It's been three years, but some of you diners will surely remember Chef de Cuisine Jojo Vasquez from his days at the Banyan Tree.
He was recently snagged back to The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua from Morimoto Waikiki, where he was at the helm of the famous Iron Chef's kitchen, a protege of the master.
Vasquez also collaborated on the design of the restaurant and the menu as well as traveling the world with Morimoto to assist him at prestigious culinary events, such as Aspen's Food & Wine Classic in the tony ski resort.
“As soon as my menu is in full force, I’d really like to implement smaller tastings for the bar menu, like pupu style,” says Banyan Tree’s Chef de Cuisine Jojo Vasquez.
Now, he's reclaimed his title of chef de cuisine at the AAA Four-Diamond Banyan Tree restaurant, a free-standing building at the Ritz.
"It is great having Jojo back on our team and leading our Banyan Tree kitchen," says the resort's Executive Chef John Zaner. "His passion for freshness and unique flavor combinations are going to make our guests want to dine there five nights a week."
Those who want to try a sampling of Chef Jojo's cuisine may check out the four-course tasting menu, this month paired with Cakebread Winery selections.
"We're open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and we do this menu every night," says Leo Mallari, director of restaurants. "Customers really love it. They can't get enough."
For instance, one tasting menu appetizer is house-made seafood sausage with sauce Bernaise, followed by entrees such as grilled Molokai shrimp with spinach and yogurt naan bread; or braised oxtail with potato gratin and root vegetables. Dessert is bitter chocolate custard with dulce de leche ice cream.
"Coming back to the Ritz, what I'm really excited to see is the on-property, organic-farm movement," says Jojo. "We make our own compost to feed our own fruits and vegetables. It's great!"
For Banyan Tree reservations, call 669-6200.