Cruz-in’ In The Kitchen

John Cruz: He can cook, too. Tor Johnson Photography photo

Multi Hoku award-winner John Cruz is currently finishing up work on his third album, which he’s been recording in Nashville and expects out sometime early next year. With his signature warm, soulful voice, this still-untitled project features songs written by John and his songwriting partner Mark Herschler. The two have been polishing the songs over the last few years at Mark’s studio in Massachusetts. John has been recording the tracks with renowned drummer and audio engineer Nir Z, who has worked with superstars such as Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Joss Stone, Alana Davis and Genesis.

When not working on his own projects, John shares his music with kids all over the country, giving free performances at elementary, middle and high schools to inspire kids to cherish the arts and especially to learn to play and write music.

He does workshops and classroom visits, talking with them directly to answer their questions and give them advice. He especially loves working with kids at Hawaiian charter schools.

John’s favorite hobby is fishing. You’ll find him on reefs, rocks and beaches all over the state, in between shows or just relaxing during his down time at home. This recipe is inspired by his love for the ocean. Additionally, John is a passionate cook and can be found cooking up a storm in whomever’s kitchen he happens to be during his travels. Here is one of his favorites, which he has graciously shared with MidWeek readers.


John Cruz often attends parties or luaus for performances or family occasions, and he always ends up bringing home a plate of fresh poke. Never one to waste food, he recycles it with this creative concoction that he invented himself.

Take some day-old poke and stir-fry it in a hot wok. Add some butter and fresh, chopped up vegetables (whatever kind you have available) – his favorites are cabbage, watercress and arugula. Add some limu kohu and Hawaiian salt, to taste. John goes down to local beaches to pick the limu and harvest the sea salt himself, so it’s the very freshest possible.

When it’s cooked, wrap it up in a sheet of nori and eat it like a fish wrap.