Sho Shimoto of Miyako Restaurant, the premiere Japanese restaurant of the Hyatt Regency Saipan, bested four other Hyatt chefs in the 2018 Hyatt Regency Saipan “Good Taste Series Competition” last Monday.
The competition, an annual event, highlights the best of the best among Hyatt chefs, where they are able to showcase their culinary expertise at a competitive level.
Shimoto will advance to the semi-finals of the Good Taste Series Competition in Tokyo on Aug. 29, 2018, where he will compete with other chefs from Hyatt hotels in the Asia-Pacific region.
“I am so happy and I will try my best in Tokyo,” he said. “This is my second year to join this competition. Last year, I placed second and this year ended up as the overall winner. Hopefully, I get to make it to the number one spot in Tokyo, too.”
Shimoto’s winning dishes used salmon for appetizers and lamb for the main course.
Nick Nishikawa, general manager of Hyatt Regency Saipan, said this internal competition seeks to motivate the young chefs of the Hyatt chains.
“The chefs who participated this year are young—in their 20’s and 30’s—and we welcome this because we try to motivate our young chefs to the next level. We always look forward to young chefs stepping up, learning new things and gaining experience through competitions like this,” he said.
“It’s quite difficult to train the young chefs but Hyatt takes the initiative to produce the best [ones]. Food is very important to Hyatt, so the chefs have to perform well,” he added.
Hyatt executive chef Gabriele Colombo is equally proud of the caliber of the chefs under his guidance. “I am happy to see the five best chefs in Hyatt competing for this exciting event. …the young guys were willing to learn and get involved,” he said.
“Competition is always a good platform to improve a chef’s skills, creativity, and to be comfortable in making quick decisions. It is always a healthy and challenging competition,” he added.
Ty Pauling, the Food and Beverage director at Hyatt Regency Saipan and one of the competition’s judges, said they had a simple judging format to decide on who would represent Saipan in Tokyo this year.
“Flavor, presentation, and how the chef interacts with the other people who are there judging, watching the competition and how they interact with media because those are communicating opportunities. We also wanted to see how the chefs interact and help each other out and we’ve seen some good examples of positive interactions,” he said.
“We saw nice, well-balanced dishes from the chefs and some interesting plating. They are building colors, textures, and flavors into the dish. These are very important because it is not just about food; we want our guests to have an overall unique dining experience when they come to the Hyatt,” he added.
Other chefs who joined this year’s Good Taste competition are chef de cuisine Shawn Lee of Kili Café & Terrace, commis chef Lancaster Secharmidal of Teppanyaki Grill, commis chef Norman Chan of Giovanni’s, and chef de partie Jonathan Borja of Kili Café & Terrace.