Erik Leong is an executive chef and part of the original MAHINA & SUN’s culinary team that opened the restaurant in 2016. He has returned to lead the restaurant into its next chapter. Erik honed his skills working for the Town hospitality group under the tutelage of Ed Kenny and Dave Caldiero.
Erik’s cooking journey began with his late mother, who taught him to cook with love. As a graduate of Kaimuki High School and culinary school at Kapiolani Community College, Erik is a local boy with over 16 years of experience in the kitchen. His love of cooking is inspired by his mother, who always enjoyed entertaining and feeding everyone with love. Erik has even created his own unique version of her banana pudding recipe, which he features on the menu to honor her memory and share her passion for cooking with others.
As a chef and mentor, Erik is passionate about teaching his staff and inspiring the next generation. He believes that being a chef is about more than just cooking great food – it’s about creating a positive work environment and building relationships based on trust and respect. According to Erik, the days of chefs yelling and throwing things are over. Instead, he strives to be a mentor and friend to his team, someone who believes in them and helps them achieve their goals. Erik wants to be the new standard on what a Chef is supposed to be, inspiring local kids that reaching their goals is achievable.