Jayson Kanekoa - Hawaii Food & Wine Festival


Jayson Kanekoa

Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa - Waikoloa, HI

A native of Hawaii Island, Chef Jayson Kanekoa attributes his passion for culinary to his humble upbringing in the small community of Kukuihaele. Taught and influenced by his grandfather, a legendary Waipio Valley farmer, he developed an appreciation early on for sustainable, local fare that has guided his culinary practice. He graduated from the culinary program at Kapiolani Community College on Oahu then joined the Royal Waikoloan Hotel (now the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa) as a cook’s assistant in 1986.

Dedicating 30 consecutive years to the Kohala Coast resort property, he earned his way to executive chef, a position he’s held since 2011. Kanekoa is credited for his progressive creativity in the kitchen while advocating local agriculture. He works closely with island purveyors—from producing an exclusive organic hybrid salad blend and sourcing the finest 100 percent Kona coffee, to building an on-property hydroponic garden for “seed-to-table” harvesting right outside his Hawaii Calls restaurant.

In 2012, he was nominated for the prestigious J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence and is continuously recognized by the Waikoloa Beach Marriott as an outstanding manager. Accolades aside, Kanekoa’s biggest commitment is to charitable efforts. He gives back to organizations such as the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, Hawaii United Way, Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.