I can honestly say that I have only had the pleasure of enjoying a Hawaiian Airlines first class meal twice, in recent years. Thankfully, I was on a flight that allowed me to upgrade my seat and enjoy the benefits of extra comfort, bottomless beverages, complimentary entertainment and specially crafted meals by Executive Chef Chai Chaowasaree. Well as you can imagine after 5 years of cooking-up meals for one of the only airline carrier's in the world that still offers free in-flight food, Chai was anxious to let someone else bring their culinary skills to the table. For the next couple of years the designer dishes can be found in the first class cabin, while the rest of the guests still get to enjoy a nice, hearty and flavorful treat the culinary experience is headed in a new direction with guest chefs taking the menu forward for all flights from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. Up first, Jon Mastubara from Japengo, Hyatt Regency Waikiki.
Jon and I used to work together long ago while he was still at Alan Wong's and I was working there too. I have since always admired his genuine personality, his vigor for life and his super smart lawyer wife who was always the life of the party and a pleasure to hang out with. Together they are a lot of fun and he is still so kind and patient always taking the time to catch up while he is busy cooking and being a star chef featured on the Travel Channel, TODAY show and Food Network. Jonny created a new take on the tried and true local comfort foods, with familiar flavors and bright fresh colors. You will see things like fried rice, loco moco, french onion soup, and ramen (somen-like) salad with an innovative twist. Nice to see they are also incorporating more vegetarian friendly options like portabello mushroom with lentils instead of steak.
Here is the line-up of guest chefs over the next two years:
June 1, 2015- November 30, 2015 - Jon Matsubara
December 1, 2015 - June 1, 2016 - Lee Anne Wong
Summer 2016 - Wade Ueoka
Early 2017 - Andrew Le
Mid 2017 - Sheldon Simeon
For more info on the Hawaiian Airlines Featured Chef Series click here:http://hawaiianairlines.com/featuredchefseries