Rising Star Chef Sheldon Simeon of Star Noodle - Biography
Born and raised in Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island, Chef Sheldon Simeon decided to take an internship at Walt Disney World in Florida. That could have easily led to a job at some anonymous hotel kitchen, the fate of many Hawaiian chefs on the tourist-dependent island. But Simeon instead decided to strike out in a completely different direction. After leaving Disney (where he met his future wife), graduating from Maui Culinary Academy in 2002, and winning second place at a local Maui culinary competition, Simeon took a job at Aloha Mixed Plate, an eclectic lunch plate restaurant in Maui. Working his way up the ladder there, Simeon’s bosses decided to send him on a tasting trip to New York City, where he sampled all the noodle bars Manhattan had to offer.
Simeon came back from the trip and took on the role of head chef at Aloha’s new sister restaurant Star Noodle, where he helped craft pork buns, ramen, udon, and yakitori—all with local twists and callbacks to techniques and products used by the older generation of Hawaiian chefs he revered. That mix of innovation and adherence to tradition on the Star Noodle menu led to two James Beard award nominations in 2011: Rising Star Chef of the Year and Best New Restaurant, as well as Food & Wine's "Best New Chef People's Choice" and StarChefs.com's Hawaii Rising Star Concept Chef in 2012. Today, Simeon believes that a chef’s emotional and physical state is reflected in his food, and that chefs need to put their soul and love into their dishes for diners to taste the difference. Judging by his dishes, Simeon has certainly done just that.