2010 Chef of the Year: Cameron Lewark

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Story by Shannon Wianecki

Maui Spago Chef Cameron LewarkCameron Lewark wanted to be a chef since the fifth grade, when he began cooking dinner for his overworked mom. After high school, he apprenticed under rising star Lee Heftner at Granita in Malibu, California. Laboring for free, the young Lewark clocked thirteen-hour days peeling potatoes and pitting olives. After a year, he was promoted to bakeshop assistant, for minimum wage. “It could’ve been a dollar an hour,” says Lewark. “I was just so happy to be there.” When Wolfgang Puck tapped Heftner to run the über-famous Spago Beverly Hills, Lewark followed him. In 2001, Lewark’s hard work was rewarded. Puck sent him to Maui to open Spago at the Four Seasons. As Chef de Cuisine at one of the state’s top kitchens, Lewark continues to pursue his childhood passion, switching up the menu nightly. On days off, he runs staff field trips to local farms so line chefs and waiters know their product intimately. Spago’s reputation as the champion of California cuisine doesn’t dissuade Lewark from incorporating spice from every culture into his dishes—such as Bengali chutney with black cumin, and Thai-style whole fish with tamarind sauce. “I love food,” says Lewark. “It’s what I think about; it’s what I dream about.” Thanks to you, Chef, it’s what we dream about, too!

What his peers say about him:

“His food is fabulous!”

“He’s got natural talent.”

“Cameron is an incredibly unique and intuitive chef with a deep understanding of flavors and how they work together.”

“He is innovative in his concept, uses many local ingredients, and shows support for the community.”

Congratulations to Cameron Lewark, 2010 Chef of the Year.


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