Dino’s Gourmet On-the-Go: A New NeighborJanuary 6, 2017, 8:45 AM HST · Updated January 6, 12:44 PM Kiaora Bohlool · 0 Comments
His food truck features a smiling dinosaur in a chef hat. Dinos Zagouras, known as “Chef T. Rex,” has had a fiercely successful culinary career, working with notable chefs and top restaurants from New York City to France.
But with so much talent, there were endless demands.
“I was working so many hours, I wanted to see my family,” explains Zagouras. “I have two girls; it was hard for me to see them working 14, 16 hours.”
The work was grueling, and Maui was calling. He bought a food truck out East and shipped it here, starting Dino’s Gourmet On-the-Go about a year and a half ago. Zagouras is originally from Greece, and says he connects with our island style.
“It’s my own business, I can do whatever I want now,” says Zagouras. “Plus I’m in Hawai’i—it’s the best!”
The food truck menu includes Maui Cattle Company beef pie, blue cheese burger, fresh-cut fries, fish of the day, crab cake, Swedish meatballs, and organic pasta. Zagouras also makes desserts, like chocolate panna cotta and lilikoi mousse.
“I have 50 reviews on Yelp, all of them five stars, so that means I’m doing something good,” he smiles.
Dino’s just moved into the food truck community across from Costco in Kahului, which includes a range of food options, including poke, sushi, Mexican, Hawaiian and Thai food. Zagouras calls his neighbors’ food “beautiful,” and brings a unique addition, describing his specialty as modern French cuisine.
Zagouras takes pride in his creative freedom, and the responsibility that comes along with it. Although the hours can still be long, they’re his hours.
“Food is a passion, you give your heart, you’re going to work 48 hours sometimes like I do; this is your business,” he explains, adding that now, he’s not only a chef, but also a mechanic, electrician, cleaning crew, cashier and server as he builds his business.
Dino’s Gourmet On-the-Go opens at 11 a.m. and stays open late on Wednesdays and Thursdays, until 8:30 p.m. You’ll also see the truck at the swap meet on Saturdays.
With so many years of culinary excellence under his belt, Zagouras says the first focus for any chef should always be cleanliness.
“Number one priority is to be clean; you have to be a dishwasher, cleaner first, before you become a chef,” he adds. “You can be a great chef, only if you’re clean and organized.”