Jonathan Pasion is New Executive Chef for Kō at Fairmont Kea Lani
Tylun Pang, Fairmont Kea Lani’s Executive Chef, and Thomas Houston, Director of Food & Beverage, announces the homecoming of Jonathan Pasion, welcoming him back to Fairmont Kea Lani as Executive Chef for Kō.
“We are elated to welcome one of our very own culinary talents back to our Kō kitchen,” said Pang. C”hef Pasion has enjoyed continuous success while working and honing his skills abroad. His seasoned experience, fresh culinary talent and love for his home of Maui will continue to push Kō to new heights. Our team is excited to welcome Chef Pasion back to the Fairmont Kea Lani in his new position as Kō’s Executive Chef. We are ecstatic that he chose to return to our Kō ʻohana where he started a decade culinary journey,” said Pang.
Born and raised on Maui and a graduate of Maui High School, Pasion studied culinary arts at University of Hawaiʻi, Maui College. Shortly after graduating he began working at Fairmont Kea Lani as a cook supporting the resort’s food and beverage venues.
Pasion continued his studies across the country at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island earning a Restaurant and Culinary Management degree.
His work took him from kitchens along the shores of Rhode Island back to the beaches of Maui where he worked progressive positions culminating as Chef De Cuisine at Kaʻana Kitchen, the signature restaurant for Andaz Wailea Maui Resort. In this role, he was lauded for his innovative menus by local and industry magazine awards alike.
He has garnered accolades including Hyatt Hotels’ Good Taste Series Culinary Competition winner in the regional and global finals. In 2019, Pasion joined the opening team at Park Hyatt Auckland as Chef De Cuisine where he earned the signature restaurant Onemata Restaurant distinction in local press among the “Top 6 Best New Eateries in Auckland, NZ”.
“This is an extremely exciting acquisition for Kō and I am tremendously proud to have Chef Pasion at the helm of our signature restaurant,” said Tom Houston, Director of Food & Beverage. “Chef Pang is a highly respected pillar of the culinary community in Maui and one of his many skills is that of identifying and developing talent within his brigade. Chef Pasion’s return to our team in the capacity of Kō Executive Chef is a very special example of this commitment and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the ‘table,’” said Houston.
Pasion’s arrival to Fairmont Kea Lani and Kō Restaurant has been highly anticipated by Kō leadership for quite some time. The resort helped Pasion keep his return home to Maui a secret so he could unveil his surprise to his mom at a family dinner at Kō earlier this week.
“I’ve traveled around the world and returned home before, but this time around, coming back home to Maui has new meaning for me. My travels have provided me incredible opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. During my time away, I have been afforded once in a lifetime experiences and acquired knowledge that has provided new perspectives for me,” said Pasion. “Today, it’s my mom, family, and friends that have drawn me back home.”
“Returning to the Fairmont is a full circle for me. I remember my first time working in Kō Restaurant as a Cook 3 (a beginner chef position),” said Pasion. “To me, Kō resembles the local culture and rich heritage of Hawaiʻi. My grandparents immigrated to Maui from the Philippines to work in the rice plantations and sugar fields. Sharing food with people you love is a central part of traditional Filipino culture as well as in my home growing up. Being a part of a large family, food was something that constantly brought us together. Some of my favorite memories of family and home are from times we were gathered together around the dinner table. As I grew up and embarked on my career path, I found myself falling in love with the nostalgia of our family gatherings. I saw my opportunity to create these memories for others,” said Pasion.
Named Maui’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’, Fairmont Kea Lani’s highly acclaimed signature restaurant Kō offers guests a unique dining experience highlighting Hawaiʻi’s plantation era-inspired cuisine. Kō showcases the culinary influence of Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese immigrants on the distinct flavors of the islands. Kō is renowned for supporting community purveyors through its focus on highlighting the island’s fresh produce, beef and seafood in authentic island family recipes with a farm-fresh, contemporary twist.