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Kaimuki native Gaby Maeda is one of the best new chefs in the country

Aubrey Pick

This month, Food and Wine Magazine named its 2021 Best New Chefs in America. Making that list is Kaimuki native Gaby Maeda. She's a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and is the chef de cuisine at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco.

"She and her team whip up a menu of bright and punchy California cuisine, heavy on the local produce and with strong Asian influences," the magazine said. "When she stepped into the chef de cuisine role, she also found her culinary voice and point of view, one grounded in, but not bound by, her past. Maeda grew up around phenomenal home cooks."

The Conversation sat down with Maeda to talk about getting a start in the industry at the young age of 14, and her favorite places to eat when she comes home.

Her top pick is Angelo Pietro in Kaimuki because she's been going there since was three years old. She said she gets the same pasta every time.

"My grandmother used to work at ʻOno Hawaiian Foods. She was a waitress there for like 30-something years. I know it's closed now, but that was a spot that I had to go to," she said. "I just have all the usual things. I go to Foodland and I get poke. I go to Rainbow Drive-In and I get a plate lunch. I go to 7-Eleven and I get a spam musubi."

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 30, 2021.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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