Featured Speakers and Chefs





KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz

Hawaii State Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz represents the 22nd Senatorial District on Oahu. Elected to the Honolulu City Council from 2003 to 2010 before winning a Senate seat in 2010, Dela Cruz currently chairs the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and sits on the Committee on Education. He has also been the driving force behind a comprehensive plan to revitalize Central Oahu’s agricultural landscape and economic footprint with the Whitmore Project in Wahiawa. Envisioned by Dela Cruz as a transformational agricultural-technology hub, the farmers of Whitmore Project will be able to grow, pack, process and retail their goods to consumers at one location.

In addition to his duties in the Hawaii State Senate, Dela Cruz is also a member of the State Land use Task Force, the Transit Oriented Development Task Force, National Association of Latino Elected Officials, Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Effectiveness Standing Committee, Urban Land Institute, Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, and sits on the Board of the Hawaii Asia Pacific Association Young Leaders. 


PANELIST: Myra Kaichi, Senior Executive Assistant of Hawaii Department of Agriculture - Agribusiness Development Corporation

As the Senior Executive Assistant for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s AgribusinessDevelopment Corporation (ADC), Myra handles a range of issues with an emphasis on land and agricultural infrastructure acquisitions. Myra currently oversees and facilitates the integration of all projects and is the driving force to take a development from inception to completion. Her other areas of focus include developing ADC’s semi-autonomous business model, contract negotiation; legislative review; and land acquisition.

Prior to joining the ADC in 2016, Myra was an attorney and served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General where she advised clients on agricultural lending, agricultural land management, capital improvement project contracting, and all phases of land acquisitions from negotiations to closing.


PANELIST: Stephanie Whalen, Executive Director of Hawaii Agriculture Research Center

Ms. Whalen is the Executive Director of the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (formerly the Hawaiian Sugar Planter’s Association). She has led the organization during its transition from a trade association to a non-profit agricultural research organization. She has over 40 years experience in the agricultural industry in Hawaii and has been involved in pesticide registrations, water quality monitoring, environmental regulations, state regulatory issues and community concerns over agriculture and more recently agricultural worker housing. .

HARC's primary research areas now include agroforestry, koa disease resistance for agroforestry and forest restoration, coffee, cacao, papaya and anthurium selection, improvement and new product development, potential biofuel and forage crops and youth agricultural education. HARC's subsidiaries are involved in asset management to maintain infrastructure resources for the diversified agriculture on Oahu.



Augie T has been at the core of the local comedy revival since he began performing for audiences in Hawai‘i and across the United States over a quarter century ago. He was named one of Pacific Business News’ 40 Under 40, funniest comic in Hawai‘i by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Midweek, and one of Hawai‘i’s Top 100 Influential Filipinos Augie’s work has been recognized as best comedy show by Honolulu Magazine, topped the DVD sales chart, and won two Hawai‘i Music Awards and two Na Hoku Hanohano awards.







Raymond Locquiao, Herringbone Waikiki

As the opening chef for Herringbone’s first location in Hawai‘i, Raymond Locquiao is responsible for producing the “fish meats field” culinary concept created by using local seafood, line-caught fish, quality meats and sustainably-grown, organic produce.

Locquiao is a local boy from Salt Lake, a graduate from Radford High on the island of Oahu and a KCC Grad. Coming well-equipped for the task with nearly twenty years of professional cooking and kitchen management experience.  He loves the thrill of a fast-paced kitchen, having honed his skills at top-rated restaurants including N9ne Steakhouse and Yellowtail in Las Vegas, as well as locally in Hawaii at Nico’s, Tommy Bahama’s and Morton’s Steakhouse. He’s also trained under world-renowned chefs Jean-Louis Palladin and Akira Back.

“I’ve been taught that giving back to the islands is the most important thing,” said Locquiao.  He credits Chef Akira, Chef Geno Bernardo, and Chef Chris Conlon, as his mentors, with teaching him valuable lessons.  In turn, Locquiao now enjoys giving back to the land and people who have given him so much in Hawaii and beyond.

Born in Honolulu, Locquiao spent summers cooking alongside his Dad at family events and cooking for his younger siblings. His love was nurtured by memories of family mealtimes and celebrations around food. At age 16, he entered the profession and has since lived and worked in Aspen, Dallas, Las Vegas, and now Hawaii.



Keith Pajinag was born on Oahu, but he later grew up in kitchens around Juneau, Alaska. Peeling potatoes and chopping vegetables while standing on egg crates in the back of the kitchen, Chef Keith worked his way through his mother’s seventeen different establishments, learning everything he could about each station. At 22 years of age, he was presented with a decision to go to culinary school or own a restaurant. He decided on the latter.

Chef Keith moved to Seattle, where he began cooking at the city's Four Seasons while working in no less than three other kitchens at the same time. Although his work ethic allowed him to quickly move up the food chain at the Four Seasons, it was chefs like Jared Wentworth who helped shape his own style. Keith developed his culinary chops in Seattle but always had a passion for coming back home to Hawai'i because of its local fare. 

He brings with him a Pacific Northwestern culinary background and Hawaii-based upbringing to his position as the Executive Chef at THE MODERN HONOLULU. What Keith loves about working at THE MODERN HONOLULU is that he has the freedom to express his vision, as well as the freedom to express his core value of creativity. One of his biggest passions is also fulfilled in seeing his team grow and mentoring them in their career. Keith was part of the team who opened the first Waikiki luxury lifestyle hotel in 2010.  Bringing many years of professional experience in the culinary and management sides, chef Keith executes flawless events upholding the AAA Four Diamond ratings of THE MODERN HONOLULU.


Aaron Siguenza - Tamura's Tavern

Chef Aaron Siguenza started out as a relief managing chef for Spencecliff Restaurants in the 1970's before starting his own business in the 1980’s called Creations in Catering, as well as opening Chubbie Q's.

Four years later, Chef Aaron opened another restaurant called Aiola's Restaurant on Makaloa Street in Honolulu; and then, three years later, became the executive Chef at Olomana Golf before being asked two years later to rejoin Creations in Catering.   Over his 15-year tenure, Chef Aaron helped build Creations into the largest and one of the best catering companies on Oahu.

Following Creations in Catering, Siguenza was urged by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro to serve as chef for New Hope Chapel; and then, three years ago, Glenn Tamura from Tamura's Enterprises approached Chef Aaron to help him open several signature restaurants - The Edge by Tamura's in Kaimuki, and Row Bar by Tamura's and Tamura's Tavern at One Waterfront Plaza.  Chef Aaron's latest project with Tamura’s is helping build a premier catering company in Hawaii that is being called Tamura's Kitchen and Catering.


Guy Smith, Chao Phya Thai Restaurant

Chef Guy incorporates fresh and locally sourced ingredients to create exciting and innovative dishes served at Chao Phya Thai Restaurant, Da Mac Shack and CPT Inflight Catering.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Chef Guy is the founder of Air Culinaire, the largest private aviation catering company in the U.S. Under his leadership at Air Culinaire, he was responsible for executing several high-profile events including three Presidential Inaugurations, the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, GA and the 2005 Super Bowl in Jacksonville, FL.

Chef Guy is a Consultant for numerous food operations throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the mainland.  He is a member of the American Culinary Federation and has served as Membership Chairman and Board Director.


Joel and Jan Hori, The Hawaiian Pie Company

The Hawaiian Pie Company was built on the idea of merging past with future.  The original Holy’s Bakery was founded in the 1930’s by Yoshio and Miyako Hori in Kapaau on Hawaii Island.  In 1979, grandson Joel and his parents opened Holy’s Bakery – Manoa, Inc. in Honolulu and supplied Oahu restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores with pies, cakes, and other delicious baked goods.  They also distributed their frozen ready-to-bake fruit pies statewide.  In the mid-1990’s, Holy’s Bakery Oahu closed and in 2014, Joel, his wife jan and their three adult children opened the Hawaiian Pie Company on Waiakamilo Road to carry on the family legacy.

Today, the Hawaiian Pie Company is a three-generation family operation which creates and produces a wide variety of artisan pies and baked goods.  The 9” fruit pies now weigh three pounds and are filled with a delicious balance of crust, fruit and butter.  The Hawaiian Pie Company has also incorporated a popular mini pie category, which gives customers the opportunity to satisfy their pie craving.