When asked whom he reveres in the food world, Doug Kocol immediately says Chefs Brian Polcyn (who co-wrote the meat-curing bible, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing) and Cathal Armstrong (who is known for working at farms on his days off from the kitchen). It’s no wonder, then, that Kocol has made a name for himself—in Hawaii, and inevitably beyond—as a top-shelf charcutier.
The Littleton, Colorado, native spent the formative years of his career working under the tutelage of Chef Charles Hays at Toscanini in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and later at Vin 48 Restaurant and Wine Bar while receiving his culinary degree. Kocol went on to work the line at local haunts Blue Plate Bistro and Restaurant Kelly Liken, and staged at Bouchon, Animal, and Michael Mina. All that experience made him a natural fit when Honolulu Chef Kevin Hanney tapped him for the opening of Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar.
Working in Hawaii at Roy’s, Kocol took some time off to return to Colorado and was hired as sous chef in 2011 by Hanney at 12th Avenue Grill. Only a few weeks into the job Kocol quickly shuffled over to the charcutier position at the newly opened Salt. Alongside fellow Rising Star Chef Quinten Frye, Kocol’s program has caught the attention of Hawaii foodies and fellow chefs. In addition to Salt, Kocol also helped start sustainability-focused company Sweetbreads, which caters private events with a focus on maintaining snout-to-tail and stem-to-root culinary practices, and he works with Grow Culture, which runs catering and pop-up restaurants.