Collin Thornton, executive chef at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a mastermind in nurturing what has come to be known as Big Island Cuisine. Thornton oversees eight different restaurants at the resort, which provide him with ample opportunities to stretch his creativity, all in the pursuit of a memorable dining experience for guests.

One of his signature dishes is Pine- apple-Glazed Walu Filet with Sweet Potato and Corn Hash, which reflects his philosophy of combining classic cooking methods with contemporary techniques, and then adding the twist of a vibrant, clean presentation. “Walu is a Hawaiian butterfish, and because of its beautiful texture and rich flavor, it’s a favorite among visitors,” says Thornton. Because walu may be hard to find on the mainland, he suggests wahoo or mahi mahi as a substitute.

In the same way that he is inspired by local seafood, produce, and flavorings, he encourages home cooks to be similarly motivated in their own kitchens. “Cooking is all about pushing the boundaries of your palate,” he says. “The sky’s the limit, so don’t be afraid to travel past the horizon and have fun with it!”

Pineapple-Glazed Walu Filet with Sweet Potato and Corn Hash serves 8


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped
Juice from 2 lemons
Juice from 2 oranges
Juice from 2 limes
1/4 bunch fresh coriander, chopped Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and pineapple and saute for two minutes. Add citrus juices and reduce by half, about five minutes. Add the coriander and salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat.


2 tbsp. olive oil
8 6-oz. walu filets, or wahoo or
mahi mahi filets
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in sauté pan over high heat until it smokes. Add fish and sear on one side until golden brown. Remove from heat, flip the fish over, and place in a preheated 350-degree oven
for 5-7 minutes until firm.


2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 tbsp. minced garlic
4 sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled,
and diced
3 cups fresh corn kernels, cooked
1/2 cup chicken stock

Saute onions in olive oil over mediumhigh heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add potatoes and corn and sauté until heated through. Add chicken stock and reduce for 1 minute. Season to taste.

To assemble: Place a heaping half-cup of hash on a plate. Set fish on top and drizzle with pineapple glaze.

By Lisa Rogak