Long­time tal­ent man­ager shares his ideal day.

Where Maui - - CONTENTS - Shep Gor­don

He was re­spon­si­ble for a pub­lic­ity stunt that halted traf­fic in Pi­cadilly Cir­cus in Lon­don. He is con­sid­ered by many as the in­ven­tor of the “celebrity chef.” And at this year’s Hawai‘i Food & Wine Fes­ti­val, Shep Gor­don will be hon­ored for his con­tri­bu­tions to the Hawai‘i Re­gional Cui­sine move­ment.

What was your role in the for­ma­tion of the Hawai‘i Re­gional Cui­sine move­ment?

Dur­ing the early ’90s, I used to get to­gether with chefs like Sam Choy, Mark Ell­man and Peter Mer­ri­man, and they used to come to my house to cook. It was un­com­fort­able be­cause they knew that I was man­ag­ing other chefs but they never asked me to rep­re­sent them. I sug­gested start­ing a move­ment and ev­ery­body was to­tally into it. So we did.

Many con­sider you as the in­ven­tor of the “celebrity chef” sta­tus?

I like to think that I’m the “ex­poser” of the celebrity chef. Long be­fore the term even ex­isted, I knew that chefs would be the stars of to­mor­row. But they weren’t be­ing rec­og­nized—nor paid—like other artists.

How dif­fer­ent is it man­ag­ing rock stars and celebrity chefs?

It’s not re­ally all that dif­fer­ent. As an artist man­ager, I want to cre­ate de­mand for my clients; whether it’s for a con­cert or a res­tau­rant.

How do you feel about be­ing hon­ored at the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Fes­ti­val?

It’s hum­bling and ex­cit­ing. When I first came to Maui, the din­ing scene was pretty bleak. And now it’s thriv­ing and con­tin­u­ing to get bet­ter.

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