Colin Hazama

Jo McGarry
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Friday - October 19, 2011 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Jo McGarry photo

Title: Senior Executive Sous Chef, Sheraton Waikiki

Where were you born and raised? Honolulu. Went to Maryknoll High School.

What inspired you in your earlier years? I was fascinated by both of my grandmothers and what they would cook. And as I matured, my heroes went from Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Michael Jordan to Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse and Thomas Keller.

You have had an impressive start to your career, having already been nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award, and you are recognized as having some unique flair. What’s next on your personal agenda? Right now I intend to create something unique for the VIP events here at Sheraton and in our banquets. My food is modern and bold. I like to make statements, and I use a lot of spice and flavor combinations that are hopefully exciting. We’re having fun making the changes over here working with Matt Naula and Daniel Delbrel. We’re creating a lot of interesting menus.

Favorite restaurants in Hawaii? Alan Wong’s, Imanas Tei and Le Bistro, of course.

And beyond? Restaurant Gary Danko and Jean-Georges; Momofuku Ssam Bar by David Chang is amazing; Aziza in San Francisco and Per Se in New York are all favorites ...

Do you cook at home? Of course! When I have time, I love to make comfort food that is fun to eat.

For example? If I’ve been spearfishing, then I will make fresh, cured or tataki whatever I caught ... and some type of shellfish or gamey meat.

What’s always in your fridge? Water, pomegranate juice and good sake or beer. I always have cheese, local fruits and dried or smoked fish.

What’s your favorite kitchen tool? A spoon and a Vitaprep blender. The spoon because you can do everything with one taste, cook, flip fish, mix, plate and the blender because you can do everything from puree, sauces, oils, powder, salts, mousse ... it’s pretty much a dream kitchen tool.

Anything about you that might surprise us? I majored in fine arts before culinary arts, so I’m pretty good with pencils and pastels. And I’m a free diver. I go spearfishing often and have shot my share of prized fish.

The last great thing you ate was ... Uni and lobster at Eleven Madison Park, NYC. Chef Daniel Humm creates flavor components that are perfect. You choose ingredients, and they create the menu. This dish was elegant and addicting. I could have eaten five more servings.


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