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Q & A

George Mendes


Acclaimed chef, cookbook author and culinary personality George Mendes brought elevated Portuguese cooking to New York City when he opened his acclaimed restaurant ALDEA in 2009. In 2015, he followed it up with his more casual spot Lupulo. When he’s not in chef whites, George can be found dining at Southeast Asian joints around the city, cooking simple & wholesome meals at home in Manhattan, running in the park and fly-fishing whenever & wherever he can.

What's the first dish you remember cooking?

The first dish I remember cooking is Chicken Roulade, stuffed with spinach and wild mushrooms, and served with a champagne tarragon sauce.

What Prep To You Hate To Do? Love To Do?

I hate peeling garlic and I love butchering fish and meat.

What food is your guilty pleasure?


If You Weren’t A Chef What Occupation Would You Like To Try And Why?

I would want to be an athlete of some sort. I always had athletic aspirations and abilities, though not necessarily enough to go pro. Either that, or an architect.

What Or Who Inspires Your Culinary Creativity And Why?

The ingredients, nature, art, family, memories, friends, other chefs and mentors—or, sometimes just my own intuition. I love to create something spontaneously, putting new combinations of flavors and ingredients together, and riding that risk of being right on the edge between genius and failure. That’s where the greatest culinary creativity is found.

"The ingredients, the people, the setting all make cooking that much more magical. Getting to cook together with some of the most talented chefs in the country is always a treat, but my favorite part about Chef Fest is the intimacy we share with our guests."

" I am super excited about cooking at Chef Fest in November, I have a deep love for Hawaii and the few days I get to spend at Hualalai cooking are always some of the most memorable days of the year! "

"We really get to know the guests and spend time with the guests and get to see first-hand how special an experience it is for them to learn from such gifted chefs."

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