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Chef Focus: Mark Tsuchiyama
Cultivating Lanai's Fresh New Culinary Scene

The Four Seasons Resort at The Lodge at Koele

In January, The Manele Bay Hotel executive chef Mark Tsuchiyama was made culinary chief of The Four Seasons Resort at The Lodge at Koele, too. Since then, he has been busy revamping the restaurants, from supply to menu. Most notable is his concentration on fresh ingredients.

"The fishermen bring their catch right to my door," says the Kauai-born chef. "Local organic farms supply our stock. I shop at the farmers market here on Lanai almost every weekend just to get the freshest items from boutique farmers to use in my dinner specials that evening. Anything from pumpkin flowers and small eggplants to vine pea shoots and tomatoes. It's funny to think of importing produce to Hawaii when we have such bounty in our own backyard."

"From a culinary standpoint, it's important to remember that we are in Hawaii and visitors and residents alike expect the freshest, tastiest ingredients possible, from pineapple to moi," says Tsuchiyama.

The Lodge at Koele
Dining Room

"Our goal was to re-focus on this mission and re-create all of our culinary offerings from the casual poolside venue to the formal Dining Room. Our ingredients reflect the very best agricultural, beef and seafood products available in Hawaii."

While Tsuchiyama checks out the local farmers market, he has also turned to the Big Island for some of the best ingredients in the state. After three months of research, a handful of Hawaii's most notable farmers and ranchers signed on to partner with Tsuchiyama and supply the freshest products available to the Lanai resorts daily. This effort helps to reduce the dependence on mainland goods that are delivered by barge only once a week.

Tsuchiyama has partnered with Hirabara Farms to develop a new variety of greens and produce to accommodate Lanai's culinary creativity. Tomatoes come from Nakano Farms, and Hamakua Farm sends its famed assorted mushrooms. Other offerings include Kona cold lobster, abalone, ogo (a type of seaweed) and fish such as kahala and moi from the aquacultural facility on the Big Island as well as goat cheese and organic kiawe and eucalyptus honey. All-natural beef comes from the Ernest De Luz Ranch, which supplies both resorts with strip loins and tenderloins.
Local Lanai fishermen now deliver the "catch of the day" to each of the resort's kitchens within hours of being caught.

"The seafood we offer is very fresh. Some days, the fish are still alive when we receive them," says Tsuchiyama, whose "local boy" rapport with the fishermen allows him to place orders for special occasions. Guest favorites include onaga, opakapaka, mahi mahi, ehu, ono, hapuupuu, spiny lobsters and Kona crabs.

The island of Lanai lies off the western coast of the island of Maui and is the sixth largest of the major Hawaiian Islands. It is about 13 miles wide and 18 miles long, with ground elevations varying from sea level to more than 3,400 feet. Lanai has only 2,800 full-time residents and features miles of untouched beaches. Two airlines—Hawaiian Airlines and Island Air—offer more than 100 scheduled flights weekly, and Expeditions operates five round-trip ferries daily from Lahaina, Maui.

For room reservations and resort information visit www.islandoflanai.com or call Lanai Resorts at 800-321-4666.

(Updated: 07/02/08 HC)


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