Chris Kajioka - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

TENTH ANNUAL - SAVE THE DATE – OCTOBER 2-25, 2020

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Chris Kajioka

Senia - Honolulu HI

Chris Kajioka, a Honolulu native, has never wanted to be anything other than a chef. After years cooking at restaurants across the country—including the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton and Aziza in San Francisco and Per Se in New York—he returned to his native Hawai‘i in 2012 to become the Executive Chef at Vintage Cave.

Kajioka’s classical culinary training combined with his affinity for his own heritage results in his own unique style: inventive dishes incorporating techniques from contemporary French cuisine with a distinctly Japanese sensibility. His cooking emphasizes the use of fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients.

At Vintage Cave, Kajioka earned nominations for the James Beard “Rising Star” Award and Food and Wine Magazine’s “People’s Best New Chef”, as well as being awarded a place in the “Top Ten Dishes of 2013” from Food and Wine Magazine.

In 2015, Kajioka joined forces with British chef Anthony Rush and began work on their restaurant, Senia, which opened during fall 2016 in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Senia offers a cuisine that showcases their mutual culinary pedigree, as well as a sense of place, heritage and the spirit of collaboration.



WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
Since I was 4 years old, I watched cooking shows instead of cartoons and knew that I wanted to become a chef.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING IN THREE WORDS?
Clean, simple, quality.

WHAT’S THE BEST HONOR YOU’VE RECEIVED AS A CHEF?
The best honor is having regulars at Senia. It’s a huge compliment when guests come back again and again.

 WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL AFTER A BUSY DAY?
Grilled cheese sandwich

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m spending time with my son, Cade.

WHAT THE ONE LOCAL INGREDIENT YOU’RE EXCITED TO COOK WITH DURING HFWF19?
Hirabara Farms vegetables.

IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
It’s hard to imagine not being a chef. There isn’t anything I would rather do.