Long before my culinary career began as a chef, little did I know that this plate lunch of curry stew, 2 scoops of rice and a scoop of mac salad would forever be seared within the pages of my mind and serve as the creative influence for the food at Ono Hawaiian Plates.
I must have been no more than 4 or 5 years old when my grandfather who was a great waterman often took me to the beach to teach me to swim and fish. On this day, it was at Ala Moana Beach on the south shore of Oahu, where this inspirational memory was seared into my recollection
After the swimming lessons were over and we were both starving, grandpa walked me over to the concession food stand across the beach where they sold Hawaiian style plate lunches and other goodies for all the beach goers. To my recollection, this was the very first plate lunch that I can remember eating – a plate of curry stew, rice and mac salad.
Until today decades later, I still remember vividly the spot on the beach in which we sat, the hot Hawaiian sunshine on my face, the sound of the ocean and even the swim trunks that grandpa was wearing.
The plate which was overloaded with food was hard for me to hold in one hand while sitting on the sand and trying to balance it so none of it would spill over. The way that the gravy of the curry seamlessly mixed with the rice and the mayonnaise of the mac salad. It was so ono and it was at this moment that the definition of a Hawaiian Plate Lunch was forever sealed in my spirit. For me, this was just not about food, but about a special culture and lifestyle that I am so blessed to have grown up in
As Jess and I embark on this new chapter for Ono Hawaiian Plates, please be mindful that it will always be inspired by that particular day at Ala Moana Beach with my grandpa and that simple plate lunch, that allows us to always be “Sharing Aloha, One Plate At A Time.”
Aloha and A Hui Hou,