Executive Chef, Isaac Bancaco
Chef Isaac Bancaco may be Maui’s newest and brightest rising star on the Hawaiian culinary horizon. Recently named Executive Chef at Pineapple Grill at Kapalua, Chef Bancaco brings to the table an inspired blend of sophistication and local influence. His love of the islands is evident in creative dishes that reflect and celebrate Hawaii’s multi ethnic blend of cultures, often drawing from his own heritage of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino and Hawaiian.
Stardom is not a new concept for this young chef. Hawaii Hospitality has named him one of Hawaii’s “Top Young Chefs to Watch” and he is the only chef recognized among TravelAge West’s “Future Faces of Hawaii Tourism.” You may remember him as the young sous chef working alongside renowned James Beard Award Winner, Chef Ming Tsai, on the original Iron Chef America. Together, Bancaco and Tsai won the challenge against famed Iron Chef, Bobby Flay in “Battle Duck”—the Iron Chef’s first loss in “Kitchen Stadium America.”
Born and raised on Maui, Bancaco began his culinary career immediately after graduating high school when he left Maui to pursue an education at the Western Culinary Institute (now Le Cordon Bleu). Hard work and talent landed him an internship at Chef Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger in Boston where he worked his way up the ranks to obtain the Sous Chef’s position in just four years. He also worked for James Beard Award Winner, Chef Roy Yamaguchi, one of the original founders of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, as the opening Sous Chef at Roy’s-Los Angeles, the highest grossing Roy’s Restaurant worldwide.
Most recently, Chef Bancaco followed his heart back to Maui. He became Chef de Cuisine at the Grand Wailea’s Humuhumunukunukuapua’a where he earned a reputation for his innovative “locavore” menu, showcasing a commitment to local farmers and island grown products. Bancaco remains a key player in several of the Maui County Farm Bureau’s initiatives to encourage consumers to buy local and is one of the initial chefs to support the launch of Growing Future Farmers.
“I’m thrilled to be at The Pineapple Grill at Kapalua,” says Bancaco with a smile, “an area where I have roots, and history. At Pineapple Grill I look forward to creating menus that honor our Island traditions—with a fun, eclectic twist.” “My philosophy is to promote and encourage the sustainability of our Islands and with these beautiful and locally grown products create dishes with excitement, intensity of flavors and textures that will certainly take Pineapple Grill to the next level in the culinary world.