The Secret Ingredients of a Chef

Chef Matt de la Cruz, executive chef at Roy’s Poipu shares his secret ingredients: Passion and Hawaiian salt.  He wakes up every day and is excited about what he does.  “Creativity can be taught, but passion is the catalyst for making the dishes.”  Chef  Matt explained that you can always taste it in the food when someone is resentful or doesn’t have a passion for cooking.

This passion for cuisine was cultivated during Chef Matt’s childhood.  He grew up in a multi-cultural family.  In Hawaii, family is called ‘ohana, but its meaning reaches beyond the familial structure.  The root word for ‘ohana actually relates to the root of taro, a staple food in Hawaii.  Food is essentially the heart of a Hawaiian family – the experience of love and support expressed by the family as they gather around a table to share a meal.

Chef Roy Yamaguchi is the chef who has most influenced and inspired Chef Matt.  In 1988, James Beard Award winner Chef Roy opened the first Roy’s in Honolulu.  Classically trained in French culinary techniques, Chef Roy perfected the fusion of Asian cuisine with European cuisine.  A combination that continues to punctuate the palate with culinary creations at 31 Roy’s locations around the world.

At Roy’s Poipu, Chef Matt prepares a different menu each day, depending on which local and seasonal ingredients are available.  His favorite food to prepare is King Moi, a type of Hawaiian fish.  And yes, Chef Matt does enjoy watching shows on Food Network  – especially Iron Chef.

Chef Matt’s insight about passion for what someone does is poignant.  What is your passion in life?  And what is your favorite food? .

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