The culinary culture of the Hawaiian Islands continues to be shared by taste buds throughout the world. It’s thanks to local chefs, like Sheldon Simeon, who take their talent in the kitchen straight to the top of the food chain. The Maui chef hopes to impress judges and world-famous culinarians, like Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse, when he competes in the upcoming season of Top Chef.

Maui Chef Sheldon Simeon heads to Hollywood’s kitchens.

The Bravo television series takes 21 culinary contenders to Seattle for the show’s tenth season. Sheldon, 30, will be the only chef reppin’ the 808 as the executive chef at two of Lahaina’s favorites, Star Noodle and Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop. The restaurant adds a dash of elegance to local comfort foods, such as fried rice, saimin and malasadas, and offers homemade noodles and fresh island-grown produce to its customers.

Sheldon has said the Pohole Salad is one of the dishes that he’s most proud of. It brings him back to his roots on the Big Island, where he was born and raised. It’s a mix of Hana fiddle head fern, Maui onions, ebi (breaded and deep-fried shrimp) and kombu (kelp). Hopefully he remembers to pack some Maui taro, straight from his lo’i (taro patch), when he goes to Seattle. He uses it in many dishes and often makes it part of the daily special at Star Noodle.

There’s no doubt that Sheldon is an up-and-coming star in food. His recipe for success includes being a two-time James Beard semifinalist for “Rising Star” and “Best New Restaurant,” as well as getting named “Chef of the Year” by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine. He has also been nominated as “Best New Chef People’s Choice” by Food & Wine Magazine.

Sheldon (@chefwonder) recently tweeted a sneak preview to the season, followed by some kitchen humor, “Hope I don’t cut my finger off.”

Be sure to tune into Bravo’s Top Chef in November, when the season kicks off. Or better yet, stop by his Lahaina eateries for a firsthand experience of Sheldon rockin’ it in the kitchen!

TOP CHEF: SEATTLE • Season premieres on Bravo, Nov. 7, 2012 • www.bravotv.com/top-chef

Photo Courtesy: Bravo TV

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