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British chef Anthony Rush to launch restaurant in Hawaii with local chef Chris Kajioka

11 January 2016 by
British chef Anthony Rush to launch restaurant in Hawaii with local chef Chris Kajioka

Anthony Rush, currently head chef of Simon Rogan's Fera at Claridge's, is to launch his own restaurant named Senia in Honolulu, Hawaii, this spring with native chef Chris Kajioka.

Rush has been working at Fera, under executive chef Dan Cox, for just under a year.

Senia, jointly run by Rush and Kajioka, will operate two different menus under one roof. The two chefs met in New York in 2007 while both working at Thomas Keller's three-Michelin-starred restaurant Per Se. The 50-seat restaurant will open in Honolulu's historic Chinatown.

Rush, who is married to Los Angeles-born Katherine Nomura, a restaurant PR, first worked in the US in 2002 when, aged 22, he left his role as sous chef at the two-Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage to work at the French Laundry in Napa Valley. The Devon-born chef says the five years he spent in both Yountville and New York, working with the iconic chef Thomas Keller, provided invaluable experience and binding, lifelong connections.

Despite Rush's move back to the UK eight years ago, he and Kajioka retained their friendship and the desire to work together again. Together they have over three decades of combined culinary experience, covering a vast range of philosophies, techniques and cuisines. Kajioka, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in New York, was recognised with award nominations by both the James Beard Foundation and Food & Wine Magazine during his tenure as executive chef at Vintage Cave in Honolulu.

The name Senia is a play on the Greek word "xenia", the idea of guest-friendship that defines the Greek ideology of hospitality. The chefs explained that the restaurant has been established with a base of friendship and a mutual passion for hospitality, and once opened, it will bring people together "to share delicious food, well-crafted drinks, and to have a genuinely good time in a comfortable, relaxed environment".

Senia aims to accommodate guests looking for "casual, approachable food or a more in-depth gastronomic journey". The main dining room, which will be open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday, will offer a selection of the chefs' favourite, everyday dishes. Rush's wife Nomura will be the restaurant's general manager.

Rush explained: "We really want people to be spoilt for choice. We want people to read the menu and think, ‘I want to try everything'."

A more intimate Chefs' Counter at Senia, seating a further 12 diners, will serve a tasting menu that showcases the chefs' talents. Available for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday, it will source the highest quality seasonal and local ingredients.

Gold rush >>

Frolic Hawaii: Chris Kajioka's Kaimuki restaurant >>

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