Chef Muzzy Fernandez was born and raised in Hawai’i, in the mountains of Kahalu’u, Oahu before moving to the seaside town of Rockport, Massachusetts.
He eventually returned to his homeland, and graduated with a degree from University of Hawai’i West Campus in Culinary Arts.
Chef Muzzy has worked at Hualalai Four Seasons for 10 years under Chef James Ebreo and Chef Alan Wong.
He opened Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill, where he was the Executive Chef for a decade, and then spent six years at Kohanaiki Club.
Currently, Chef Muzzy is the Executive Chef at Club Hokuli'a where he uses Hawaiian products in his creations, influenced by the many cultures that make up the melting pot of Hawai’i.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the mountains of Kahalu’u, Oahu and when I was nine I was transplanted to the mountains of Massachusetts, to small ocean village at the tip of a peninsula at Cape Ann – the seaside town of Rockport.
What or who inspired you to become a Chef?
I was inspired by the Pacific Rim Cuisine chefs while working under Chef Allen Wong who is very creative and innovative.
I also looked to Roy Yamagucci, Sam Choy, Peter Merriman and many others for inspiration.
Why did you get interested in cuisine?
I like to eat and I found I really enjoy cooking for people and making them happy.
What makes Hawaiian cuisine unique and special?
The Hawaiian people make Hawaiian cuisine special.
Poi, fresh fish, cooking pig in the ground, smoked meats, the beautiful produce we have on the islands makes it very unique and special.
Having the best weather on the planet doesn’t hurt either.
Can you share your favourite recipe?
This is the dish I made at the Taste of Pacific and Asia event in Kailua-Kona, on May 19.
Pua’a Ma Ke Kapa Moe Ulu - Pigs in a blanket
To make the ulu crepe:
1 x ripe then baked ulu
½ cup flour
1 qt whole milk
Puree all ingredients and then stuff with kalua pig and smoked sausage.
To make the Lomi Tomato:
4 x roasted Hawaiian chili peppers (de-seeded)
2 cups diced tomato
1 cup diced onion
¼ cup green onions
¼ cup organic apple cider
2Tbls avocado oil
Hawaiian salt TT
Pigs in a blanket. CREDIT Supplied.
Can you tell us about any farmers you work with, from who you buy your ingredients?
I use all local ingredients – I buy from local fishermen plus Adaptations, Cal Kona, Honaunau Market, Kona Fish, Sui San, Bonnie “the organic chocolate wahine”, Hawai’i Ulu Cooperative.
What is your personal mission?
My mission is to provide our members at Club Hokulia with the freshest and best products available locally.
That being said, this provides economy for the local fishermen, farmers and ranchers by sourcing the freshest local ingredients to create meals that are enjoyable and memorable.
Can you tell us what you are most excited about right now?
I’m really stoked all the proceeds from the Taste of Pacific and Asia event are being donated to youth programmes in the Kona community – it is a great event to be a part of.