Immensely talented O’ahu born and educated Eric Oto is Chef de Cuisine at Hoku’s, the fine dining restaurant at the legendary Kahala Hotel & Resort. Oto grew up with strong family ties to both the land and the ocean and is a fisherman, craftsman, farmer and cultivator.
Eric Oto’s passion for the culinary arts began as a small boy when at just four years old he recalls catching his first fish. “It’s funny how some childhood memories never leave you, and I still remember catching my first fish with a bamboo cane pole. From that moment on, I was hooked,” Eric recalls with a cheeky smile.
Today, Oto’s love of the ocean is manifested in the many activities he enjoys when not preparing his mouthwatering masterpieces at Hoku’s. Unsurprisingly his first love remains fishing, both shoreline and offshore but he is also an avid free diver who has a profound respect for the ocean and the natural environment.
In August 2017, Oto was appointed Chef de Cusine at Hoku’s adding to an already a stellar resume that included ten years at Orchids Restaurant at the Halekulani, where he also handled the hotel’s culinary program for events and banquets. Just prior to moving to the Kahala Hotel & Resort, Oto was Sous Chef at the Four Seasons Ko`olina’s Fish House and was on the restaurant’s executive opening team. Barely a year later, that experience would serve him well when Hoku’s underwent a multi-million dollar renovation.
“ I feel honored to be working in this iconic hotel and beautiful ‘new‘ restaurant with such a talented team and I greatly appreciate the guidance and support of our Executive Chef, Wayne Hirabayashi,” Oto said.
Hoku’s elegant new décor incorporates a variety of textural elements including bronze marble inlay, coconut shells and black granite that offer guest a vibrant stimulation for the senses. One of the most striking features is the custom-made light fixtures which resemble the stars, or hoku, and bathe the restaurant in a warm and welcoming glow.