Ken Omiya

Jo McGarry
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Friday - June 27, 2008 Share | | podcast Podcast |

Ken Omiya

Title: Executive Chef, Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Where were you born and raised? Honolulu.

What led you to the F&B industry? I started out right after high school, I think, helping out friends and I decided I liked it. I just kept working in the industry from there.

First job? I worked at Flamingo and Hawaii Monarch Hotel, and then I worked with Hyatt Regency on Maui for a while. I opened the Marriott on Maui and then came to Waikoloa. I’ve been here since before the opening.

There’s been a lot of change here in recent years ... Yes, lots of changes. We’ve just opened a new Orchid Café by the Kona Pool, with salads and sandwiches and lighter foods. That’s in addition to our Donatoni’s, Imari, Kamuela Provision Company and our numerous other dining options.

Anyone influenced you in your career thus far? No, not really. I just kept on going. I started as a line cook and this is way more than I ever expected.

You have an incredible number of mouths to feed each day - what’s the largest event you’ve catered? The most I’ve done personally is 9,000 people in just one day - and that was only in banquets. We still had the rest of the restaurant operations running, too. When we opened here we had the biggest banquet facilities in the Islands.

Do you cook at home? No, I don’t have time. My wife cooks and I eat!

Do you have any favorite foods? I’m pretty easy and I like simple foods. Simple is good.

Do you get to Honolulu to check out the food scene and the chefs? Maybe once or twice a year - sometimes we go and check out new places ... but when you have 30 or so chefs visiting once a year and a lot of charity events throughout the year, you get to see what everybody else is doing.

Favorite chefs? I think, for me, the most successful people are the ones who keep it real simple.

Where should people eat when they’re on the Big Island? Any suggestions? Our hotel (smiles). I don’t have a favorite restaurant here - it depends on my mood - but we do have almost every kind of food right on property.

Hilton Waikoloa is on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Reservations and Kamaaina Packages:
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(808) 886-1234


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