You might imagine Hawaii’s climate to be nothing but an endless summer, but it actually features 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones, each with its own unique ecosystem. In just one afternoon, you can experience humid tropical zones (perfect for growing fruit and honey blossoms), semi-arid hills (where hearts of palm thrive) and temperate regions at higher mountain altitudes (where farmers grow coffee beans and world-class chocolate).
What does this rich diversity spell for the menus at Beach Tree, 'ULU and Hualalai Grille? A bountiful harvest of ingredients – some 75% of the food at the Resort is sourced locally. “The majority of ingredients used have not traveled more than 30 minutes to get to us ," says Executive Chef Thomas Bellec. "We are able to utilize these ingredients when they are at their freshest, naturally elevating the flavours of our dishes.”
Indeed, we challenge every dish for regionality, right down to the ingredients for our marinades and sauces: local honey or Maui brown sugar instead of processed white sugar, Maui onion instead of shallots and local soy whenever possible.
We’re constantly striving to go even further. We’ve recently circulated a wish list to local farmers, of items we can currently get only from the mainland. In the meantime, we buy our grass-fed meats from Kulana Foods, a nearby butcher and consolidator that works with several local ranches and dry-ages one whole carcass for us each week. We also feature local wild boar that graze the macadamia nut fields nearby. Our main goal is to promote sustainability through more responsible beef consumption and other farming methods.
Much of our sustainable seafood comes from the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii’s (NELHA’s) aquaculture farms, where cold, nutrient-rich seawater is pumped up from 2,000 feet (610 metres) below. At Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, our staff is dedicated to the freshest possible foods. This is why we cultivate organic oysters fresh from our own property in our custom saltwater lakes and ponds maintained by marine biologists for sustainable farming. At any given time, we stock around 20,000 East Coast oysters ready to harvest for a continuous supply year-round, and our chefs and biologists work together to control the salinity of our oysters for the most delicious dishes possible.
The Freshest Herbs and Produce
We also cultivate fresh ingerdients from our herb garden – Japanese eggplant, bok choy and the Hawaiian chili pepper used in ULU's house-made hot sauce. Chef Bellec and the team caring for the gardens meet regularly to incorporate fresh produce and herbs into the menu. Although the garden doesn't produce enough to sustain the Resort's restaurant, many dishes incorporate the garden's crop. With such a bountiful Hawaiian harvest, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is dedicated to what Chef Bellec calls a "delicate harmony between culinary creativity and ingredients that speak for the Island itself."