Island Gourmet Catering by Chef Ilona
About the Chef


Chef Ilona O’Brien



Company: Island Gourmet Catering/ Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort



Culinary Passion: Asian-Italian Cuisine



Specialty: Fresh Seafood and Gourmet Vegetarian Dishes



  • Fully Licensed as a Personal Chef & In-Home Caterer


  • 6 years of Food Service experience


  • SERV Safe certified


  • Active member of American Culinary Federation


  • Proficient in Organic Vegan ( non-dairy) and Vegetarian Cuisine


  • Winner of several local cooking competitions. ( Poke Festival, Kona Coffee Festival, Hilo Classic Competition, etc.


  I began working as a Personal Chef and started Island Gourmet Catering and Events in 2007, after a long career in newspaper advertising. My passion for cooking began as a child watching and helping my mom cook in the kitchen. Not realizing that I could make a career out of cooking, I received my Bachelor of Science in Tourism from University of Santo Tomas in Manila and took management classes in Pasadena Community College in California. I held various positions in travel agencies and also wrote and produced radio and TV scripts for Public Service shows. I finally followed my heart and listened to my family and friends who encouraged me to get into my passion – food and cooking.



Moving to Hawaii opened a lot of opportunities for me to develop my culinary style and infuse unique flavors in my food creation. It exposed me to the marriage of colorful Asian culture and European influences. While working as a line cook at Kona Country Club Vista Restaurant, I received recognition, accolades and awards including “Best Poke using Shoyu,” “Kona Cofeee Festival Best Entree with Coffee,” and Grand Champion for overall Food Show Competition in Hilo. My chef instructors/mentors, Paul Heerlein and Betty Saiki, emphasized early in my career the importance of being a “skilled craftsman” and “master of heat.”  It’s inspiring to create a beautifully presented and well cooked food that stretches the palate and excites all the senses. Cooking with better nutrition has also been my platform. Island Gourmet Catering was created based on this philosophy. My specialty is Healthy Comfort Food with a Gourmet Flair”.  We offer a marvelous variety of fresh, preservative-free, nutritious and downright delicious foods.  



In my spare time, while working as F&B Manager at Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort, and as part of my quest to broaden my culinary horizons, I am developing an endless array of new and innovative fresh seafood and gourmet vegetarian recipes.




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