Meet Percy Oani: Humphreys New Executive Chef
We are thrilled to introduce our new Executive Chef, Percy Oani, who has joined the Humphreys family with a wealth of culinary experience and a passion for creating delightful dining experiences. Chef Percy brings a diverse culinary background and a commitment to crafting dishes that cater to a broad range of palates. Let’s get to know him better and discover what he has in store for guests at Humphreys SoCAL Dining & Music!
Q: Can you please introduce yourself?
A: Hi, I am Chef Percy. I’m the new executive chef here at Humphreys Half Moon Inn. It’s really great to be joining this family of hotels and I’m looking forward to a very long tenure.
Q: Can you tell us about your job experience/history before coming to Humphreys?
A: Prior to my arrival here to Humphreys, I was downtown as the executive chef for Hotel Republic. Before that, I was over at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club where I was a chef at the Shores Hotel. Prior to that, for an extensive period of time, I was the chef for Roy’s Restaurants, where I traveled to different locations.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I’m actually a Southern California native. I was born in San Pedro and I grew up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, so that’s where I had a lot of influence when it comes to food. There are a lot of different neighborhoods to go to, for all different styles of cuisine.
Q: How did you get into being a chef?
A: My dad was a cook in the Navy and he would come home and make all these different dishes. So I wasn’t exposed to just the Filipino food that my mom would cook, but I was exposed to different types of food. We also had a spice rack that my dad would always go to, and I was always curious to see what he was using the different spices for. That little spice rack is probably one of the things that piqued my interest in cooking most — trying to figure out what those little leaves were doing to food and how they would flavor it.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a chef?
A: To have humility. Not everyone’s going to enjoy what you’ve made, but you want to make sure that you’re trying to create food that’s going to be catering to a broad range of people – not just one person, but everyone. Be dedicated, because hours are long, and just be a student of cooking.
Q: What about advice for someone who just wants to get into cooking in their own home?
A: Get quality ingredients and cook when you’re happy. I was once told to never cook when you’re angry because the food’s going to come out bitter. That’s my biggest piece of advice – just cook from the heart at home, because it’s always going to come out better that way.
Q: Who or what inspires you, when it comes to cooking?
A: Definitely my father who pretty much got me into cooking, He inspires me ’cause I really want to make him proud too. I want to become the chef that he always hoped I’d be.
Q: What is your favorite dish to make?
A: My favorite dish to make is beef ribs – low and slow. Let it just go for a while. Smoke it, just wait, and be patient to let it come out nice and super tender.
Q: What about your favorite dish to eat?
One of my favorite foods to eat is poke – tuna poke. My kids love it too, it’s one of those go-to dishes in our family. Whenever we’re hungry, I get some tuna, cut it up real quick, make some rice, toss it in a bowl… The kids are happy. I’m happy. It’s all good.
Q: Other than cooking, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: When you start having kids, your free time is limited. It’s not about you anymore. It’s all about your kids. So, my son right now, plays a lot of baseball – a lot of our time is spent watching his baseball games and practices. My oldest daughter, she’s getting ready to drive so I’ve been taking her out to practice a lot. My middle daughter is now in the speech and debate team that just started, so I’m really looking forward to seeing some of her speeches and debates when she begins traveling to different high schools. So that all pretty much takes up all my free time!
Q: What do you have in store for Humphreys?
A: I want to put my personality on the plate. Being that I have grown up around and learned so many different types of cuisine, I really want to incorporate that eclectic mix here — Asian fusion, south-of-the-border influence, Mediterranean style… Casually fun, I don’t want it to be too stuffy. I just want people to come in, have a good time, and enjoy what we’re putting out there.
Q: Anything else you’d like guests to know?
A: Just come on by! Give us a try — I know it’s probably been a while for some people, but in the next few months, we’re going to start having some fun with this menu and I think you’re really going to enjoy it.