Look Who’s Cookin’ at Taste of the Hawaiian Range: Scott Lutey of Eddie Aikau Restaurant

You may have remembered tasting the delish Kalua Big Island Beef….or maybe the Spicy Bloody Mary Mix that uses local WOW tomatoes and was featured by the RecipeRenovator.com? After just opening, Eddie Aikau Restaurant debuted last year at Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range to wide acclaim. At the helm of the popular Kings’ Shops restaurant is Chef Scott Kealoha Lutey. We feature Scott in this week’s Taste It blog, along with his recipe for Herb Cheese Rubbed Grass-fed Filet Mignon with Tomato Relish.

Maui No Ka Oi

Eddie Aikau Restaurant

Chef Scott Lutey (far right) and team give the shaka the 2011 Taste

Born and raised on The Valley Isle, Chef Lutey is a local boy who “loves to free dive and surf.” He credits his grandmother, who did a lot of cooking when he was growing up, for igniting his flame for the culinary arts. “I always remember the fish-steamed uhu or fried akule. If the opihi were big, she would put them on the grill.”

After graduating from Maui’s Lahainaluna High School, Lutey attended Kapiolani and Hilo Community Colleges. He earned his culinary chops at numerous restaurants and hotels on Maui and Kaua’i before coming to the Big Isle to serve as executive chef at Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Café. On the way, the Hawai’i native earned numerous awards and accolades, including being named a James Beard House “Featured Chef” and Angostura “World Class Taste” grand prize winner.

The four-time Hale ‘Aina Award winner has been at Eddie Aikau since it opened in July 2011 and has been wowing patrons with his innovative menu that relies on a wide variety of local foods-everything from Waipi’o Valley taro and ti leaf to Hula Girl Honey.

Q and A

Q: How would you describe your cooking style?

A: Simple.  I try to enhance the flavors and presentation of local products, like with our Watermelon Salad or Waimea Tomato Salad.  I try to present the foods in interesting ways, with different textures and layers of flavors.

Q: Why do you use grass-fed beef?

A: I use grass-fed beef because I support the local farmers and ranchers of course.  But a big part of it is flavor.  GFB has no hormones or the other chemicals they pump into other cows.

Q: What are your favorite GFB cuts and why?

A: The filet, because the flavor is very clean.  Sometimes other beef, packaged meat, has a “bloody” flavor.  The grass-fed filet doesn’t have that.

Q: Do you let patrons know they are eating GFB on the menu?

A: Yes, absolutely!

Q: What other local food products are your favorite and why?

A: My favorite is still the fish.  You can get meat all over the Mainland, but there’s nothing like the fish here in the islands.  Asa, our fresh fish provider, came in with a beautiful, fresh mahi and cut it just this morning.  Why come to Hawai’i and not eat the fish?

Q: Are you returning to participate in Taste?

A: Yes!

Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum is located at the Kings’ Shops in the Waikoloa Beach Resort, 808-886-8433, Facebook. Read the Recipe Renovator blog on the 2011 Taste and get Chef Scott’s Spicy Bloody Mary Mix recipe.