Ed Kenney is Mr. Hawaii. His father is famous Broadway singer Edward Kenney and his mother was a legendary hula dancer. Ed kept a bit of that showmanship, but also developed an incredible passion for food. Not hat his career didn’t get off to a rocky start: Kenney bussed tables in college, and vowed he would never work in a restaurant again. But after graduating from the University of Colorado and spending five years in corporate America, he was ready to give it another shot.
Kenney opened Town in 2005, Downtown at the Hawaiian State Art Museum in 2007 (it closed in late 2012), and formed Uptown Events catering a couple years after that. His local fame is such that he’s even cooked for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The list of awards Kenney has received is seemingly endless. He’s been a named a “local hero” by sustainability groups and Hawaii’s governor for his adherence to aloha ‘aina (love of land). And his restaurants have garnered plaudits from local media for their inventive and flavorful takes on New American, Italian, and Hawaiian dishes, solidifying the family tradition of attracting love and attention to Hawaiian shores with serious talent. And in 2012 he received the StarChefs.com Hawaii Rising Star Restaurateur award.