Built in 1996 and enhanced in 2009, the Four Seasons Hualalai is an exclusive luxury resort along the Kona-Kohala Coast on the Big Island, Hawaii. Guests staying here are immersed into authentic Hawaiian culture and traditional design.
There are 192 guest rooms and 52 suites in the two-story intimate bungalows. Throughout the property is an extensive art collection with local pieces from 1775 to the present. Guests are encouraged to visit the Ka’upulehu Cultural Center to view the exhibits and participate in the interactive programs and visits by Hawaiian cultural specialists and historians.
At the four dining venues—’ULU Ocean Grill, ‘ULU Sushi Lounge, open air Beach Tree and Hualalai Grill—Executive Chef Thomas Bellec prepares locally sourced dishes using Kona avocados, Big Island goat cheese, Waimea red and yellow tomatoes, Hamakua mushrooms, Kona cold lobster, Volcano white organic honey and Kona baby abalone. He harvests sea salt from the resort’s volcanic rocks and cultivates the red seaweed raised at the hotel to use on his elevated Hawaiian dishes. Chef Bellec recently flew to Los Angeles to cook with celebrity chef Neal Fraser at Fraser’s popular downtown LA restaurant REDBIRD. This dynamic duo cooked for 20 foodies at a Chef Fest preview dinner.
While sipping a flute of sparkling wine, we learned that from October 4 to 8, 2017 the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai will host an annual culinary celebration in Kailua-Kona. During the day, guests have the opportunity to participate in interactive Chef Fest cooking classes and culinary experiences featuring some of today’s top celebrity chefs. Andy Ricker (a two-time James Beard Award winner and Michelin Star recipient), Gabrielle Hamilton (three-time James Beard winner, Iron Chef winner and Emmy winner forMind of a Chef), Neal Fraser (beloved Los Angeles chef and Iron Chef winner), Edward Lee (James Beard finalist), Ivan Orkin (New York Ramen Genius), and Jonathan Waxman (James Beard winner). Two other Four Seasons chefs will participate in Chef Fest with Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas chef Christof Syre and Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walk Disney World Fabrizio Schenardi will fly to Hawaii to cook with Chef Bellec. Together they will teach, sip cocktails and entertain guests in an luxurious and relaxed beach setting.
Four Seasons Hualalai Chef Fest Preview Dinner
Here is a peek at the menu that Neal Fraser and Chef Bellec prepared at REDBIRD; expect to see some of these dishes prepared again at Chef Fest in Hawaii. Starters include oysters that “wow” your senses. For the first course, Chef served up a sauteed Mongchong with chanterelle mushrooms and wonderful English peas. This was paired with an Austrian Weingut Brundlmayer Kamptal Gruner Veltiner Terrassen.
The second course comprised of a marinated Kona Kampachi (a sustainable fish in Hawaii raised a few miles from the Kona airport) with pickled ogo, Wow’s Farm organic heirloom tomatoes, sliced radishes, baby cilantro and smoked lava salt. This dish had a delightful crunch with a sprinkling of rice cracker pearls. What I loved about this dish was the coconut and kaffir lime sauce. I asked Bellec for seconds of this luscious cool Hawaiian flavored broth and he was kind enough to ladle two helpings into my bowl.
This dish was quickly followed by fried whole Kinki fish with an artichokes barigoule and fish sauce paired with a German Riesling.
For dessert, we were served a roasted pineapple cheesecake with chopped macadamia nut, haupia and li hing mui with coconut gelee. Prepared by REDBIRD pastry chef Kasra Adjar, this was served with an Italian Saracco Moscato D’Asti.
The resort is offering a $150 credit for guests who make a reservation to stay at the resort during Chef Fest. This credit can be applied to any of the Chef Fest events – click on this link Special Chef Fest Deal.