Pineapples and Local Flavour
Surrounded by a cool ocean breeze and warm, nurturing sun, it’s not difficult to understand how the former pineapple growing grounds of The Lodge at Koele were once so instrumental in the culinary history of both Hawaii, and the world. In 1922, James Dole bought Lanai for $1.1 million dollars and began harvesting pineapples on the small island’s fertile soil. It was an enormous gamble that proved to be a huge success. At the height of its success, the plantation produced over 75% of the world’s pineapple supply.
Though all that remains today are a few fishing settlements and miles upon miles of tropical forest, this chapter of Lanai’s culinary history is far from closed. When Frances “Junior” Ulep rejoined Four Seasons Resorts Lanai as executive sous chef of The Lodge at Koele, the island’s history and tradition of culinary excellence passed to yet another generation. “His expertise in local flavors and his talent for bringing together various cuisines,” says Tom Roelens, general manager of Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, “is going to be a big hit.” It’s hard to deny that the soul of the island will live on in this fitting tribute.
Chef Junior pays homage to the ground of Lanai with his Lava Rock-Seared Venison flawlessly seared atop a hot lava rock and delicately served with a salad of fresh local fruits. The Lodge also offers a four-course tasting menu, with optional wine pairing, which Chef Junior designs and rotates regularly, embodies local meat, produce and flavor fused with a modern European approach.
“This menu is one that truly reflects the look, feel and flavors of The Lodge,” says Chef Junior. “The rich tradition of extraordinary dining experiences here is now heading to an even higher level.”