HILUXURY - Hawaii Luxury Magazine http://www.hiluxury.com Luxury Living In Hawaii Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:28:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Isn’t it Iconic? http://www.hiluxury.com/isnt-iconic/ http://www.hiluxury.com/isnt-iconic/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:58:42 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=14960 These brands may have a vast selection of seasonal goods to offer, but they’ll always have their original favorites in stock.

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Clockwise from top: RIMOWA ‘Topas’ carry-on, multiwheel system suitcase in silver $980; TOD’S ‘Gommini Mocassino’ driver in tan leather $495; CHARVET silk tie $250 and RAY-BAN original aviator sunglasses $150 both from NEIMAN MARCUS; LOUIS VUITTON Porte-Documents Voyage in Monogram, price upon request.

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Clockwise from top:

LACOSTE Classic short sleeve pique polo $89.50

BURBERRY ‘The Westminster’ long Heritage trench coat in honey $1,795

HERMÈS cashmere and silk ‘Scarf 140′ $880

ALFRED DUNHILL sterling silver steering wheel cufflinks with ‘d’ logo at center referencing the Dunhill motoring heritage $250 from NEIMAN MARCUS

TIFFANY men’s rings: (from top) platinum and 18k yellow gold milgrain band $2,300, 18k yellow gold milgrain band (price upon request), Lucida platinum band $2,625, Lucida 18k yellow gold band $1,150, platinum double milgrain band $2,925 (Richard Pierce photo, courtesy Tiffany & Co.)

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Forces of Nurture http://www.hiluxury.com/forces-nurture/ http://www.hiluxury.com/forces-nurture/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:57:43 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=14870 The Hawaii National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy helps at-risk adolescents aim high.

A good challenge often spurs the greatest growth.

Many of the world’s most notable leaders and thinkers knew this, and so they embraced hardship, knowing that the experience, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable in the moment, would be the catalyst for a better, brighter future.

Similarly, the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP) provides at-risk adolescents the opportunity to turn their lives around through an evidence-based program modeled after the structure, discipline and results oriented training of the National Guard.

“Our duty and responsibility is leadership— we have to be that positive leadership for these kids,” says Juan D. Williams, director of the Hawaii National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy, one of 35 NGYCP sites around the country.

“We’ve found that with these kids, all they’re looking for is someone to bond with, and a lot of times, the reason why they get in trouble is due to peer pressure. But once you get them away from that environment and put them in a structured environment, such as this, you start seeing the better in them,” he shares.

Williams, who is a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Marines Corps, has worked with the Hawai‘i academy for eight years, during which time he has seen hundreds of teens rise to the challenges put before them and transform into productive, responsible young adults.

“There’s not an achievement that the cadets or the program hasn’t met,” Williams says. “It makes you so proud to see the outcome [of this program], and on graduation day, when that cadet comes to you and says, ‘Thank you for not giving up on me,’ and shakes your hand, that’s the best feeling you could ever have in this world.”

The road to graduation is a rocky one for these cadets, who are high school dropouts ages 16-18 years old, often experiencing difficulties in their homes or with authority figures as well.

“The reason why we call this the ‘Youth ChalleNGe’ is because the ages of 16 though 18 are the most challenging times in a person’s life. That’s when you’re sitting on the fence, and you can go either way. We figured, if we captured those ages, we’d be able to give them the guidance and direction they need that will lead them toward success,” Williams explains of the program, which operates out of two 100-bed facilities at Kalaeloa on O‘ahu and in Hilo on Hawai‘i Island.

“Here, the cadets earn a high school diploma in the 5-and-a-half months,” he says. “What is ironic is these are the same kids who were failing at school or didn’t want to go to school. The reason why they get their diploma, here, in 5-and-a-half months, is that it’s a regimented program. That’s why we’re so successful—because of the structure.”

The Youth ChalleNGe Academy uses what is known as an “Eight Core Component” framework to train its cadets to be active, contributing members of society.

This intervention model focuses on the holistic development of the cadet—from academic excellency to physical fitness to leadership/ fellowship to job skills, health and hygiene, responsible citizenship, life-coping skills and service to community—all which are the foundation of the experiential-learning model implemented at the academy.

“These Eight Core Components are what is needed to help them be successful in life,” Williams states. “We want them to be responsible citizens, and we teach them the importance of that in a way they understand; that’s what the program is all about.”

Recently, the nonprofit education and social research organization MDRC concluded a multi-year evaluation of the NGYCP and found it significantly improves the educational attainment, employability and earning potential of those who participate in the program.

Additionally, Promising Practices Network identified the NGYCP as a “proven” program, meaning that the program’s practices are proven to improve outcomes for children based on certain evidence criteria.

The National Guard Bureau (NGB) is responsible for management and oversight of Youth ChalleNGe Academies throughout the nation, including those in Hawai‘i, which celebrated their 20th anniversary this past summer.

“Hawai‘i is one of the rare programs that has survived 20 years,” Williams says with a proud grin, adding that its high retention rate (an astounding 87-90 percent of cadets graduate each session) is why NGB quickly green-lighted a second Hawai‘i program when the request came through in 2010.

“They approved that right away, because they saw the great things that this state was doing for the cadets,” he explains.

NGYCP is authorized and funded through the Department of Defense. Locally, both Youth ChalleNGe Academies receive 75 percent of funding from the federal government, with the remaining 25 percent coming from the state. This allows admission to the academy to be free of cost for cadets and their families. “The total cost per cadet would be $16,000,” says Williams. “Of that number, the state pays $4,000 per cadet. You compare that to the conventional school, which is $13,000 per student, that’s a good ratio.”

The program is a proven to be a smart investment, as a recent RAND Corporation cost-benefit analysis found that NGYCP generates $2.66 in benefits for every dollar expended on the program, a return on investment of 166 percent, a return that is substantially above that for other rigorously evaluated social programs that target disadvantaged youth.

“Kids are the future of everything— they’re the future of our state, the future of our nation, they’re going to be the future leaders of tomorrow. If you want to know how great a nation is going to be or how great a state is going to be, you look at what that nation or that state is doing to foster a kid or to mentor a kid or to mold a kid—to train them for success,” Williams says.

The National Guard Youth Foundation (NGYF) serves as an advocate for the NGYCP and works toward developing, supporting and enhancing the program. The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization provides resources such as scholarships and job placement assistance to Youth ChalleNGe Academy graduates to ensure they maintain a path of success beyond graduation day.

The foundation, through its contributors and partners, also distributes much-needed funds and donations to all NGYCP sites throughout the country to support any additional needs the program may have beyond what the federal and state funds can/will cover.

“We assist adolescents who drop out of school with the opportunity to improve their life skills, education and employability, creating the next generation skilled workforce in America,” says NGYF president Lou Cabrera. “Any student within the 50 states and U.S. protectorates who drops out of school and commits to pursuing a second chance can have the opportunity to attend college, compete for quality employment and become self-sustaining and contributing citizens through their participation in the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program.”

Since the inception of the Kalaeloa facility in 1994, both of Hawai‘i’s Youth ChalleNGe Academies have witnessed nearly 4,000 cadets receive their high school diplomas or GEDs.

Of that number, nearly all graduates go on to find employment, continue their education or join the military.

“I have many, many success stories from this program, I’d be here for five days telling them!” Williams laughs. “But really, this is a great program. One day, I hope we have a program on each island so we can take care of our kids.

“Our motto here is that we treat our cadets the way we want to be treated, and that’s with fairness, firmness, dignity and compassion, because that’s the way human beings want to be treated,” Williams continues.

“Everybody has the potential to change to be a better person, all they need is to be exposed to something positive; all they need is a little guidance, direction and patience.”

To learn more about the National Guard Youth Foundation, visit www.ngyf.org.

Photos courtesy of National Guard Youth Foundation

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Brilliant! http://www.hiluxury.com/brilliant/ http://www.hiluxury.com/brilliant/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:56:34 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=14846 Forget subdued. Fall gets punchy with color-rich frocks and bold baubles.

Photographer: Rae Huo
Model: Claudia Vaughan of Kathy Muller Talent &Amp; Modeling Agency
Makeup Artist: Mariah Melanie, www.mariahmelanie.com
Hair Stylist: Ryan Alcantara

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Art House http://www.hiluxury.com/art-house/ http://www.hiluxury.com/art-house/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:56:30 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=15244 The Blackburns’ Black Point residence houses a wealth of museum-worthy pieces.

For some, a collection is a passion displayed on a single wall , a well-loved detail of their home. But walk into the Black Point house of Mark and Carolyn Blackburn, and it is instantly clear that their collection is their home. More than a thousand stunning Polynesian artifacts line its walls. Carvings, bowls, weapons, jewelry, books, artifacts and photographs transform the feeling of the space into that of a wonderfully lived-in museum.

Each piece would individually be the star of any collection: a bowl used by King Kamehameha I, Robert Louis Stevenson’s steamer trunk, a cup used by Captain Bligh to measure rations on the famous open boat voyage after the mutiny on the Bounty. Along the walls are paintings by some of Hawai’i’s most famous artists, including Madge Tennent, Cornelia Foley and Robert Lee Eskridge.

It’s a collection so stunning it’s been documented in a lush hardcover book called Polynesia: The Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian Art, by Adrienne Kaeppler. Mark began collecting coins as a child. By his teens he was dealing in rare coins, and by age 19 those coins had made him a millionaire. A book about the journeys of Captain Cook inspired him to retrace Cook’s voyages through Polynesia: New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, Hawai’i. His first Polynesian find was a Maori artifact in Hamburg. Forty years later, he’s still collecting.

“It’s the largest private collection of Polynesian art in the world,” explains Mark, who with Carolyn owns Mauna Kea Gallery on South King Street. “Our collection is the focus of our life.”

Their collection also motivated their move to Black Point from Waimea on Hawai’i Island. Mark’s travel for the gallery and collection made the extra inter-island commute difficult. “Collecting requires travel,” notes Mark. “Today, I’m in New Mexico for an 18th-century decorated Ni’ihau gourd.”

They wanted a location on O’ahu, which echoed the peace of the Big Island and found it in this four-bedroom, three-bathroom home constructed in the 1980s.

“Since we love mid-century architecture, we would have preferred a great mid-century designed home like the one we had on the Big Island,” says Mark, but they’d already fallen in love with the area.

“When you go out to the point, it’s like living on the Big Island, the wildness of it. Black Point has some of the most incredible air on the planet. It’s like nothing else on O’ahu,” Mark opines. He also noted that the house needed a new electrical system and wall treatments, as well as extensive shelving and cabinetry to house their collection.

“We were enamored with the view, the clean lines and atmospherics for displaying the art. We live with it. We have an emotional attachment to it and live every day with our art.”

Many of the Polynesian objects are stored in specially constructed pull-out drawers, but even with all of their additions, it’s still a challenge to do justice to a collection of this size. Many pieces are not on display due to limited wall space for paintings and flat works of art, so they store a tremendous amount of the collection and change works out from time to time.

“Some works of art are meant to be viewed from certain angles, elevations and of course, climatic conditions are always a challenge, especially sunlight,” reveals Mark. “The entire home is air conditioned 24 hours a day, due to Hawai’i’s challenging environment.”

The Blackburns built their collection’s cabinetry in black walnut for how it worked with their modernist furniture.

“We are collectors of mid-century furniture—especially George Nakashima and George Nelson. The Nakashima furniture in our opinion goes hand in hand with great art, especially tribal art.”

Mark describes his favorite time of day in the house, and collection, as morning.

“With the light in the space and the water view playing against the objects and period furniture—it’s quite spectacular.”

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Out of Africa http://www.hiluxury.com/africa/ http://www.hiluxury.com/africa/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:52:29 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=14887 Safaris aside, Cape Town boasts art galleries, urbane eateries and more.

The call of Africa. Once it’s felt, there’s no denying it. Yes, embarking on a safari to get in touch with nature is a must-do. Not to be missed, though, is time in the South African city of Cape Town. Here’s the best way to experience the city’s flavor: combining its metropolitan and countryside all in one stay.

URBAN IMMERSION

There’s much to see and do in Cape Town, whether visiting in the mild, rainy fall/winter season of May through August, or the spring/summer months of September through April.

The capital city welcomes visitors with open arms. This is particularly evident at MORE Quarters Apartment Hotels (www.morequarters.co.za), an urban escape in the Gardens district with its buzzed-about boutiques and restaurants.

Arrive in the evening and a seat by the lobby fireplace may call for a delayed check-in. Just as comfy are the contemporary accommodations themselves, one- and two-bedroom apartments and Redcliffe House, which sleeps up to eight. All offer the conveniences of home from a fully equipped kitchen to Wi-Fi. An added bonus at Redcliffe House is its swimming pool. Available to all guests is MORE Quarters’ breakfast room, ideal for grabbing a bite before heading out to explore Cape Town. To make that pursuit easy, consider tailoring a private tour through a company like Passage to Africa (www.passagetoafrica.com).

Setting the tone for discovering Cape Town’s urban side is MORE Quarters’ goal for their guests—“feel part of the city, being a local in a foreign city.” With that in mind, rub elbows with Capetonians at a favorite haunt—the Old Biscuit Mill (www.theoldbiscuitmill.co.za). The 19th-century, mostly open-air structure (open every day except Sunday) is home to day and night markets, not to mention kiosks and shops showcasing works from local artisans. Two hot restaurants to try—Test Kitchen (www.thetestkitchen.co.za) and The Pot Luck Club (www.thepotluckclub.co.za).

Highly recommended—arriving with an appetite on Saturdays when the weekly Neighbourgoods Market is underway. Grab a seat at the makeshift tables and benches and bask in the ambience (elegant candles in wine bottles included). Add some Flat White Coffee and a sweet from Queen of Tarts (www.queenoftarts.co.za) for sheer perfection.

It would be easy to while away the day at Old Biscuit Mill shops like Continuum (www.theoldbiscuitmill.co.za/continuum) and Abode (www.abode.co.za). Just outside, though, the neighborhood of Woodstock has many other opportunities to immerse in Cape Town’s vibrant arts scene. Here, stores like REcreate (www. recreate.za.net) showcase works from local artisans. Also on tap: a multitude of art galleries. Some are made to linger in—The Woodstock Foundry, Stevenson (www.stevenson.info) and Goodman (www.goodman-gallery.com) to name a few. In several galleries, it’s possible to see artist workspaces or even chat with the creators themselves about what serves as their inspiration. Include time in the Woodstock Exchange (www.woodstockexchange.co.za) where outdoor sculptures and art blend with specialty shops.

Another Saturday pastime, strolling cobblestoned Church Street during its Antique Market (www.churchstreetantiquemarket.wozaonline.co.za) to purchase vintage clothing, rare coins and funky artifacts from the 21st century. Not a Saturday? This is still an excellent place to shop, people-watch or stop for lunch. One suggestion—a sidewalk table at Café Mozart for Penny’s Homemade Chicken Pie (www.themozart.co.za). In the same area is trendy Bree Street, with a myriad dining options. Feel like progressive cocktails? Start at Publik Wine Bar (www.publik.co.za) and continue to Orphanage Cocktail Emporium (www.theorphanage.co.za).

With hours still left in the day, head to Table Mountain National Park. A Cableway (check for closures) whisks visitors heavenwards for a 360-degree view encompassing Cape Town, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (www.waterfront. co.za), Robben Island (www.robbenisland.org.za) and Cape Peninsula. Get a more in-depth look at the surrounds with a guided hike in this World Heritage Site to catch a glimpse of flora and fauna including porcupines, mongoose and Cape Verreaux’s Eagles. Inspired by the latter, consider a bit of rappelling via Abseil Africa (www.abseilafrica.co.za).

Weary from the day, eek out enough energy to partake in Gardens’ restaurant scene. Romance comes by way of seasonal fare at Aubergine’s, the 1830s abode of former Cape Town’s first chief justice. Another option: soaking in spectacular oceanfront views over seafood at The Bungalow (closed winter months of May through August, www.thebungalow.co.za). The venue describes its twilight vistas as where the “sun drowns itself in a pink puddle.” The setting alone will prompt adding the Atlantic Seaboard beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay to itineraries. Don’t miss the beach perfect for spying penguins— Boulders on the False Bay coast.

COUNTRYSIDE GETA WAY IN THE CITY

A sense of history is immediately present upon driving up to The Cellars-Hohenort (www.collectionmcgrath.com), a five-star property that’s part of The Collection by Liz McGrath. Its locale is Cape Town’s lush “vineyard,” a.k.a. the historical Constantia Valley (www.constantiavalley.com).

Greeting at the doorstep is a resident cat, that could it parlay advice, would suggest a ramble through the property’s 9.5 acres with frequent sojourns in the gardens. Other worthy outdoor endeavors include floating in one of the estate’s two swimming pools, a match of tennis or honing golf skills on the Gary Player-designed chipping and putting golf green. Indoors another “attraction” awaits—treatments at Fresh Wellness Spa. A reason to venture off-site is the Constantia Valley Wine Route (www. constantiavalley.com). One must-do: tour vineyards for pre-tastes of wines to be enjoyed at dinner later that evening, among them Buitenverwachting (www. buitenverwachting.com), Steenberg (their Bistro 1682 and Catharina’s are great dining options, www.steenbergfarm.com) and newcomer Constantia Glen (www.constantiaglen. com). The perfect follow-up is brunch amongst equestrians at Noordhoek Farm Village’s Foodbarn Deli (www. noordhoekvillage.co.za). Take time to peruse the African Experience and Itchy & Stitchy Shop (www.itchyandstitchy.com).

Up next, make the breathtaking drive along Cape Peninsula, where it’s not unusual to see signs warning of baboon crossings. Stretching legs can be done at Cape Point Nature Reserve with hikes in and around both Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. The former, and its lighthouse, can also be accessed by a funicular. However one arrives there, they’re rewarded with cliff-top panoramas of Dias Beach. Though there are lines of people waiting at the Cape of Good Hope for a photo in front of its sign stating, “Most South-Western Point of the African Continent,” joining the throng for a snapshot of one’s own is irresistible.

On the drive back to town, consider including an event compared to culinary theatre—lunch at The Flagship in Simon’s Town (www.chefbrucerobertson.com). Allot three hours for this five-course feast (primarily seafood focused) prepared by one of South Africa’s beloved chefs, Bruce Robertson. Flagship, which overlooks False Bay, just happens to be his home. Save room, though. There’s still dinner to be savored back at the hotel.

After a day in the wild, an unjarring return to the city can be had with dinner at one of The Cellars-Hohenort’s fine dining venues—The Greenhouse. Here, elements from Cape Town’s city and country sides meet—local produce/cuisine, paired with wines from the Constantia Valley Wine Route and décor that reflects regional art, as well as flora and fauna. A veritable kiss goodbye from Cape Town.

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Toques of the Town http://www.hiluxury.com/toques-town/ http://www.hiluxury.com/toques-town/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:51:22 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=15293 Take a culinary course at the iconic Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

I had to force myself to slow my pace as I walked along the well-worn pathway down the Rue Léon Delhomme. My excitement to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey urged me forward along that sleepy street at a hurried rate while my desire to soak in each step of my experience finally won over as I began to grasp the significance of the moment.

It had always been a dream of mine to prepare a meal at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, where some of the world’s most talented chefs have earned their chops while studying and cooking amidst heated stovetops and fiery professors. This elite culinary school has turned out gastronomic greats since its opening in 1895—including celebrity chefs like Julia Child, Gastón Acurio, Giada De Laurentiis and Ming Tsai, and others who are now prepared to cook alongside the world’s most renowned chefs like Chef Eric Briffard at Le Cinq or Chef Philippe Labbé at L’Abeille—and that day I was literally walking in the footsteps of these talented chefs as a participant in one of the school’s new gourmet short courses.

With each stride leading up to that surprisingly unassuming building, I began to savor every sound and every scent that wafted its way through the crevices of Le Cordon Bleu’s blue-rimmed glass door. I could almost make out the faint sound of a sauce simmering on the stove as I made my way up the steps. After one final strategic pause, I opened the door and took a deep breath before entering my first cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

Once inside, the nerves from feeling out of my element in such an influential institution faded as I was greeted by the fresh scent of warm bread followed by a warm handshake from a pristinely clad chef. He was donning a perfectly white apron embroidered simply with the school’s prestigious blue ribbon emblem, and it was the instant that I let go of the chef ‘s hand that I immediately felt like I was right where I belonged.

Just like the ever-so-determined Julia Child who had walked these halls years ago, I knew there was no turning back now.

A RICH HISTORY

Le Cordon Bleu is more than an institution in Paris; that little blue ribbon has become a world-renowned distinction that represents inclusion into an exclusive handful of culinary greats who have sweat, sipped and sautéed their way to being worthy of wearing the crest. Even the term “Le Cordon Bleu” evokes an essence of elitism, dating back to the mid 1500s when Henri III of France bestowed the knights of the Order of the Holy Spirit with a cross hanging from a blue ribbon. The name and symbol have become an expression that speaks for itself in the modern world of cuisine, suggesting a chef with an unparalleled repertoire of mastery.

Although the program began in Paris, it has now grown into a worldwide brand, boasting more than 50 schools in 20 countries. The school offers prestigious diplomas ranging from a Basic Cuisine Certificate to the highly sought-after Grand Diplôme®, which only a select group of chefs hold to this day. More than 20,000 students attend the school annually, learning everything from basic pâtisserie, hospitality management, tourism, and even wine management from chef instructors who have themselves been awarded Michelin stars, prestigious awards, or have become famous for their specific craft.

Up until recently, the only way to attend Le Cordon Bleu was to register as a student in one of the certificate or diploma programs, but the school has opened its doors to non-professional food enthusiasts around the world for a short course passport to culinary culture and expertise.

THE GASTRONOMIC TICKET

The one-day, short-term culinary classes offer the opportunity for weekend gourmands and passionate home chefs to immerse themselves into the world of Le Cordon Bleu for a single day. Whether in town on vacation or for business, these courses remove any semblance of time constraint fears or commitment qualms to provide provisional students with traditional techniques to modern methods in cooking, pastry and bread baking.

Each course is unique, offering everything from an immersion into a specific region’s cuisine (i.e., Provençal classics) to a demonstration on highly advanced techniques (i.e., sauce making). The programs are conducted by Le Cordon Bleu chefs in an inviting classroom environment where each highly accomplished chef can share his or her passion with students with a “watch, do, learn” methodology.

There’s a long list of tempting classes at the International Le Cordon Bleu campuses—including London, Paris, Bangkok, Sydney, Tokyo, etc.—that help students master the sophisticated workings of “haute cuisine” with simplistically challenging techniques like the proper way to melt butter, chop nuts or plate an entrée. Each course offers students the chance to escape upon a journey of aromatic experiences with unforgettable flavors and fragrances. The class list ranges from demonstration and tasting-style classes that last a few hours to market tours and hands-on culinary courses that last a full day.

The chefs and staff at Le Cordon Bleu demonstrate their passion for perfection upon arrival, providing each student with all the necessary tools required to be successful in the class (insulated canvas bags, aprons, tea towels, pen and paper for note taking, chef’s bios, etc.). Although the creative team behind the courses is always concocting new offerings, current favorites include French Regional Cuisine, Cooking for Friends, Homemade Sauces, The Secrets of Macaroons, Chef-Guided Market Tours, Bread Baking, and the ever-so-popular Food and Wine Pairing course.

At the Le Cordon Bleu Paris, each course is taught in French and translated into English. Along with the precise instruction, and often witty banter, from the chefs, most classrooms are also equipped with video cameras set up to show the intricate details of each technique and help students further develop his or her ability to reproduce the recipes back in their own kitchens.

ONE DELICIOUS SOUVENIR

Inside the classroom, my senses became fully aware. I no longer had to force myself to slow down to enjoy the moment as each sense awakened to my surroundings and I suddenly felt flooded with creativity and excitement. I could feel, see, hear, taste and smell everything in that spotless room. I finished pulling my hair back and away from my face the instant the minute hand struck the half hour, and soon my Le Cordon Bleu dream began forming into a memory as the chef challenged the class with a simple question: “Shall we begin?” “Oui, chef!”

© LE CORDON BLEU INTERNATIONAL 2014

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Time Machine Queen http://www.hiluxury.com/time-machine-queen/ http://www.hiluxury.com/time-machine-queen/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:48:05 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=15173 Dr. Tess Mauricio’s latest anti-aging treatment claims to make you look years younger sans surgery.

It would be difficult to believe that fresh-faced, glowing beauty and “America’s Favorite Dermatologist” Dr. Tess Mauricio suffered from a bad case of eczema as a child. In fact, her mom would have her daughter wear knee-high socks to camouflage the scars. Fast-forward to the present, and “Dr. Tess” is the one helping others with their skin as a cosmetic dermatologist. Mauricio was in the islands recently, promoting her newest invention a procedure called Time Machine (or shall we say Fountain of Youth?).

“We are bringing this advanced technology to Hawai‘i, so that other doctors and practitioners can offer this amazing nonsurgical combination procedure that can turn back the clock 10 to 20 years,” she confirms.

The Time Machine procedure addresses all the factors that contribute to signs of skin aging: skin deterioration and sun damage, sagging, loss of volume and wrinkles. Mauricio says each treatment plan is personalized for each patient.

“Patients will look natural. You’ll notice improvement on the eyelids, under the eyes, cheeks, pores and more. The Time Machine will give you so much more than a face or neck lift. Despite great genetics, aging happens to everyone.”

So, how exactly do we reverse the signs of aging? According to Mauricio, skin resurfacing is key.

“As we age, we start to lose volume in the under-eye area, cheeks and around the mouth. The Time Machine procedure vaporizes old skin via radio frequencies, and now we are seeing results from platelet rich plasma in our own blood. Once we collect blood from the patient, the blood goes into a special test tube, separating red blood cells from a clear serum (platelet-rich plasma).

“Platelet-rich plasma is used immediately, and is applied with a micro pen to the entire face or problem areas. The micro pen drives the plasma deeper into the layers of the skin, helping to repair and rebuild collagen. Plasma is our body’s natural volumizer,” Mauricio explains, noting that the procedure is a permanent reset of the aging process.

Currently, Mauricio oversees five clinics in Southern California. She’s also expanded her reach to a global audience, having appeared on nationally televised shows, such as Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, The Doctors, America’s Next Top Model, The Talk and more, where she’s shared her expertise and revealed some of the best modern-day beauty secrets.

This fall, Mauricio launches skincare line, Dr. Tess Timeless MD that treats pigmentation and discoloration, while also offering anti-aging benefits.

For more information on Dr. Tess Mauricio, visit www.scrippsderm.com

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A Place in the Sun http://www.hiluxury.com/place-sun/ http://www.hiluxury.com/place-sun/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:46:39 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=15286 Montage Kapalua Bay brings a quiet luxury perfect for its revered location.

The sun shone brightly at the opening reception and blessing for the Montage Kapalua Bay, as if the heavens were heralding in a new star in the Maui landscape.

Smiles beamed from the faces of the Montage Kapalua team members as they welcomed guests to the new property with a song and hula.

Montage founder, Alan Fuerstman, reflected on how this property was special, not just to the company and its guests, but also to the area—Kapalua—and Maui. In fact, Fuerstman pointed out that the Valley Isle as a whole occupied a special place in his heart. “My wife and I honeymooned on Maui—and have returned here every year since.”

Indeed, pairing Maui, Kapalua specifically, with the Montage brand has made for a perfect combination. “An emphasis on tradition is a major focal point, as Montage Kapalua Bay incorporates the area’s coastal heritage through its design, architecture, food and cultural programming,” says Richard Holtzman, Vice President and Managing Director at Montage Kapalua Bay.

Photo courtesy Montage Kapalua Bay

Photo courtesy Montage Kapalua Bay

“Montage Kapalua Bay offers enriching cultural programs developed by the resort’s onsite Cultural Ambassador, Silla Kaina. The programming is aimed at educating guests about native Hawaiian customs with hula dance lessons and interpretation, lei making, ‘Talk Story’ sessions, ‘ukulele lessons, spa rituals and more,” he adds.

The spacious residential suites make for the perfect couple’s retreat, family reunion or girlfriends getaway, complete with stunning views, and the comforts of home (spacious living rooms, a full kitchen, in-suite laundry) in a well-appointed setting (think sumptuous Egyptian cotton sheets and down bedding in master suites with full baths; plush Turkish cotton robes). “Our team will help guests in advance to stock the refrigerator for plenty of easily accessible snacks or meal options that they can prepare in the gourmet kitchens (or have our chefs come prepare for you!),” Holtzman says.

A perfect day at Montage Kapalua Bay? Holtzman suggests starting your day with breakfast on your suite’s lanai overlooking the ocean, followed by an exploration of the coastal trail that fronts the resort. Afterwards, head to the award-winning Spa Montage Kapalua Bay for an outdoor spa treatment in one of their hale. Try these signature treatments: the intoxicating Awa & Cacao Hawaiian Cocoon or the transportive Journey through the Ocean.

He suggests ending the day with some food, drink and a Kapalua sunset. “Capture the sunset with modern cuisine that celebrates Hawai‘i’s diverse culture at Cane & Canoe, the new signature restaurant [with] architecture that mimics a traditional Hawaiian Cane House,” he adds. End your evening at the restaurant’s bar, sipping on signature cocktails, listening to music and maybe even shoot a game of pool.

The next day (and the day after that…), design your own itinerary. Other amenities at the resort include the new Mahana Market, the Sunset Pool, the landmark Cliff House—perfect for private parties—and of course, direct access to the gorgeous Kapalua Bay Beach.

www.montagehotels.com/kapaluabay

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Up for Dégustation http://www.hiluxury.com/degustation/ http://www.hiluxury.com/degustation/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:39:58 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=15317 Want the best of the best? La Mer withstands the test of time with its ever-innovative, five-star fare.

Similar to the monarchs who once ruled the kingdoms and empires of France, La Mer restaurant has long reigned as the perennial five-star dining experience in the islands.

Perched in the treetops on the second floor of the historic main building of the luxurious Halekulani, La Mer (which means, “the sea” in French) is virtually cantilevered over the ocean of Waikiki, with spectacular Diamond Head views. It sits as a peaceful time capsule of the sophisticated grace and exquisite style brought to the islands by the European travelers who first visited the hotel in the 1930s. And still today, a night at La Mer is far more than dinner; it’s a culinary escape to be remembered long after the evening ends.

Led by Vikram Garg, executive chef at the Halekulani, La Mer’s menu combines nouveau French cuisine with the finest and freshest island ingredients.

“We have the gift of the place. It is even a gift to us. This is such a beautiful setting—the view, the dining room and it’s our job to add the element of luxury with good food and good wine,” says Garg. “We don’t believe in just feeding people; it’s about creating a memory.”

In addition to La Mer’s jaw-dropping ocean views and spectacular service, the décor of the dining room itself is what gives the restaurant its highly regarded reputation of “understated elegance.” The 14-karat gold foil wallpaper, originally installed on the ceilings when the restaurant opened in 1983, still remains today, as does the custom-designed McGuire rattan furniture. The walls of the restaurant are covered with Asian-inspired fabric murals by IIonka Karasz, entitled “East of the Sun.” With age, these have taken on the look and feel of kapa (traditional Hawaiian barkcloth), which is even more fitting for the restaurant’s idyllic setting of “On the Beach at Waikiki.”

But just because the restaurant has lasted decades in the ever-changing restaurant scene of Waikiki, doesn’t mean it hasn’t evolved. The brightest addition to La Mer is the restaurant’s new bar concept L’Aperitif. A historically-based concept focused on La Belle Époque—a period of French history when the arts and sophisticated Parisian social culture reached unprecedented heights—the cocktail bar is designed to be enjoyed as a prelude to dinner at La Mer.

The artfully created menu by Colin Field (of the legendary Hemmingway Bar at the Ritz Paris) pairs each signature “haute couture” cocktail, such as the Esprit Chanel or Hemingway Old Fashioned with a small sampling, such as the flaming Foie Gras Crème Brûlée or Oyster, Lychee-Ginger Sorbet ($20). Like many of the staff at La Mer, L’Aperitif’s resident bartender Henry Kawaiaea has worked at the hotel for 31 years and continues to train with Field (long recognized as the “Best Barman in the World”) before every revision of L’Aperitif ‘s menu. After relaxing to talk story with Henry Kawaiaea and enjoy just one of his libations, I was able to regain that joie de vivre that I have not had since last walking the Champs-Élysées in Paris years ago. Only now, was I appropriately prepared for La Mer’s main act.

Whenever dining at a highly-acclaimed restaurant like La Mer, which was recently awarded a five-star designation by Forbes Travel Guide—the only restaurant in Hawai’i to receive this accolade-I prefer to put myself at the mercy of the masterful chefs and partake in the Menu Dégustation, which in this case is La Mer’s signature eight-course tasting menu ($195) with wine pairings ($95). If selecting this dining option, allow yourself a minimum of three hours. While eight courses may seem like a lot of food, La Mer’s culinary team understands that when properly executing a tasting menu the goal is to not leave the clients overly full, but rather wanting more, which is exactly what Garg and his team accomplished.

We danced through the courses guided by our waiter, whose flawless service was a result of him too having been with the restaurant for well over a decade. Beginning with Poached Oyster, Cauliflower Mousseline, Caviar, Star Anise Butter and a crisp Domaine Huet “Le Mont” Vouvray, Sec, 2012 (Loire Valley, France), I quickly picked up on the chef ‘s influence from the South of France. While I am normally not a fan of foie gras, La Mer’s chilled Foie Gras Terrine with Blood Orange Chutney and Citrus Chips was surprisingly different and the perfect cool adaption for a warm Hawaiian night.

The highlight of the tasting menu for me was the Poached Lobster, “Albufera Sauce” with Shaved Truffles, a traditional French dish normally prepared with chicken, but swapped out for local Kona lobster. La Mer’s Albufera sauce was so delectable that the staff subtly placed a dish of extra sauce on the side of our table, clearly in anticipation of our desire to lap up every last drop with the freshly made quinoa rolls. (This was the one moment of our La Mer experience that I felt far more American, than French.) The wine accompaniment to this dish, served by Halekulani wine manager and resident sommelier Kevin Toyama, was also an evening standout—Anthill Farms “Tina Marie Vineyard,” 2012 Pinot Noir (Green Valley in Sonoma, California). It was the perfect complex mix of spicy, savory and smooth. And with just 200 cases produced annually, I felt privileged to discover it.

“Cognizant of global trends, our wine list touches upon many wines that are rich and compelling. Among the cavalcade of new regions and producers, we try to be thoughtful of how it fits the big picture.” says Toyama. “And for the aficionado, we are known to tuck away rare selections and older vintages in our cellars. Sometimes a new adventure is only a conversation away,” he adds.

The dessert portion of the evening was exceptionally impressive and highlighted the culinary team’s application of modern techniques, such as molecular gastronomy, proving that although neoclassic in foundation, La Mer is keeping up with the global culinary trends.

“We don’t get trendy, but we follow the trend,” Garg says. “That is important for us, because when you get trendy, it’s a very short life, and we don’t believe in that. We believe in setting trends and making them a reality for the future.”

Clearly, after 31 years as arguably the finest dining establishment in Hawai’i, Garg and his team have figured out the perfect formula to withstand the test of time, while remaining a true classic.

La Mer, Halekulani, 2199 Kalia Road, 923-2311 or www.halekulani.com

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Second-gen Success http://www.hiluxury.com/second-gen-success/ http://www.hiluxury.com/second-gen-success/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:39:50 +0000 http://www.hiluxury.com/?p=15022 President and CEO of ABC Stores Paul Kosasa keeps his father’s legacy alive.

Paul Kosasa was just 7 years old when his dad, Sidney Kosasa, launched the ABC Stores empire with the opening of a retail outlet on Waikiki Beach in 1964.

But as the grandson of a first-generation Japanese immigrant and of parents who courted and married at a Japanese internment camp in Northern California, it could hardly be said that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Like his father and grandfather before him, Kosasa learned at an early age that the building blocks of success are hard work and the ability to look ahead.

“I think my parents believed that America rights its wrongs and that there was a wrong, but they didn’t hold it against the country,” the 57-year-old Kosasa said during a recent interview at his modest Kaka‘ako office.

“Once they got out of Tule Lake Internment Camp, they felt like they had the same opportunity as everyone else. Their bitterness of that era didn’t consume them or prevent them from seeking everything that America has to offer. A lot of great leaders came out of that generation—the great generation. Maybe they had to prove to themselves that they could be successful along with anyone else.”

To be sure, Kosasa’s parents, Sidney and Minnie, had barely left the uncertainty of WWII behind when they gambled on opening their first pharmacy/convenience store in Kaimuki. Within a decade, they had grown the store into four known as the Thrifty Drugs brand. Watching tourists shop at the large hotels during a chance business trip to Miami Beach, Fla. gave the elder Kosasa, respectfully known to employees as “Mr. K,” the inspiration to create his own line of resort retail stores, which he called the ABC Store, because it was easy to remember. The idea proved to be a stroke of genius that eventually overtook his other business concepts.

While “Mr. K” died in 2006, his legacy lives on in the wisdom that he passed to his son Paul, who describes the day in 1999 that he took over the reigns to the ABC Stores as one of the best of his life next to the birth of his own children, 23-year-old Lindsay and 21-year-old Ian with his wife Lisa.

“My dad was already 80, but he didn’t have to hand over the reigns, he was still really active so it was an amazing vote of confidence when he decided to turn over the job that he had been grooming me to do,” Paul Kosasa says. “I never said, ‘Hey, I’m ready… it was always his decision. I respected him for how he operated the company and I was always learning from him.’”

Kosasa was just nine when he got his start working at the family’s Thrifty Drugs stores.

“I’d work in the summers and during the school year, I would take the bus over from ‘Iolani. They used to pay me with model cars and planes,” he says. “My dad wanted me in the family business—the rest of my siblings were older and chose not to go into the business so that probably compelled my dad to lean a little harder on me. I liked the family business, but it wasn’t until after college that I began to envision making it my career.”

Kosasa says he studied engineering at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor before realizing that what he really wanted to build was the family’s retail operation.

“I discovered engineering was a lot less enjoyable. I couldn’t see myself working on numbers behind my desk,” Kosasa says. “Because I worked in retail growing up in the family business, I was comfortable with it. and it was a lot more fun.”

After college, Kosasa signed on with Foods Co., a now defunct California supermarket chain.

“It was good to get experience working for someone else. It also sent a message that it takes hard work to make a family business succeed—so many of them consolidated back in the 1980s, and now they are gone,” he says.

Eventually, Kosasa returned to Hawai‘i, where his parents welcomed him back into the fold and gave him the chance to see firsthand how important it is for business leaders to cultivate a strong character, work ethic and sense of fairness and justice.

“They always says take care of the employees and they’ll take care of the company,” he says. “Today we’ve got a little over 1,000 employees in our ‘ohana. Most of them are full-time and we make sure that they have good benefits and the opportunity for advancement. They are the reason that we’ve succeeded.”

Kosasa even credits one employee, chief operating officer Willie Nishi, for a large portion of his personal success.

“My mentor besides my dad is Willie Nishi. He’s from Hilo, but he grew up in our family business rising from truck driver to our chief operating officer,” Kosasa says. “He taught me everything he knew and he was the one that counseled my dad about my eventual succession.”

While Kosasa says the job was the one that he was born to do, it wasn’t always easy.

“We made it through a series of downturns… the Iraq War, 9/11, the financial crash,” he says. “The managers took pay cuts and we had to cut employee hours, but we carried the benefits and we didn’t do any layoffs.”

Kosasa says through it all, his parents’ voices played in his head. From his dad, he learned to “play one shot at a time” and to “look ahead because you can’t change the past.” His mom, who is still a very active part of his life, preached fortitude.

“She’d always say, ‘You’ll have bad days. Sometimes you’ll feel sorry for yourself, but it’s important to man up and deal with it.'”

Kosasa, who has served as chairman of the philanthropic Hawaii Community Foundation for the last three years, says he learned generosity from both parents.

“They were always having the employees over to our home for meetings and giving back,” he says. “They taught me that happiness is the end game and that it’s caused by giving of yourself. Gratitude makes people happy.”

Hawaii Community Foundation CEO Kelvin Takata says the nonprofit honored the Kosasa family in 2013 as outstanding philanthropists of the year in recognition of their generosity and leadership in the community.

“Paul is a doer. Both in his leadership of ABC Stores and in his civic leadership, he is always someone you can count on to step up and take on challenges and get things done. A lot of people will talk about their intentions, Paul makes it happen,” he says. “The company is a legacy in which Paul takes great pride and leads with passion and sincerity. He is the embodiment of what ABC Stores have been for decades…an innovator, community leader and trusted employer.”

Kosasa credits the generosity of the community with helping propel his family’s business to the half-century mark. He doesn’t take for granted that this year ABC Stores, which now has 75 stores in Hawai’i, Nevada, Guam and Saipan, turns 50. The company is working on replacing the Waikiki business lost with the redevelopment motivated closure of four International Market Place stores and is looking to expand further into Kaua’i, with new stores opening in Kapa’a and Po’ipu in the next 24 months. And, while brick and mortar stores face challenges in the digital age, Kosasa envisions further growth.

“We’ll be opening more stores and they’ll morph into other types of businesses—I’m not sure if it will be retail,” Kosasa says. “I don’t master plan a strategy. It’s based on how society changes. Digital and mobile channels have grown; however, humans love interaction so that means they’ll always be a need for brick and mortar stores. Shopping and eating are an important component of socializing. We just have to change it up to keep it relevant.”

Interestingly enough, one of the ways Kosasa stays in touch with human cultural needs is through his love of contemporary music, which he says indirectly reveals how his younger generation of consumers think and believe.

“My dad is a creative type—he is a musician, an athlete, and an adventurer,” says his daughter Lindsay. “Over the past few years, as I’ve had the opportunity to move away from home and have adventures of my own, my dad has shared some wild stories from his youth. He is a go-getter and a risk taker, and his forward-thinking attitude keeps him going every day. Not many people can say that their dad stood in line at Studio 54 in New York next to Andy Warhol, or just this past January, excitedly go with his daughter to the Steve Aoki concert at the Blaisdell.”

While Kosasa says that he doesn’t have any regrets about picking up his father’s passion and making it his own, he’s not leaning yet on his own children to consider the company’s succession.

“I’m not worried about succession—that time probably won’t come for another decade. Really, I think I’ll be like my dad; I’ll keep working until I can’t. In conventional thinking, a job is work, but I love what I do. I think I’m right where I’m supposed to be…” Kosasa says. “It keeps me young. It keeps me happy.”

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