Tag Archives: Top Chef

A Visit to Koko Head Cafe, Tin Roof, and the Huge Shirokiya Village Walk

Breakfast is served -- by Chef Lee Anne Wong at her Koko Head Cafe.

Breakfast is served — by Chef Lee Anne Wong at her Koko Head Cafe.

Honolulu’s Koko Head Cafe

OAHU, HAWAII — Even if you think you’re not a breakfast person, you will be after eating at Chef Lee Anne Wong’s Koko Head Cafe.

The down-home Hawaiian diner entices from the get-go, as I found when I was invited in as a guest two weeks ago.

Three years ago, the former “Top Chef” contestant made the big move to Hawaii from New York, after falling for a local farmer.

Shortly afterward, she opened her lively joint that serves only breakfast and brunch.

Whether you favor sweet or savory, you’re sure to find something to enjoy.

Fruit-topped bruschetta.

Fruit-topped bruschetta.

Each day, there is a different dumpling offered.

Each day, there is a different dumpling offered.

For us, that meant Breakfast Bruschetta ($6) — toasted bread slathered with macadamia yogurt and garnished with fresh tropical fruit. I’d eat this every morning quite happily.

Read more

Gail Simmons’ Plum Tart

Whenever I’ve interviewed anyone who has been a contestant on “Top Chef” or any of its spin-offs, they’ve invariably described judge Gail Simmons in the exact same way:

A total sweetheart.

So, it’s only fitting then to take a moment to enjoy a sweet tart from a sweetheart.

This simple yet spectacular dessert is from Simmons’ memoir, “Talking With My Mouth Full” (Hyperion), of which I received a review copy.

The book is a fast, delightful read about how this Canadian grew up to be one of the most recognized people in food TV. Like so many of us, she had no clue what she wanted to do after graduating from college. Fortunately, a family friend, suggested she make a list of what she enjoyed doing, in hopes that would give her some direction. Simmons sat down with pen and paper, and wrote down exactly four words: Eat. Write. Travel. Cook.

And how.

Now, as a judge on “Top Chef” and host of “Top Chef: Just Desserts,” not to mention being special projects director at Food & Wine magazine, she’s more than carved out a career that encompasses all of those passions.

But the path was far from easy.

Read more