Why he killed it in 2015: Everything about the Oahu-born chef and his Tendernob restaurant oozes "aloha." After a series of buzzy, quick-to-sell-out pop-ups, Kapur and his authentic Hawaiian fare finally set down roots in February. The care for quality cooking is infections and the food genuine at his breezy spot. Make sure to get a Baked Hawaii, the caramelized pineapple ice cream and toasted meringue beehive-shaped dessert that's giving the 49th state a run for its money and has taken Instagram by storm.
How would you describe your food? "Much like myself, the answer is a bit complicated. The short answer would be heritage-driven cooking influenced by the season. The more elaborate explanation would be that I was born and raised in Hawaii; my mother is Hawaiian Chinese, and my dad is Indian. My family is food obsessed and cooked a lot. Hawaii has a strong Asian cultural presence, and those food cultures strongly influenced my palate's DNA. The other half to that story is that I've cooked in SF for the majority of my professional career. The ethos of seasonality is a part of who I am. We have a large network of farmers who we work with, not to say we're seasonal, but to get the best product. I have a strong understanding of Western cooking techniques and also Eastern techniques and pantry."
What's your signature dish? "The fried oysters, tuna poke and beef tongue buns have been on since the beginning and seem to have become classics. The great thing about these dishes is that they really tell the whole story of the cuisine."
Who is your food god? "My grandmothers on both sides of my family. Watching them shop and cook was the purest form of inspiration to me."
What's your favorite pastime? "I love more than anything to play with my son. On Sundays, we're closed, and I wake up by 7 a.m. to get down on the floor and play with him. He is so incredible, and I treasure my moments with him."Next Chef