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Taste the Flavors of Hawaiʻi
 at Roy’s Waikoloa

Posted July 4, 2017, 09:33 AM HST Updated July 5, 2017, 08:51 AM HST
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    Buy it with thought and cook it with care. This is something Jennifer Hamilton, executive chef at Roy’s Waikoloa, practices daily in her culinary journey.

    One of the island’s most prestigious and delicious restaurants, Roy’s Waikoloa is lucky to host this talented food master who finds her inspiration from nature and the world around her.

    “I’m inspired by observing the textures of nature and understanding how we’re basically dependent upon what this planet offers us,” said Chef Hamilton. “I’m not so much a tree hugger, but it’s an inspiration to me how everything is set up for us to survive and how certain things are offered to us that are edible and for our consumption. Also, butter and bacon are both pretty inspiring.”

    Very much aligned with the philosophy of Roy’s founder Chef Roy Yamaguchi—that local just tastes better—the restaurant is a longtime supporter of locally grown foods and as such, purchases its products from local farmers, ranchers and fisherman.

    Chef Hamilton creates magic in the kitchen—her dishes rising to the level of master artistry. She grew up cooking an inherited her love of food from her family.

    She grew up cooking and inherited her love of food from her family.

    “I started cooking by accident,” said Chef Hamilton. “My family has always been cooks. No one has ever owned a restaurant or anything—we just really enjoyed cooking. My brother is an executive chef as well. It’s something we’ve all enjoyed doing and when it came to finding a career, that’s where we gravitated.”

    Chef Hamilton began her journey in 1989 at a sandwich shop in Pasadena, California. She moved to Hawai‘i the same year and started working at Sunset Grill on O‘ahu.

    “I went around to different places, learning and soaking in all the knowledge I could,” she said. “My learning was all about paying attention. I needed to be working. I was in a position where I needed a paycheck and I knew I could get an education from the chefs I was working under. They were willing to give it to me and I was willing to take it.”

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    For the past 11 years, Chef Hamilton has shared her talents in the kitchen at Roy’s Waikoloa. Starting as a pastry chef, she eventually became a sous chef, then executive sous chef and now she is an executive chef.

    When asked if there are any foods she absolutely avoids, she answered, “I won’t eat bugs. I’m not into that fad that’s going on right now. I couldn’t eat them no matter how they were prepared. I just can’t do it.”

    Luckily, we can rest assured fried crickets and sautéed earthworms won’t be offered on Roy’s menu anytime soon. However, the outstanding selection of appetizers, entree’s and desserts that do make up Roy’s dinner menu are beyond heavenly and vie for some of the most delicious dishes one will find on Hawai‘i Island.

    A few outstanding recommendations include the appetizers, Keyhole Mochi Lobster Chowder made with lemongrass thyme cream and bacon, and Waikoloa Ahi Poke with smoked inamona, avocado and chili pepper vinaigrette. However, if you only choose one appetizer, try the Kulana Wild Boar Rangoon.

    Standout entrees include the filet mignon with spicy garlic shrimp and garlic butter green beans, Seafood Sinigang with salmon, Manila clams, mussels and Kauai shrimp, and Pepper Crusted Scallops with grilled eggplant, scallion and a sesame glaze.

    Be sure to save room for dessert—or three or four. Recommended choices are the Peanut Butter Pie, the Hot Chocolate Souffle or the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. They are all outstanding and sure to please any sweet tooth.

    For a special occasion or to celebrate life in general, Roy’s Waikoloa is the perfect choice for the perfect dinner.

    For more information or to make reservations visit royshawaii.com or call 808) 886-4321

    Filet mignon with spicy garlic shrimp at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    Hot Chocolate Souffle at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    Keahole Mochi Lobster at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    Peaunut Butter Pie at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    PIneapple Upside Down Cake at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    Seafood Sinigang at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    Seared Diver Scallops at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    Waikoloa Ahi Poke at Roy’s Waikoloa. Karen Rose photo.

    Karen Rose
    Karen Rose is a writer and journalist living on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel, arts and entertainment. She never met a food she didn't like—except black licorice.
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