Viktor Schmidt of Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay
New to Hawai‘i Island, Viktor Schmidt will debut at Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range on October 4. The executive chef of the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay has already been involved with the community culinary scene, however, mentoring Hawai‘i Community College students. Chef Schmidt also won first place in the professional cooked category at the recent Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest and serves as vice president of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kona Kohala Chefs Association.
Cooking Since a Teenager
Chef Schmidt grew up in a big family in Massachusetts. As a high school freshman, he was wowed by “all the wonderful food” being created in a vocational cooking class and signed up for a four-year apprenticeship program. In the U.S. Army, he served as a cook and his military service helped fund his degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management from the University of Alaska. Schmidt enjoyed culinary stints at Sheraton and Hilton hotels in the 49th State, as well as with Japan Airlines Inflight Catering Service. Before coming to Keauhou last summer, he worked as an executive chef in Waikiki. An ACF Certified Executive Chef with over 30 years experience, Schmidt also holds a degree from New York’s Culinary Institute of America.
Q and A
Q: How would you describe your cooking style and please give some examples.
A: A blend of Pacific Northwest with an Asian flair. Think of macnut-crusted halibut served with a carrot curry sauce. It’s a marriage of Alaska and Hawai‘i. A lot of food between the two states is similar—in cooking style and demographics of the kitchen.
Q: Do you use grass-fed beef at the Sheraton Kona?
A: We use it for special occasions, such as our farm-to-table offerings. We need to educate the general public that it has its own flavor and tastes different than corn-fed beef. Diners are confused. My job as chef is to expose them to it and market it in the right way.
Q. What are your favorite grass-fed beef cuts and why?
A: Rib eye and short ribs; both are very flavorful.
Q: What other local food products are your favorite and why?
A: Anything grown yesterday—it’s that simple.
Q: What do you like to do pau-hana (after work)?
A: I’ve lived here nine months so I’m still in the discovery mode. I enjoy going to all the farmer’s markets around the island…trying all the fresh food, different breads. I haven’t been able to go fishing here yet, but I love to fish and still go back to Alaska to do that.
I love to help youth entering the food industry. In Alaska, I mentored a culinary team that went on to win the state’s ProStart competition. I’m still on the advisory board for my school in Massachusetts and in December, served as coach for our West Hawai‘i college culinarians, who won a bronze medal at the ACF Student Culinary Competition at Kapiolani Community College.
The Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa is located at 78-128 Ehukai Street in Keauhou-Kona. 808-930-4900. www.sheratonkona.com
Recipe: 40-Mile Kimchee Poke Push Up
First Place Professional Cooked at Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest 2013
By Chef Viktor Schmidt, CEC