Regional Executive Chef Hiroyuki “Hiro” Mimura oversees both Appetito Craft Pizza & Wine Bar and Taormina Sicilian Cuisine. He started his career in Tokyo, Japan at Trattoria Marumo where he learned the basics of management and the foundations to creating various Italian dishes. Inspired by his time in Italian dining, Chef Hiro then moved to Florence, Italy where he worked in various fine dining establishments. In 2004, Chef Hiro competed in the prestigious La Rottadel Vino Slow Food Contest in Italy, in which he placed in the top five under the Appetizer Competition and first place in the Entrée Competition. He has been a part of Waikiki’s Taormina Sicilian Cuisine since its opening ten years ago, recognized for introducing Hawaii to the Uni (sea urchin) Pasta and other unique Italian dishes. Chef Hiro understands the importance of using local and seasonal ingredients and is committed to incorporating them in his dishes whenever possible.
Tokyo-born Chef de Cuisine Naomi Ito began her culinary career at Bridgestone Motorsports in Japan. There, she catered and worked the hospitality booth at circuits across Japan. After securing a position at Taormina Sicilian Cuisine in Waikiki, Naomi blossomed into the skilled chef she’s become under Chef Hiro’s watchful eye. She began working as an intern and eventually worked her way to Chef Hiro’s Sous Chef. By the time she was offered the Chef de Cuisine position at Appetito, Chef Naomi was ready to step up to the challenge. “I love Italy and Italian food,” said Ito. “I want to make a new style restaurant in Waikiki, taking advantage of what I’ve learned from Chef Hiro.”