Peter Merriman Distinguished Chef and Restaurateur

Peter Merriman is a chef and restaurateur in Hawaii. For over twenty years he has served as a culinary pioneer, famously hailed the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by the Los Angeles Times, Peter is known as the original “locavore.” His group of restaurants includes Merriman’s Restaurant on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai. His Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman recently expanded from Wailea, Maui to Ko ‘Olina, Oahu.

In addition to time behind the stove, Merriman is a politics junkie. He earned his BA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and has been “yakin’ about” politics ever since.

Peter Merriman was the first Chef in Hawaii to go directly to local farmers and ranchers to source his menu. In 1988 he opened his signature upcountry restaurant, Merriman’s, in Waimea which quickly became the culinary crossroads for Hawaii Regional Cuisine. The New York Times raved: “Everything at Merriman’s…features the freshest local ingredients paired in exciting ways,” and San Francisco Magazine exclaimed that “His Wok-charred Ahi is to die for.”

It was at Merriman’s that Peter garnered the attention of the James Beard Foundation and as a result, has been a Finalist in the “Best Chef Northwest & Hawaii” category three distinct times. Many consider Merriman’s restaurants to be the first and greatest practitioners of the “Locavore” movement. Not only do the Merriman’s restaurants use 90% local products in their dishes, a standard unsurpassed within the Hawaii culinary world, but many of their growers also farm organically.  

Peter was the founding president of the non-profit Hawaii Regional Chefs organization. The group pioneered the Hawaii Farm to table food movement more than 20 years ago. It was Peter who spearheaded the initial HRC meeting of twelve of Hawaii’s top Chef’s, committing to serve locally sourced products, a movement which is still widely in effect today.

Merriman’s voice on food and environmental issues is widely respected in the 50th state, where he has consulted with the University of Hawaii Tropical Agriculture and is an occasional op-ed contributor on business, environment, fishing and agriculture issues that impact lives of all citizens. His blog, the Extreme Center, focuses on centrist resolution.

Merriman’s Waimea ∗ Merriman’s Kapalua ∗ Merriman’s Poipu ∗
Merriman’s Market Café * Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman