Chef Sheldon Simeon
Chef Sheldon Simeon

Sheldon Simeon

Restaurant: Migrant (Read a review) Location: Kihei, HI Why He's Amazing: Because he's meshing his Hawaiian background with local produce and Asian techniques at this no-frills Filipino gastropub. Culinary School: Maui Culinary Academy (Kahului, HI) background: Star Noodle, Aloha Mixed Plate, Old Lahaina Luau (/sites/default/files/ahaina, HI) Quintessential Dish: Kilawen (Filipino-style goat ceviche) Island Influences: "My main influence in cooking stems from the Hawaii Regional Chef Team, particularly Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi." Early Ambitions: "In high school, I wanted to be an architect, so I took mechanical drawing through my freshman, sophomore and junior years. But senior year, I started to go surfing, so I was like, 'Do I really want to go to a four-year college?' I went to culinary school and found out I liked it. It became a passion." Best Known For: Being one of the final three contenders on Top Chef Season 10; he was the first chef from Hawaii to compete in the series.
At the Filipino gatherings of my youth, you could always count on ample amounts of pancit, a noodle stir-fry seasoned with oyster sauce and fish sauce. Pancit recipes vary, but they tend to take shape based on whatever you toss in the wok. The goal is not to get a crazy hot sear, but simply to get everything warmed through and cooked. Without the savory crunch of fried garlic, my kitchen wouldn't be the same. Though labor-intensive, this cooking method produces a ridiculously crispy, garlicky fried garlic. Plus, you'll end up with a batch of garlic oil to use in other dishes.
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I imagine many chefs have a dish like this, one that begins as a hastily-assembled staff meal and somehow morphs into one of the most popular things they've ever served in a restaurant. Oh wait, is it just me? It began with shishito peppers blistered in a screaming hot pan, because who doesn't love shishitos? I took some cooked quinoa that was on the line and threw it in the fryer until it turned nutty and crunchy and topped it all off with furikake. You can buy furikake, but there's a recipe here in case you want to make your own.
Sardine Pupu
Rating: Unrated
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Sardine pupu is a simple, prototypically Filipino treat: Splashes of shoyu and vinegar essentially qualify it as adobo, while a crucial glug of lemon oil on top adds complexity. My favorite part is the raw onions, which I rinse under ice water, a technique that softens their bite and brings out the sweetness. This is a primo snack, or add two scoops of rice and you've got a meal. My recipe for the lemon oil and chile pepper water can be halved or quartered if you'd like, but they have endless uses if you want to store the extra in the fridge. If the lemon oil and chile pepper water are already made, the dish comes together in about 10 minutes.
Pulled from the coals, these super-tender, puddinglike charred sweet potatoes from chef Sheldon Simeon make an unforgettable side dish thanks to the rich and creamy ginger-spiked coconut caramel. With plenty of fresh ginger and a rich coconut flavor, the sauce isn’t too sweet, but just right. (Try the leftover caramel spooned over a biscuit, or stir it into coffee.) Try the sweet potatoes with Simeon’s summer luau recipes, like Huli Huli Chicken Wings or Pulehu Steak Tip Skewers with Maui Onion Finadene Sauce.
Chef Sheldon Simeon's recipe for a Hawaiian twist on Mexican elote features grilled corn slathered in a creamy, cheesy calamansi mayonnaise, which gets its acidic twang from a sour citrus fruit native to the South Pacific (you can substitute Key Limes in a pinch). Japanese chile flakes (ichimi togarashi) add heat; aonori (dried seaweed) flakes add umami oomph and island style. It's an easy and irresistible side dish for a luau-inspired cookout: Try serving it with Simeon's Huli Huli Chicken Wings.
Kamaboko Dip
Rating: Unrated
New!
In this Kamaboko Dip recipe from chef Sheldon Simeon, tender julienned kamaboko (a pink-and-white fish cake sold frozen at Asian grocery stores) plays off of crunchy scallions, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and sour cream laced with umami-packed dashi concentrate (hondashi). Alaea salt, a red Hawaiian sea salt enriched with volcanic clay, adds color and an earthy flavor. Somewhere between a dip and a spread, Kamaboko Dip is smeared over crackers or bagels or dunked into with fresh crudité.
In this recipe from Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon inspired by the food trucks that serve garlic butter shrimp on Oahu’s North Shore, shrimp are marinated in a mixture of Italian dressing, mayonnaise, calamansi juice, and salt, then grilled and tossed in roasted garlic butter. The result: unbelievably sweet, juicy grilled shrimp. You can make the garlic butter in advance, and use any leftover garlic butter on pasta, fish, or toast.
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Huli Huli Chicken Wings
Rating: Unrated
3
Sheldon Simeon uses fresh ginger and pineapple juice to add bright heat and tang to the sweet, teriyaki-like homemade huli huli sauce that coats the chicken wings and pineapple slices in this recipe. The marinade helps the wings get smoky-sweet on the grill and retain a delicious juicy bite. Huli huli means "turn turn"—huli huli chicken is local specialty on Oahu, where vendors thread chickens on a special rotating grill and broil it over charcoal. When grilling at home, be sure to turn the chicken wings often so they crisp evenly. The slices of fresh, glazed pineapple get smoky on the grill and play off the juicy, caramelized chicken.
Eggplant Adobo
Rating: Unrated
New!
This stir-fried eggplant adobo recipe from chef Sheldon Simeon gets its deliciously sweet-sour flavor from a sauce of apple cider vinegar and oyster sauce with loads of dimension thanks to a generous amount of garlic, ginger, and berbere seasoning (an Ethiopian spice blend featuring fenugreek, paprika, chiles, and several other spices that can be found online and at Whole Foods). Chicken wings further enrich the sauce with fat and flavor—after removing them from the sauce, enjoy them as cook’s snack, if you like, or serve them alongside the eggplant. Use a premium oyster sauce, such as Megachef, for this recipe, and seek out Japanese eggplant—both can be found at Asian grocery stores. We love this dish with steamed white rice—it is the perfect vessel to sop up extra sauce.
In this recipe from Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon inspired by the food trucks that serve garlic butter shrimp on Oahu’s North Shore, shrimp are marinated in a mixture of Italian dressing, mayonnaise, calamansi juice, and salt, then grilled and tossed in roasted garlic butter. The result: unbelievably sweet, juicy grilled shrimp. You can make the garlic butter in advance, and use any leftover garlic butter on pasta, fish, or toast.
Huli Huli Chicken Wings
Rating: Unrated
3
Sheldon Simeon uses fresh ginger and pineapple juice to add bright heat and tang to the sweet, teriyaki-like homemade huli huli sauce that coats the chicken wings and pineapple slices in this recipe. The marinade helps the wings get smoky-sweet on the grill and retain a delicious juicy bite. Huli huli means "turn turn"—huli huli chicken is local specialty on Oahu, where vendors thread chickens on a special rotating grill and broil it over charcoal. When grilling at home, be sure to turn the chicken wings often so they crisp evenly. The slices of fresh, glazed pineapple get smoky on the grill and play off the juicy, caramelized chicken.
Eggplant Adobo
Rating: Unrated
New!
This stir-fried eggplant adobo recipe from chef Sheldon Simeon gets its deliciously sweet-sour flavor from a sauce of apple cider vinegar and oyster sauce with loads of dimension thanks to a generous amount of garlic, ginger, and berbere seasoning (an Ethiopian spice blend featuring fenugreek, paprika, chiles, and several other spices that can be found online and at Whole Foods). Chicken wings further enrich the sauce with fat and flavor—after removing them from the sauce, enjoy them as cook’s snack, if you like, or serve them alongside the eggplant. Use a premium oyster sauce, such as Megachef, for this recipe, and seek out Japanese eggplant—both can be found at Asian grocery stores. We love this dish with steamed white rice—it is the perfect vessel to sop up extra sauce.
This Hawaiian-style cold ramen noodle salad recipe is topped with slices of savory, crispy pork shoulder, crunchy bean sprouts, tender ribbons of egg, shredded nori, and slices of Japanese pickled cucumber. A cooling dressing of dashi, rice wine vinegar, and sake brings it all together. It makes a refreshing lunch or a hearty side dish at a cookout. If you can't get your hands on saimin noodles, a Hawaiian wheat noodle usually served in broth (like ramen), look for dried ramen noodles at Asian grocery stores, or use the noodles from three instant ramen packages.
Pulehu is Hawaiian for “to cook over hot coals.” In this grilled steak tip skewer recipe from Hawaiian chef Sheldon Simeon, a punchy, bright basting sauce of sake, soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, garlic, ginger, and scallions flavors the beef. Pulverized toasted barley is the secret ingredient in the sauce—it thickens the sauce and helps it coat the beef so it gets crispy when grilled. Simeon layers on even more flavor into finadene, a soy-based sauce, to serve with the skewers, with the addition of sweet Maui onions and Agrumato lemon olive oil, a citrusy finishing oil produced by pressing whole lemons and olives. If Maui onions aren’t available, Vidalia or other sweet, crunchy onions can be used. Hawaiian chiles are hard to find (if you’re not in Hawaii); on the mainland, look for Fresno chiles, or for more heat, try a Thai bird chile.
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At Migrant in Maui, chef Sheldon Simeon makes his own chow fun noodles. They’re the base for this unconventional dish that’s topped with roast pork and a tangy kale salad and served with a buttery broth.
Simeon makes these noodles extra flavorful by adding roast pork and shrimp that have been fried in garlic oil.