chef | Jean-Marie Josselin
The unique flavors that characterize Chef Jean-Marie Josselin’s dishes are
rooted in his own international upbringing. Chef Jean-Marie was born in
Chamonix, France to a German mother and Portuguese father. From his
teens, the chef loved cooking and since his earliest days as an apprentice in a
French bistro, Chef Jean-Marie strived for culinary excellence.
Later, while working in Paris’s renowned Montorgueil district, Chef
Jean-Marie was given the opportunity to work at a French restaurant in
St. Louis, Missouri. This led to jobs in Dallas, Los Angeles and eventually
Kaua‘i. In 1990, Chef Jean-Marie opened his first restaurant, A Pacific Café,
on Kaua‘i’s East Side where he helped spread the popularity of Hawai‘i
Besides years of experience in great kitchens around the world, Chef Jean-Marie has been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s
“Best Chef of the Northwest” on three different occasions. His restaurants
have also received top accolades from Bon Appétit and Condé Nast Traveler
As a frequent and enthusiastic traveler, Chef Jean-Marie is inspired by
Asian flavors and cooking techniques and has incorporated these into his
own preparations today. After opening a number of successful restaurants
across the islands and in Las Vegas, Chef Jean-Marie returned to Kaua‘i
to open Josselin’s Tapas Bar & Grill in 2009. With its fanciful preparation,
creative arrangements and lively colors accented with flower petals, dishes
like poached oxtail ravioli in Vietnamese pho broth and a wasabi cured
salmon roll with goat cheese are helping broaden the chef’s fan base.
Along with neighbors Jim Moffat (Living Foods Café) and Peter
Merriman (Merriman’s Po‘ip;), Chef Jean-Marie Josselin is helping make
Kukui‘ula Village on the South Shore one of Kaua‘i’s “must-dine” locations.
What was your most important lesson as a young chef?
If you want to succeed, work hard and then harder. Opportunity knocks
Why do you think tapas have become so popular in the U.S.?
It’s the perfect way to eat—not much different than eating sushi or dim
sum, just different flavors. It’s the freedom to eat as much as you like and be
adventurous in trying new dishes.
How are tapas at Josselin’s different from tapas in Spain?
It’s different because of our island style. I have great freedom to bring
different influences from around the world.
What countries have most influenced your cooking?
Mostly Asia—Japan, Thailand and China. Food is the soul of a country and
you can learn a lot about it by eating.
If you had only five ingredients to prepare a fine meal, what would you use?
Arugula, lychee, cauliflower, avocado and reblochon cheese.
Describe Josselin’s food in one sentence.
Creative, honest, rustic, diverse, flavorful and well balanced.