Paul was greatly influenced in the art of cooking by his mother who was a part time personal chef. He started working in restaurants at the age of 14.
In the year 2000, Associate Professor Chef Paul Heerlein became the lead instructor and coordinator of the culinary department at Hawaii Community College-Palamanui. Now, the primary focus of Chef Paul’s thirty plus year career has been using his exceptional, globe-spanning culinary skills to educate and train successful cooks and chefs to create delicious healthy cuisine for guests with discriminating palates in Hawaii and around the world. Under his tutelage, protégées have learned the cuisines of many countries to create inspirational and unique dishes by incorporating the finest of locally sourced seasonal ingredients. He is a Certified Culinary Educator, and a Certified Chef de Cuisine through the American Culinary Federation Certification Designations (acfchefs.org)
He has worked in many fine restaurants in New York, Florida, California and Hawaii. Prior to moving to Hawaii in 1989, he worked at the Pavilion restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel, Newport Beach California. Chef Paul was the Executive Chef of the AAA Five Diamond Mauna Lani Resort Gallery Restaurant, and Executive Chef of the Molokai Ranch Lodge on the island of Molokai.
A highlight of his career was the opening of Chef Paul’s Gourmet Foods, after winning first place with his 6-Peppered Ahi at the Hawaii Seafood Culinary Excellence Competition. Chef Paul has appeared on many television shows over the years including; Chefs of Paradise, Ready Set Cook, PBS Cooking Across America With Dave Eckert, and on BBQ with Bobby Flay showcasing his Kona Coffee BBQ Grilling and Dipping sauce and demonstrating figs “from farm to table” with the assistance of his culinary students.
To stay current and keep his skills refined, Chef Paul is also a personal chef for a select few prominent and distinguished guests on the Kona-Kohala Coast. He enjoys creating menus utilizing unique locally seasonal sourced ingredients from the island, to create dining experiences that satisfy the needs of today’s discriminating palates and dietary needs.