Rising Star Pastry Chef Elizabeth McDonald of Honu Seafood & Pizza - Biography

Lahaina, HI

October 2012

Pastry Chef Elizabeth McDonald’s mother was a mediocre cook but a great baker. And from an early age, she instilled an important baking work ethic in her daughter: always work with her hands, and always work from scratch. The lesson took. McDonald’s first job was in a greenhouse, and she still says if she weren’t a chef she’d want to “work in the dirt.” As it happens, she instead works with chocolate.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and staging at Spago Beverly Hills, McDonald spent a couple years traveling to seasonal restaurants in Rhode Island, Key West, and Alaska. Her fascination with vegan pastries began while she was running a catering business in Key West. A friend of hers worked at a nearby vegetarian restaurant and wanted to expand the dessert section there. McDonald spent her nights researching how to substitute bananas and flax seeds for eggs.

That proved more than useful knowledge, especially when the course of constant seasonal travel took her to Hawaii in 2009 and to Honu Seafood & Pizza. There, she was tasked by Chef-owner Mark Ellman with creating a pastry menu from top to bottom without an existing savory menu. Today, McDonald uses her vegan arsenal to craft gluten-free and vegan pastries and pizza that never skimp on flavor or sophistication.