Destined to be Delicious: Chris Kajioka
Since the beginning of humanity, in cultures far and wide, we’ve marked our calendars by the meals we’ve eaten. From first light to sunset, whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, taking time to enjoy a meal is at the very cornerstone of society. As it turns out, connecting with our neighbors, family, and friends over a delicious meal is a vital part of the human social network. Because when we eat together, magic happens. We connect with one another and forge stronger relationships. And that’s especially true when the food is downright delectable. In this vein, Ward Village is thrilled to announce that acclaimed chef Chris Kajioka will now be heading the culinary program within the community.
“I’m really looking forward to sharing my passion for food with this progressive community revitalizing urban Honolulu,” says Kajioka. “I believe that a great meal can bring us closer, evoke emotions, and remind us of the common bonds that we all share. Every culture finds joy and connects to their past through their respective cuisine.”
A native of Honolulu, Kajioka’s new role will see him curating an eclectic line up of culinary options for the neighborhood, spanning the spectrum from fine dining to fast-casual. In addition, he’ll work to establish Ward Village as a world-class dining destination. If you’re already calling Ward Village home, that means some very delicious things are in the works, including culinary classes, exclusive recipes, and in-home chef recommendations from one of the state’s leading culinary masterminds.
Kajioka’s approach in the kitchen has earned him numerous accolades and awards. His unique ability to blend French cuisine with the foods and flavors that defined his Honolulu roots reflects both his classical culinary training and affinity for his own cultural heritage. His cooking emphasizes the beauty of local ingredients with a Japanese sensibility. After working in top restaurants across the nation – including Ron Siegel’s Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, Mourad Lahlou’s Aziza in San Francisco and New York City’s Per Se, Thomas Keller’s iconic restaurant. Kajioka returned to Hawaii as Executive Chef at Vintage Cave. In 2014, Kajioka teamed with Chef Anthony Rush to co-create one of Honolulu’s critically acclaimed restaurant, Senia.
“Ward Village is rapidly emerging as one of the culinary hot spots of Honolulu, attracting James Beard Award Winners and Michelin Star Chefs,” said Simon Treacy, President, Hawai‘i of The Howard Hughes Corporation. “Chef Kajioka’s depth of knowledge and expertise will take the epicurean vision for our growing community to the next level, ensuring a high bar of excellence at every step.”
As a dynamic community that’s reshaping the way we live, work, play, and dine, Kajioka joins an already impressive list of Ward Village culinary icons, including James Beard Award winners Andrew Le of Piggy Smalls, Peter Merriman, and Nobu Matsuhisa (who also counts a Michelin Award among his many recognitions). “It’s truly an honor to work alongside the amazing chefs and restaurants already present at Ward Village,” adds Kajioka. “I’m so excited to join them in creating a foodie destination that will rival cities worldwide.”