Pueo’s Osteria Executive Chef/Proprietor James Babian is no stranger to owning restaurants. When he resided on the East Coast, he owned a restaurant called Wild Mushroom (where he met his wife Christine). “After I moved to Hawaiʻi, I worked at Hilton Waikoloa Village, The Orchid at Mauna Lani/The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaiʻi, and Four Seasons Resort Hualālai. I learned a lot – met great people. Working at the resorts also provided me with many opportunities.” As a resort chef, he has appeared on the Today Show, TV Food Network, and appeared in a variety of publications. He has worked with local farmers/fishermen, provided mentorship to our local culinary school, participated in many charitable food/wine events, presented at a company-wide Four Seasons general managers conference, and more. One of the most memorable events was on September 10, 2001. He cooked for a sold-out audience at the prestigious James Beard House on 12th Avenue in New York City. A day later (September 11), he found himself back at the Beard House – this time cooking meals (all food donated) to feed the tireless rescue workers and hospital personnel after the tragic 9/11 incident at the Twin Towers.
Throughout his 30 plus culinary years, partnering with local farmers and fishermen still excite him. His steadfast philosophy is to create rewarding dining experiences that are culinary adventures for the soul – highlighting his commitment to regional, seasonal and artisanal (handcrafted) products. “At Pueo’s, your culinary adventure will be grounded in Hawaiʻi – but the flavors will take you abroad to Italy,” said Chef Babian.