A Chef’s Hawaiian Tale in Ashland

by Kimberly A. Cook                                  (Twitter @WarriorTales)

The best chicken teriyaki I’ve ever tasted turned into a veteran story. I have pretty good Vet-Dar, (Veteran Radar), but even this one surprised me.

The Red Hibiscus Restaurant in Ashland became a fast favorite after eating there last Fall. I almost licked the plate since I loved the teriyaki sauce so much. The family owned Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant was a fabulous surprise tucked away in Ashland. 

Chef Ron Yamaoka, U.S. Army veteran, at the Red Hibiscus Restaurant

When we visited this year, we discovered they were going out of business Sept. 29; another casualty of the recession. I gave the waitress my business card and asked her to PLEASE let me know if they bottled the sauce or sold it online.

Before I knew what happened, owner Ron Yamaoka gave me his recipe. Turns out he was born and raised in Hawaii, trained in culinary arts in California and worked at the prestigious St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, one of my favorite spots.

“When I went in the Army and got picked by General Seitz to be his chef, I asked him why?” Yamaoka said. “He told me, ‘I know you island boys work hard and you worked at the St. Francis.’”

Ron told us about the stars and dignitaries he met in the Army and showed us pictures on the wall from June Allyson to personal snapshots which included Bob Hope and Princess Caroline. Amazing. Ron wanted to make French food for Princess Caroline and she wanted a hamburger!

Chef Yamaoka's favorite pictures hanging in the Red Hibiscus Restaurant

I tried to convince Ron he could write a great cook book. People would love to read his stories and get his recipes. He wasn’t so sure, but I’m hopeful. Ron is in San Francisco now with his wife, Carrie, and I hope his fingers are flying on a computer keyboard.

Veterans and their stories are everywhere.  Every veteran has an important story to tell. So until Ron gets his cookbook out, I have to try and figure out his teriyaki recipe on my own.  I’m on the hunt to secure me some chili paste! Got military recipes? Write them down!


Filed under Veteran Stories

2 responses to “A Chef’s Hawaiian Tale in Ashland

  1. What a wonderful discovery! Goes to show we never know what the backstory is behind the people we meet (and often rush by) from day to day. I’m with you…hoping to see Ron’s cookbook on the market. (:

  2. Pingback: The Power Of Curiosity And Chicken Teriyaki | Quirky Warrior Woman Writer Kimberly A. Cook

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