1998 America's Best New Chefs | Oliver Altherr

Hoku's, Honolulu

Age: 32

background: Born in Backnang, Germany. Cooked forthe German Minister of Defense; Michel Guérard, Eugénie-les-Bains, France; Plume at The Regent, Hong Kong.

How he got into cooking: "My grandfather, who had a butcher shop and a restaurant, made me want to be a chef."

First food memory: "My mother's lentils with spaetzle, which I had for the first time when I was five."

Menu bomb: Tongue ravioli.

Ingredient pick: Organic greens from Oahu. "They cut them in the morning and I have them by lunch."

Favorite place to eat: Lowen, in Backnang. "I go for the sausage salad; it's a German thing, I guess."

Most tired trend: s: Small portions and piling food too high on the plate.

Secret of his success: Simplicity.

What he'd do if he weren't a chef: "Try to make it as a tennis player."

Favorite 1 A.M. meal: Poke, a Hawaiian marinated raw tuna dish.

Food vice: Blue cheese.

Recipe tips: When you want to serve something hot from the oven and baking time is short (/sites/default/files/s it is for this naan), be sure to have the other components of the dish assembled in advance. Undercook the food slightly if you know you'll have to reheat it.

Info: The Kahala Mandarin Oriental, Hawaii, 5000 Kahala Ave.; 808-739-8780.