Hitting The Culinary Jackpot
Wednesday - January 14, 2009
Chefs comes in all shapes, sizes and levels of dedication. Some have a culinary career thrust upon them, some achieve great culinary heights and some ... well, some are simply born great - or at least they’re very good from day one.
Devin Hashimoto falls into two of these categories. He knew as soon as he walked into his first restaurant job that he’d found his career, and he’s achieved lofty culinary heights by becoming chef de cuisine at one of the most respected restaurants in America.
“I definitely knew what I wanted to do from an early age,” says the modest Iolani graduate. “I started working at Sam Choy’s as a busboy and I immediately loved the excitement of the kitchen.”
Hashimoto moved to Las Vegas to attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, but came home every break to work at Sam Choy’s.
He showed talent and creativity from the minute he began his formal training, and during his junior year started working at La Mirage in Las Vegas. The day he was about to hand in his resignation there, Vegas super star Alessandro Stratta approached him and asked if he’d be interested in working at his (then) restaurant, Renoir.
In culinary terms, that’s a bit like being a struggling actor and having Steven Spielberg ask if you’d like to star in one of his movies.
Stratta is responsible for one of the most highly regarded restaurants in America. His restaurant, Alex at The Wynn, has among its accolades the AAA 5 Diamond Award of Excellence and two Michelin stars.
Hashimoto has been Stratta’s protégé since they met, and Stratta has no doubt about his young chef’s talents.
“Devin’s been with me for about eight years now,” says Stratta. “He’s hopefully going to be the next great up-and-coming star from Hawaii.”
That’s all good with Hashimoto, who not only has a passion and a talent for what he does, but has the joy of embracing work he loves.
“There’s something about looking at a dish you made and knowing that someone in the restaurant is going to enjoy it,” he says. “It’s the greatest satisfaction you can get.”
If you stop by Alex at The Wynn to visit with Hashimoto, he might recommend Mediterranean lobster or langoustines from France or even rabbit, and there are dozens of other exotic dishes on the menu that include local products from Hawaii. As of yet, however, there’s no sign of a gourmet plate lunch.
“On our new menu, I did put ahi poke,” says Hashimoto, “and there’s fresh onaga from Hawaii, too.”
But despite the rarified dining atmosphere and Hashimoto’s impressive rise to chef de cuisine, there are some restaurants that will always remain favorites.
“Rainbows,” says Hashimoto. “I definitely head there first when I come home. And after that, it’s shave ice at Waioloa.”
Hashimotos’ dream is to one day come home and run his own French/Asian-inspired restaurant, but for now he’s happy with his culinary success.
“It’s still something of a shock to me some days, when I think back to working at Sam Choy’s,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d ever be here. This is any chef’s dream.”
To hear a complete interview with Devin Hashimoto, go to http://www.wineanddinehawaii.com.
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