“Chef Prez,” President Tafilisaunoa Galea’i, returns to BYU–Hawaii as sous chef after his year-long executive chef position at The Pounder’s Restaurant in the Polynesian Cultural Center Hukilau Marketplace. He drew in crowds there, even through COVID-19, with his savory dishes that he will now bring back to campus. Chef Prez’s palate comes from the wonderful island flavors, the genuine Polynesian traditions, and the diverse melting pot of Hawaii.
His work experience has prepared him for the opportunity to showcase his talent, skill and passion in Food Service’s new Banyan Dining Hall slated to open later this year. President started paying his dues right out of high school at the PCC. He began as a custodian and in less than two years, he ventured into the kitchen where he discovered his passion for cooking. He started as a dishwasher, then worked as a food runner, warehouse worker and then moved up to pantry lead 3. After nine years at the PCC, in 2005, he started working at BYUH. He began as a cook for the student cafeteria and in 12 years became a cook 3, then a sous chef assisting the executive chef and doing all the catering events. Eager to grow and learn more he stepped out of the kitchen and was promoted to a supervisor position over the student cafeteria where he was able to include planning and staging special events along with his supervisory duties of the student employees and cafeteria operations. Striving to always learn more and to stretch his comfort zone, President said he aimed for and received a promotion to the Seasider snack bar & retail manager position that put him in charge of the campus’ snack bar, vending machines, concession stands, C-Store, and Micro Market.
Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, President has lived in California, Missouri, American Samoa and Hawaii. He is a 1995 Red Raider for life graduate of Kahuku High School. In 1998, he married his sweetheart, Kaonoulu Hanohano of Laie, Hawaii. Their family includes eldest son, Viceson, 22; their only daughter Preeya, 20; and youngest, Vincent, 18.