Chef Keith Endo of Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar - Biography
Originally from Hilo, Hawaii, Chef Keith Endo is probably one of the last chefs you’d expect to cook excellent, authentic Italian food. As a child, Endo’s parents were constantly working, so he learned to cook for himself by 12 years old. With his cooking talents firmly rooted, Endo knew that he would eventually have to move away from his hometown of Hilo. “The food scene [there] is very low key,” he says. “In order for my career to grow I needed to move away.” Endo's first move (after graduating from Kapiolani Community College with a culinary degree) was not very far, hopping on a plane to Maui to work as a sushi chef at Sansei.
However, bigger moves were soon in store for Endo. When Hawaiian Restaurateur D.K. Kodama (owner of Sansei) and Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya opened Mediterranean bistro Vino, Endo was chosen to be its chef. Endo, who had no training in Italian cuisine, traveled to San Francisco to learn pasta-making at Seven Hills. In 2010 he visited Italy—exploring markets and restaurants in Venice, Rome, and Campania—to get a sense of the importance of fresh, locally sourced product and the simplicity of Italian cuisine. Today, Endo is a shy but formidable force in the Hawaiian scene, putting out fresh pasta and intriguing takes on local dishes using Italian influences.