At last year’s Taste, Chef Joshua Ketner wowed the crowd with his preparation of whole island pork by offering a tantalizing porchetta-whole boneless pig stuffed with herbs, then carefully rolled and roasted with pork demi glace.
It’s no surprise that Chef Ketner and Hilo Bay Café has a loyal following of patrons and has chalked up rave reviews on Zagat and yelp!. The unassuming restaurant has generated national media attention in magazines such as Food and Wine, Gourmet, and Sunset, and it has won accolades, including the prestigious Hale ‘Aina award several years running. In today’s Taste It blog, Chef Ketner shares his thoughts on using grass-fed beef. The Midwest native, who hails from Moline, Ill. and enjoys fishing and spending time with his young family, says he earned his culinary chops during “on the job training.”
Q and A
Q: Why did you become involved with the culinary arts?
A: The Culinary arts are my passion dating back to age 4; I started in the business at age 14.
Q: How would you describe your cooking style and please give some examples.
A: New American, eclectic, French, with Asian undertones….For example, we offer grass-fed rib eye with Johnson farms rainbow swiss chard, roasted yukon gold potatoes, balsamic-red wine bordelaise and tapenade butter. We serve grass-fed barbecued beef brisket with savory paniolo bread pudding, local, organic green beans and barbecue-red wine bordelaise.
Q: Why do you use grass-fed beef (GFB)?
A: Here at Hilo Bay Café, we believe it is good for our community and our environment, plus it tastes wonderful.
Q: What are your favorite GFB cuts and why?
A: It’s got to be 21-day, dry-aged rib eye- the marbling, taste and tenderness all work together.
Q: Do you let patrons know on your menu they are eating GFB?
Q: What other local food products are your favorite and why?
A: We use mainly all local/organic products. This makes it hard to single out a few “favorites.” At the heart of our food is the belief that local and organic ingredients are better for the Earth and for you.
Q: Are you participating in the 2012 Taste?
Hilo Bay Café is located at 315 Ma’akala St. in Waiakea Center in Hilo. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Reservations are recommended, 808-935-4939, www.hilobaycafe.com. Follow Hilo Bay Café on facebook.
“Use first-rate ingredients and then let the flavors come through,” says Chef Ketner. “Cook to enhance the flavor, not cover it up.”
Chef likes to reinvent classical dishes, such as Wellington and potpie. He adds a modern twist, focusing especially on flavor and texture combinations as he feels both are “critical components” of his dishes. When asked to sample something by Chef Joshua, he suggests you don’t just take a bite of one thing. He insists you “take a little of everything on the plate, and load up your fork to get the full effect…”