Completing his apprenticeship at The Greenbrier Hotel, Chef Wong worked at Lutece in New York City. It was there that his mentor, Chef Andre Soltner, emphasized the importance of being a “skilled craftsman” and “cooking with two feet on the ground”. These words remain with Chef Wong in all aspects of his work as he guides and nurtures his staff.
In 1989, he opened The Canoe House Restaurant at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows and subsequently participated in every “Cuisines of the Sun” event held there for twelve years. 1991 witnessed the birth of Hawaii Regional Cuisine when he and eleven other chefs organized a group determined to work with local farmers, fishermen, and ranchers. The creation of HRC helped to establish Hawaii as a sought-after destination to experience a unique blend of ethnic-inspired cuisines made with fresh, local products.
In 1994, Chef Wong was named one of 13 Rising Star Chefs in America by the Robert Mondavi Winery for his culinary excellence. He is a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef, Pacific Northwest 1996. Sante Magazine for Wine and Spirits named him Chef of the Year 2001, and the Inaugural 2001 Wedgewood Awards nominated him as one of 10 U.S. chefs for the title of World Master of Culinary Arts. In 2003, Bon Appetit Magazine recognized Chef Wong among its culinary legends as the ‘Master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine’.
Alan Wong’s Restaurant opened in April of 1995 and in 1996 it received a James Beard Foundation nomination for the nation’s ‘Best New Restaurant’. It was honored in Gourmet Magazine’s October 2001 issue, ranking #6 of ‘America’s Best 50 Restaurants’ and in 2002 was inducted into Nation’s Restaurant News Magazine’s Hall of Fame. In its May 2006 issue, Food and Wine Magazine included the restaurant among its ‘The Go List of 376 Hottest Restaurants in the World’ and in that same year was again the only Hawaii restaurant to be ranked among ‘America’s Best 50 Restaurants’ (#8) by Gourmet Magazine. It is a ten-time winner of the Hale ‘Aina Award as the state’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’. Voted by the Ilima Awards as Hawaii’s ‘Best Restaurant’ for nine years, Alan Wong’s Restaurant was inducted into its inaugural ‘Star Circle’ established for ten-time winners in 2008. Today, the restaurant continues to receive top ratings in Zagat, Gault Millau and Wine Spectator.
In 1999, Chef Wong authored a cookbook “Alan Wong’s New Wave Luau” published by Ten Speed Press and in December 2010 released his newest cookbook “The Blue Tomato - The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong” (Watermark Publishing). Chef Wong believes in giving back to the community and the profession. He serves on the boards of Easter Seals Hawaii, the Hawaii Seafood Promotion Committee, Leeward Community College and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific food service programs, and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. He was honored in 2001 by Kapiolani Community College and in 2002 by the University of Hawaii as its Distinguished Alumnus and for his contributions to the State of Hawaii.
Using fresh, local products whenever possible, pairing them with local flavors, Chef Wong defines his style of Hawaii Regional Cuisine as the contemporary style of cooking that borrows from all of the ethnic influences found in Hawaii today. Creating innovative dishes with a contemporary twist, his goal is to have his guests “Taste Hawaii”. His restaurants express a casual yet elegant ambience and welcome their guests with Hawaiian-style hospitality and the ‘Aloha Spirit’.