Ed Morita’s career path wasn’t fondant smooth. After graduating from the culinary program at Kapi‘olani Community College 10 years ago, he spent several years working as a pastry chef on the Mainland before returning home in 2007. He did some consulting work before landing a pastry chef position at Longhi’s Restaurant at Ala Moana Center. Then, two years into it, he crushed his right hand in one of the machines. That injury nearly ended his culinary career. But a year ago— after years of rehab, physical therapy and a lot of surgeries— he was named pastry chef at the newly opened Highway Inn in Kaka‘ako. Despite some limitations — he suffered nerve damage— Morita, now 36, has been able to juggle both baking and blogging. And his life has never been better.
What is your tattoo?
On Morita’s inner right forearm are the words, “Match Tough.” Beneath it is the kanji character for “sacrifice.”
When did you get it?
Morita got “Match Tough” in 2001. He had just moved to West Virginia to work at The Greenbriar.
What was the inspiration?
Morita wanted to remember what his mentor, Ernst Hiltbrand, had told him back when he was one of his apprentices at KCC. He told Morita that since he was such a talented baker, he wouldn’t be allowed to bake bread in that first year. “He wanted to make me, ‘match tough,’ which meant a pastry chef doesn’t just bake bread or decorate cakes,” Morita explains. “He had to do everything in the kitchen.”