Maui Food and Dining

Andaz Chef Wins Hyatt Regional Culinary Challenge

October 7, 2018, 2:51 PM HST
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Chef Jonathan Pasion won The Good Taste Series Americas Regional Competition this year, put on by Hyatt. Courtesy photo.

Hyatt has announced the winners of its fifth-annual culinary competition The Good Taste Series Americas Regional Competition: Chefs Jonathan Pasion of Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort and Leo Minelli of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in The Bahamas.

Judged by a panel of food and hospitality industry professionals, 11 regional winners from Hyatt properties in North America prepared two reception-style dishes designed from a mystery basket of ingredients. The dishes also incorporated local ingredients, regional influences and represented Hyatt’s global food philosophy, Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. Each plate was judged on flavor, presentation, creativity, and the chef’s interaction with their audience.

“We are extremely proud of our culinary talent in the Americas, and congratulate both Chef Jonathan, Chef Leo and all of our talented competitors,” says Colleen Kareti, vice president, operational experiences, Hyatt, Americas. “As we continued this annual competition for the fifth year in a row, we centered this event around furthering the development of our culinary talent and showcasing Hyatt’s commitment to culinary excellence.”

Utilizing all of the mystery ingredients, which included Hog Snapper, Pigeon Peas, local Squash and Sugar Apples, Chef Jonathan presented Kaffir Hog Snapper Tataki and Nori Emulsion dishes and Chef Leo presented Cured Snapper Tartare and Hog Snapper with Pigeon Pea Baba Ghanoush.

“Being part of The Good Taste Series has been an honor as I continue to hone my culinary skills,” said Chef Jonathan Pasion. “Winning this competition is a huge accomplishment, and I am proud to have presented dishes that represent my training and background alongside extremely talented Hyatt competitors whom I’ve learned so much from this week.”


As the winners of The Good Taste Series Americas Regional Competition, Chef Jonathan and Chef Leo received a $2,000 check and will also be attending the global competition, where they will compete against Hyatt chefs from around the world in spring 2019 in Hong Kong.


“I feel very fortunate to have been part of this competition and lucky to work for a company that gives me the freedom to explore my culinary passions,” said Chef Leo Minelli. “Cooking alongside my talented Hyatt colleagues has been a great learning experience as well, and I look forward to bringing all that I’ve learned during the competition back to my team and our guests at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

The Good Taste Series Americas competition was comprised of 11 chefs who won regional competitions that took place earlier this year:

Michael Cantin, Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
Alejandro Ceja, Hyatt Regency Morristown
Bladimir Garcia, Andaz Mayakoba
Chris Ingmire, The Driskill
Bradley Jones, Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead
Nikolaos Kapernaros, Hyatt Regency Chicago
Michael Lombardo, Grand Hyatt Denver
Leandro Minelli, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Jonathan Pasion, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
Ricardo Sanchez, Hyatt Regency Scottsdale
Keisha West, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay


The Good Taste Series Americas Regional Competition was judged by a panel of esteemed industry journalists that included:

Danica Lo – Digital Director, Food & Wine magazine
Karrie Holland – Food & Travel Contributor, The Daily Meal
Brother Luck – Celebrity Chef
Klaus Mueller – Global Master Chef Culinary Director – Swiss Chalet Fine Foods
Kris Moon – COO of the James Beard Foundation

For more information about Hyatt’s global Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. philosophy, visit here. The term “Hyatt” is used here to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates, which owns more than 750 properties in over 55 countries across six continents.

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