Ed Kenney at his Kaimuki restaurant Town
When you glimpse self-professed “noodle freak” Ed Kenney Jr. leaving his Kaimuki darling Town Restaurant, the first thing you notice is his sleeve—not snowy chef coat sleeves, but multihued tattoos covering his right arm and peeking out from his shirt on the left. 
Perhaps this is why Kenney’s been labeled a culinary maverick, or maybe it’s his position on the soul side of the current divide between brainy, molecular gastronomy riffs on familiar dishes and farm to table trends. Or, it could simply be his reverse restaurant model at Town and sister location Downtown at the Hawai’i State Art Museum (or his cheekily named new catering division, Uptown). 
“Usually, you set a menu then cost it, and that’s how you regulate how much money you make. We did the opposite—we change our menu based on what we have,” says Kenney. 
Yet while the ingredients change, they always remain grounded in Town’s motto: local products first, organic when possible—which is quite often given a close relationship with Ma’o Organic Farms. Kenney incorporates everything from ulu to Italian succulents to wild boar into his peasant Mediterranean cooking—no foams or drizzles here—and it seems to work an elegant magic. 
“When you’ve got the best ingredients, less is more,” says Kenney. “What we do is so simple and old school, but maybe these days simple and old school is gourmet and maverick.” 
Townkaimuki.com, 808-735-5900
By Christine Thomas