Elmer Guzman was born and raised on the island of Maui. He grew up fishing from the reefs surrounding the island and thus began his life long love of fish. His love of cooking started early too. While in high school he worked at the local Sizzler’s as a dishwasher and it was the actions of a bored line cook who let him take over the cooking duties one day that got him hooked.
A graduate of Kapi‘olani Community College Culinary Arts Program, Chef Elmer Guzman trained in the early 1990s under renowned chef Alan Wong, at the Mauna Lani Bay Resort & Bungalow on the Big Island of Hawaii. Chef Elmer apprenticed at the prestigious Greenbriar Hotel & White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia, where he graduated with honors, then served as a sous chef under television personality and award winning chef, Emeril Lagasse, in Emeril’s Restaurant, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Upon returning to Hawaii, Chef Elmer served as Executive Chef of Sam Choy Diamond Head Restaurant, creating wonderful, innovative seafood dishes that grew from his love and knowledge of island fish.
The author of Hawaii’s first cookbook on local reef fishes, The Shoreline Chef, Chef Elmer, along with his wife, Samantha, opened up Poke Stop Waipahu in 2005 which gave him the opportunity to share the “creative cuisine for Hawaiian reef fish” with the masses. In December 2009, they followed up with a second location in Mililani Mauka.
While Chef has been doing catering since he opened his first Poke Stop, he launched “Chef Elmer Guzman’s Island Cuisine” a full-service catering division in 2012. Chef Elmer’s local upbringing and experience working in restaurants in Hawaii allowed him to successfully provide wonderful comfort food and local favorites for diners but with his diverse culinary background Chef has branched out to create delectable fine dinning and sustainable menus to attract clients with adventurous and sophisticated palates.
In September 2014, Poke Stop became one of the companies to be featured at Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchens in Kapahulu.
After nearly 10 years of being in business, Chef Elmer Guzman along with his wife & business partner Samantha Guzman have practically mastered running a family oriented restaurant. Thus, making time for more family time away from the shops. As a family they enjoy going to the pool and having a family BBQ, or simply staying at home for a nice movie night with their two daughters & two small breed dogs, Sabastian and Sasha. Their eldest daughter Tatiana recently entered the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is also very active in the family business while their youngest daughter Tatum is an awesome softball player traveling to the mainland for various tournaments.