Hans Lentz - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

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

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Hans Lentz

Hawaii Convention Center - Honolulu, HI

Hans Lentz is the executive chef of the Hawai‘i Convention Center, leading culinary excellence for the venue’s culinary team. He oversees the Center’s 20,000-square-foot on-site kitchen and develops menus for gatherings and events at the building.

Lentz has nearly three decades of experience in culinary management, working at internationally renowned resorts and convention centers in Hawai‘i, Dubai, Oman, Africa, the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.

Most recently, Lentz served as the executive chef at Jumeriah Hotels & Resorts in Dubai. He previously served as the executive chef of the Hilton Waikoloa Village for nearly 3 years, and as executive chef at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, both on the Island of Hawai‘i. He also was the executive chef at the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel Nairobi & Olare Mara Kempinski in Kenya and Sheraton Addis, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in Ethiopia.

Lentz studied food and beverage management at The Hotelschool The Hague Performance Management BV, and culinary arts, hotel, restaurant and kitchen management at the Perlen Graben School of Culinary Arts in Cologne, Germany.

Lentz received the Highfield Level 3 Award in Food Safety and Catering in 2018 and has earned HACCP/US ServSafe Certifications. He is a Six Sigma Greenbelt, and has been a Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Chef Rôtisseur since 2000. He received the Bronze Star of Excellence from the Grand Chapitre Chaînedes Rotisseurs Chicago in2007, and is a member of the American Culinary Federation.



 

WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
It was largely due to the influence of my family’s love for home cooked meals. Food brought everyone together around the table as a family. I was a rebellious young man and by 18 years old, I was working in a kitchen to pay my own way. I was attracted to working in the kitchen and it was much harder work 25 years ago. Nonetheless, I continued on and the job rewarded me in so many ways.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COOKING IN THREE WORDS?
Modern, classic, traditional.

WHAT’S THE BEST HONOR YOU’VE RECEIVED AS A CHEF?
Over the past 20 years there have been many changes in the kitchen. Modern cooking is more automated. Throughout my international assignments I took every opportunity I could to develop my own style. During breaks, I would stay in the kitchen and try my own dishes, which were more modern style. I have the classic foundations of cuisine and so I innovate this with the new techniques and equipment that continue to be developed. Now, my food is modern and classic, with a strong essence of traditional cooking in each dish.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MEAL AFTER A BUSY DAY?
I am from Cologne, Germany and we have a dish named himmel & erde (Heaven & Earth). This is a mixture of mashed potatoes (from earth) and apples (from heaven) topped with pan roasted black pudding and fried onions.
It has been known since the 18th century and is the comfort food from my home city.

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
First of all, I love to cook for my wife. And, when we’re done eating we have a very lazy day. We both have very busy work lives and we enjoy relaxing on our off days. Besides, we have our home in Hawai’i and here, the possibilities are endless.

WHAT THE ONE LOCAL INGREDIENT YOU’RE EXCITED TO COOK WITH DURING HFWF19?
Spam musubi! Hawaii’s “sushi-esque snack.” Nicknamed soldier’s stew, the dish’s origin stems from the Korean War, when rations like spam from U.S. army bases became a highly prized ingredient.
Part of our dish will be a carefree and fun musubi to convince skeptics that spam is not only salty, but more to come. See you at the event!

WHAT YOU DO RECOMMEND FOR VISITING CHEFS TO DO IN HAWAII?
Relax and embrace the local food, farmers, sellers and culture. 

IF YOU WERE NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I would be a bartender. Bartending is an extremely social profession. Everyone behind the bar has different experiences they want to share, and so do the customers.  I imagine guests will sit and share crazy, amazing stories with you.

There’s a reason some people say that bartenders are better than psychologists!