Chef Jojo Vasquez did not always dream of becoming a Chef, but he couldn't fight the inevitable. Growing up in Chicago, Vasquez took his first culinary steps as his father's "mini sous" helping with the family's Chinese-Filipino catering business. That was just the beginning for Vasquez, who at 18 years old enrolled at Kendall Culinary College in Evanston, Illinois.
After graduating, Vasquez took a position as a line cook at Rhapsody in the Chicago Symphony Center and gained his first experience with fine dining. Following Rhapsody, Vasquez worked alongside Troy Thompson in Atlanta's Fusebox restaurant and then in 2005 he made the big move to Maui to join the Banyan Tree Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton.
In 2007, he had the opportunity to work with Japanese Chef Masaharu Morimoto, best known for appearing on the Japanese TV show Iron Chef. Vasquez worked as Executive Chef at Morimoto Waikiki and served as Morimoto's assistant for two seasons of Iron Chef America. Though he would later return to the Banyan Tree Restaurant, Vasquez has called his time with Morimoto "an unbelievable learning experience with an amazing mentor."
In late 2012, Vasquez was brought on as the Executive Chef at The Plantation House Restaurant, one of Maui's top-ranked restaurants located on the famous Plantation Golf Course. Known by visitors and locals alike for its innovative cuisine, The Plantation House provided Vasquez the opportunity to perfect his diverse cooking techniques.
Vasquez enjoys cooking a wide variety of foods and refuses to settle on a favorite. He loves Japanese cuisine for the seafood and playful presentations, the bold flavors of Mexican cuisine and the comfort from the Filipino food of his childhood. Someday, he'd love to own and operate his own restaurant. Vasquez attributes his accomplishments to his passion, commitment, and establishing good relationships with his peers. He states that his "favorite part about the job is Guest satisfaction."