We appreciate and delight in the food, but what’s cooking beyond the dish? In our latest series, Ono Yum steps out of the kitchen and gets a peek at the man behind the chef coat. Meet Chef Andy Tanaka of Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in Newport Beach.
OY: What did you have for dinner last night?
AT: Last night was my son’s sixth grade promotion and a kickoff to summer, so we had some of his favorite foods. BBQ Tri-Tip, tortellini salad, vegetable spring rolls, potato salad, and some of my girlfriend’s delicious sangria.
OY: If you could share a meal with any one person, who would it be and why?
AT: If I could share a meal with any one person it would have to be my grandfather. I have never met him in my life, but he was a chef in Japan and according to my father, he created delicious food. It would be great to be able to sit down with him, have a meal, and talk about what he liked to eat and his passion for cooking.
OY: What (or who) inspires you in and out of the kitchen and why?
AT: What inspires me in the kitchen is definitely the people I work with. A place where you and your coworkers put forward their best every day and still want to learn more about food is inspiring to me. What inspires me out of the kitchen is just living life. From driving alongside the coast of Half Moon Bay and smelling the essence of cabbage from the brussel sprouts farms; gardening in the backyard and seeing it grows our own fresh produce; or going fishing and catching a yellowtail. It’s the moments in my life when certain things trigger my senses that get me inspired.
OY: What is your theme song? Why?
AT: My theme song would be “You’re the Best,” by Joe Esposito. I’m definitely not the best, but that song gets me and anyone singing that song.
OY: What one kitchen tip would you give that anyone can use?
AT: Hone your skills like you hone your knife. A sharp knife isn’t any good if there isn’t any skill behind it.
See Chef Andy Tanaka and 10 other chefs at this month’s I Love Poke OC event. Buy tickets here.