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Connoisseur's Choice in Luxury Living

Island Chef

Island Chef

Island Chef
Charbroiled Onaga, Vegetable Ratatouille & Essence of Basil

By Chef Ben Takahashi

Chef Ben Takahashi is an island boy through-and-through, born in Honolulu, Hawaii, he always had a knack for the culinary arts.  Even as a young boy he was the first to get the best catch when out fishing with friends and he was quick to share his prize at the dinner table. 

Ben attended Santa Rosa Jr College, rooming with five other Hawaii boys, and it was during that time that he discovered he wanted to become a Chef.  Perhaps due to the fact that he was relegated to make the meals for his roommates, none-the-less the members and guests at The Club at Kukui’ula have benefited from his early efforts.  Ben went on to study at Kapiolani Community College Culinary School and Hawaii Pacific College, but his best experience came on the job working at the Yacht Harbor Restaurant, the Plaza Club, and Waialae Country Club in his early years in the kitchen.  He also perfected his cooking style for the masses when he worked at United Airlines Honolulu.

Chef Ben loves to cook fish and offers a host of creative culinary offerings to the members and guest at The Club at Kukui’ula.  His favorite dish to partake in is any type of Poke…an island favorite for sure!  Poke is fresh marinated seafood raw or cooked.  His favorite cooking show, when he has time to relax on the couch, is Guy Fieri, of the Food Networks, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!

Chef Ben’s advice to someone starting out in a culinary career…”Be sure to choose the right career path.  Learn your fundamental of basic cooking and ask question when in doubt.  Always take notes of procedure and recipe no matter how important you think it is.  Be a sponge and absorb as much information you can.”

Chef Ben’s mentor is the James Beard Award Winning Chef Mavro, who he began working with in 1989 at LaMer Restaurant, a Five Diamond French Restaurant, located within the coveted Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Chef Mavro was impressed with Chef Ben’s talent and skill and took him to Seasons Restaurant, of the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui.  Chef Mavro then opened his own restaurant, Mavros, in Honolulu and asked Chef Ben to be a part his team.  After an 11-year apprentice with Chef Mavro, Chef Ben went back to Four Sears Restaurant, Season, to help them secure Maui’s first Five Diamond award.  Chef Ben has been the Executive Chef for Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa where he assisted in a 70 million dollar renovation, Mauna Lani Bay & Bungalows, Cassis by Chef Mavro, Sheraton Kauai Resort, Poipu Beach, and now at The Club at Kukui’ula.

Chef Ben is please to share his recipe for Charbroiled Onaga with Vegetable Ratatouille and Essence of Basil with you.

Charbroiled Onaga with Vegetable Ratatouille, Essence of Basil (Four servings)


20oz. Onaga cut into 2oz cubes (Hawaiian Red Long Tail Snapper)

4ea. Rosemary Stems

2pc. Medium green zucchini

2pc. Medium eggplant

2pc. Red bell pepper

2pc. Green bell pepper

1pc. Medium Maui onion

2pc. large tomato

5 oz. Extra virgin olive oil

2ea. Garlic cloves, minced

12pc. Calamata olives, pitted, chopped

1T. Capers 1T. Anchovies, minced

2T. Fresh basil, diced Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Essence of Basil:

1ea. Maui Onion thinly sliced

1cup. White Wine ½ cup Water

4oz. Sweet Basil

2oz. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to Taste

Method for Onaga:

Cut rosemary stem approximately 7inch, remove ¾length of leaves from stem.

Skewer Onaga cubes and reserve

Method for Ratatouille:

Remove skin from green zucchini and eggplant, dice into medium size pieces.

Cut red and green bell peppers, remove seeds, dice into medium size pieces.

Remove skin from onion, dice into medium size pieces.

Peel tomatoes, de-seed and dice into medium size pieces.

Sautéed separately in olive oil until thoroughly cooked: zucchini, eggplant, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and Maui onion.

Set aside each in individual bowls. Sauté garlic in olive oil until translucent, add tomatoes and cook over medium heat until soft.

Add all vegetables, olives, capers and anchovies.

Mix thoroughly; add basil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot or chilled.

Method for Essence of Basil:

In a sauce pan bring water to a boil, and then add Maui onions and sautéed until translucent.

Add white wine to mixture and simmer for about 20minutes or until onions are soft, chill and reserve.

Blanch basil in salt water, then cool and reserve.

In Vita mix Blender puree Maui onions and Basil together and emulsify with extra virgin olive oil, Strain thru chinois.

Method for Plating:

Season your Onaga with olive oil, salt and pepper.

On medium to high heat place the skewers on grill until golden brown turn (Approximately 2minute interval between turns depending on thickness of cubes) skewers to make diamond shape figure on fish. Turnover your fish and repeat. When done, place fish skewers on vegetable ratatouille and drizzle essence of basil mixture.

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