where customers can also get coffee drinks.
The eatery, run by chefs Eddie Mafnas and Jason Miyanaga (owner of the former shop, Coffee Factory), offers fresh fish via signature and make-your-own poke bowls. Miyanaga says the shop has its own buyer who will visit the United Fishing Agency fish auction daily for ahi, while salmon will be flown in from New Zealand and hamachi will be provided by Mitch’s Seafood.
Build Your Bowl starts with an option of white or brown rice, or greens; customized seasonings such as sea salt, soy sauce, Sriracha, wasabi, furikake, inamona and more; a selection of vegetables; one side of kim chee, pickled veggies or taegu; and optional toppings for an additional cost.
Signature bowls include an Aloha Special with ahi, salmon, hamachi, tobiko, ikura and uni sauce; Sashimi Salad, which features the fish trio and ikura over a bed of veggies; and more.
Bowls run $9.95 or $11.95 for a large size.
The shop will also get interactive with workshops for those interested in learning to break down an ahi. The by-appointment classes will provide hands-on lessons on cutting the fish into block form and then making poke bowls.
The menu also includes various musubi. Coffee selections include Michele’s Aloha Blend of 20 percent Kona coffee, espresso, Americano, cappucino and latte, plus more.
The shop is in the Remington College Building. Hours: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Call 533-7653, visit alohapoke808.com or go to the shop’s Facebook page, Aloha Poke Shop.
Joleen Oshiro, Star-Advertiser