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Q&A with 'Top Chef' Sheldon Simeon

Former Bravo TV contestant opens up about his new Maui restaurant and life after "Top Chef."

After a successful run on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” Sheldon Simeon decided to take a break for a few months to ponder his future. We caught up with the popular chef at his new restaurant, MiGRANT.

It must have been a whirlwind after “Top Chef.” How has the show helped your career?

Well I left Star Noodle last April with nothing in the pipeline. I had a lot of offers from New York to San Francisco but I wanted to stay on Maui. And then this opportunity came up when Shep Gordon (veteran Maui-based music executive) asked me to run MiGRANT Maui. I wanted to stay in the islands so I accepted.

How do you describe your style of cooking?

I celebrate the food of my grandparents, my aunties and uncles, and my dad who—I’ll put it out there—is the best chef I know. When my mother died eight years ago, my dad and I really didn’t speak much to each other. Food, though, brought us together. He’s a welder by trade but he was always cooking and our house was always the gathering spot. I’ve definitely learned a lot from him.

Can you explain the concept at MiGRANT?

The restaurant’s name suggests immigrants and the menu reflects Hawaii’s multicultural population. But we’re not doing traditional Filipino, Korean, Hawaiian, Thai or Japanese dishes. We’re having fun with all the ingredients and celebrating local farmers and fishermen.