Community Focus – Herald Salutes

Community Focus – Herald Salutes

Photo of chef, Eric Oto over a flaming wok

Eric Oto has been appointed chef de cuisine of Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. Oto is now responsible for overseeing the culinary direction of the award-winning restaurant under the guidance of The Kahala’s executive chef, Wayne Hirabayashi.

Oto has more than a decade of culinary experience. He most recently served as sous chef at The Four Seasons Ko Olina’s Fish House. He also spent 10 years as a chef at the Halekulani hotel, working at its Orchids restaurant and in its events and banquets culinary program.

The O‘ahu native is an avid fisherman, craftsman, farmer — interests he learned and inherited from his father. Oto’s passion for the ocean has carried over into his culinary work. In his free time, he dries, smokes or pickles his catches from the ocean.

Oto graduated from Leeward Community College’s Culinary Program and is a past recipient of the Kapa’a Rotary Club Alan Wong Scholarship. He gives back to the community by volunteering for the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation’s Chef Mentor program for James Campbell High School and also cooks and volunteers at fundraiser events such as the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, Great Chefs Fight Hunger for the Hawaii Foodbank and Bishop Museum’s Ulupono Awards.

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