A chef with humble beginnings, Executive Chef Ronnie Nasuti started his restaurant career at the young age of 14 as a dishwasher. At 17, he became a kitchen manager at a Classical Northern Italian restaurant where he assisted the Chef/Owner on a daily basis, honing his craft and discovering his passion for cooking. He finished four years of culinary arts at the high school level and further developed his skills at the Les Dames d’Escoffier Society where he completed a culinary apprenticeship at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston as a culinary apprentice sponsored by the Les Dames d’Escoffier Society.
When he first came to Hawaii, he worked at Horatio’s (now Kincaid’s), holding various positions in a very regimented and high volume kitchen. After hearing about Roy’s and “the buzz” about an exciting, new style of cuisine, he wanted to work for Chef Roy Yamaguchi and his new dining concept. He started at the former Roy’s Park Bistro location, learning every station including 24-hour room service and pastry. He then went to the flagship restaurant in Hawaii Kai where he trained further under Chef/Founder Roy Yamaguchi, Corporate Chef/Partner Gordon Hopkins and Corporate Chef Hawaii Jacqueline Lau. Chef Ronnie went on to become Sous Chef at Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill on Kauai, then Executive Chef at Roy’s Hawaii Kai after fulfilling an opportunity as the Executive Chef at Chez Michel in Honolulu.
After a proven record of successful and distinguished accomplishments, Chef Ronnie has chosen to hang his hat at Tiki’s Grill & Bar, steering this favorite destination for locals and visitors alike to a higher level of dining and excellence. Chef Ronnie, who believes in the farm-to-table movement by visiting farms and building strong bonds with local farmers, brings in island fresh produce and breads, as well as 175 pounds of local grass-fed beef and 450 pounds of locally caught or raised fish every week. His delicious signature items and dinner specials that fuse Hawaiian/Pacific Island with American cuisine are the result of his dedication to the craft and cooking with locally grown and raised food.
A familiar face in Hawaii’s culinary scene, Chef Ronnie is a frequent guest on “Hawaiian Grown TV” and regularly represents Tiki’s at charitable events, such as The Good Table for Lanakila Meals on Wheels; The Arthritis Foundation, teaching kids with arthritis how to cook; Kick Start, a charity for underprivileged kids to compete in Karate competitions on the mainland; and many more.
An effective and motivational trainer from both the front and back of the house, Chef Ronnie continues to be inspired by working with the best chefs in the world.
His advice to aspiring chefs: “Be sure you love it wholeheartedly. If you don’t, you won’t make it. If you do, it will be a more than gratifying experience and career choice.”