James Ebreo

Jo McGarry
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Friday - April 25, 2008 Share | Del.icio.us | podcast Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com

James Ebreo
James Ebreo

Title: Chef de Cuisine, Hualalai Grille by Alan Wong

Where were you born and raised? On the Big Island.

What started you on your culinary path?

I was raised in a plantation camp and I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted something different. I went to Hilo Community College and started working at the Mauna Kea Hotel in 1984, and I spent 10 years there before going to the Hapuna Prince and then coming here.

What are your fondest food memories?

We ate a good variety of food growing up. We had an instant buffet whenever the family got together! We’d have pork and peas, adobo, fried fish. I had one aunty and an uncle who’d go fishing and then do this great baked fish. Oh, and my dad used to make this real good chicken feet soup.

How’s Alan Wong to work with?

(Laughs). He gives us a lot of freedom, but he also teaches us that what we do is more than about cooking. He’s changed me as a person. The experience of working with him has made me look at things differently.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

My dad. He died in 1979 and he never saw me cook. He was a pretty good cook himself. I think he’d like what I’m doing.

Anything you couldn’t live without in the kitchen?

If I have ginger, garlic and onions, then I’m set.

Where’s a great place to eat on the Big Island?

The Manago Hotel for the pork chops.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I get inspired at home a lot. I cook on my days off and I’ll try things, and when they work hopefully we can turn them into dishes to go on the menu.


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