Award-winning chef Sheldon Simeon is stepping back from his restaurant Lineage, and has placed the Wailea restaurant into the hands of his chef de cuisine MiJin Kang Toride. Having built the foundation of Lineage on family and family values, chef Simeon felt he had to be true to himself and make a change that will allow him to spend more time with his wife and four children, a spokesperson said in a statement.
Chef Toride has been part of the team at Lineage since August, and is equally devoted to celebrating the melting pot of cuisines that comprise Hawai‘i and the Lineage menu. She brings inspiration from her own heritage to the restaurant. Meshing flavors became a passion of Toride, who from an early age grew up around her grandmother’s constant cooking as well as the hodgepodge of cuisines that made up her native Guam.
Toride opened her own restaurant, Mendo, at one point, before joining the team at Lineage. Her prior experience includes being mentored by chef Hiro Sone at Terra in St. Helena, California. She also has worked at Morimoto in Napa, Ame at the San Francisco St. Regis, and Ka’ana Kitchen in Maui, where she was chef de cuisine. “The energy in the kitchen at Lineage is intoxicating and I could not be more excited to lead this team in taking the restaurant to the next level!” said chef Toride.
Rounding out the new team is bar manager April Talia Leslie, who was born on the island of Kaua’i in the little town of Kapa’a in the midst of the hippie era. She was raised in a household with a focus on natural and Chinese medicine and a medicine cabinet stocked with herbs and tinctures. Leslie said being raised in the rural areas of Hawai‘i inspired her appreciation for and connection to the land. An avid forager of local ingredients, Leslie strives to find new ways of integrating plants with medicinal properties into cocktails.
“While this departure is bittersweet, I am confident the team will continue to impress, and will thrive under the direction of chef MiJin,” Simeon said. “She has been able to come in and make the transition seamless, and has a real knack for uniting the team. I know that diners will be impressed by what she and the team have cooking!”
The team at Lineage has some new food and cocktail menus that diners can experience. Fans of chef Simeon can look forward to his book Cook Real Hawai’i: Local-Style Recipes from the Islands of Aloha, due to be out the fall-winter of 2020.