One of Hawai‘i’s most exclusive culinary events returns to The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Kona/Kohala Coast this October. Hosting this year’s event is executive chef Thomas Bellec who took the reins in directing all things culinary at the resort earlier this year.
Bellec, an 18-year veteran of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts with a passion for perfection, admits to a few butterflies as the multi-day event approaches. Having directed and/or participated in many similar events over the years, Bellec says Chef Fest is unique, of course, because of its incredible location and its success in attracting some of the nation’s finest, cutting-edge chefs to cook with one another using Hawai‘i Island’s extraordinary ingredients. Among a few of his favorites: kampachi, abalone and Waimea tomatoes.
“This is my first time presenting this world-respected event, and while my team and I will be introducing some new elements, my plan is to observe what wows participants this year and enhance that for 2018,” Bellec shares.
Colin Clark, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai’s general manager, says, “Chef Fest is such a special week here at the resort. Our guests are able to experience the flavors, talents and personalities of some very special guest chefs, winemakers and spirits experts. The energy and excitement is in the air, and these events are truly some of the most fun, intimate and indulgent experiences available anywhere-only matched by the setting and aloha of Hualalai.”
Among the classic offerings planned during the four days of engaging programming, and divine food and drink (ranging from casual to haute cuisine) are: Chef Fest Grand Tasting, the traditional opening event set for Oct. 4; Interactive Cooking Demonstrations; Wine Tastings; Kumukea Beach Cookout; and the extravagant closing event on Oct. 7, the Gala Dinner & After Party.
New this year, according to Bellec and Clark, is a pop-up All-Clad Cooking Academy situated in the resort’s herb garden. The outdoor kitchen will be home to the six cooking classes led by the guest chefs throughout the week. Also new for Chef Fest 2017 is inclusion of a line-up of four award-winning mixologists who will each host a special cocktail showcase at the Patro?n Lounge at the resort’s adults-only Palm Grove Pool.
Most recently from Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, A Four Seasons Hotel, Bellec joined the team at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in late spring 2017. A native of Concarneau in Brittany, France, Bellec has brought his skills and passion to some of the top kitchens in France, Canada, Uruguay and the British Virgin Islands. No stranger to the Hawai‘i Islands, he also spent time at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
Wherever he is in the world, Bellec says, “I try not to focus too much on trends. I look first at where I am and what’s available seasonally, then at what I like to cook and how I like to cook it.”
He adds,”My philosophy to cooking has always been simple, I source the very best ingredients, while paying close attention to seasonality and the local climate, and I prepare them in a way that highlights and complements their natural flavours and distinct characteristics.
“This is all very exciting for me, I’m really looking forward to this exciting event and then to putting my personal touches and ideas in to play at Chef Fest 2018.”
For a complete schedule of events log-on to fourseasons.com/hualalai.
For reservations, please phone (808)325-8000.
CHEFS IN ATTENDANCE:
- Chef/Owner of Redbird, Fritzi Coop – Los Angeles
- Chef/Owner of Prune – NewYork City
- Edward Lee: Chef/Owner of 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry – Louisville
- Ivan Orkin: Chef/ Owner of Ivan Ramen – New York City
- Andy Ricker: Chef/Owner of Pok Pok – New York City and Portland
- Fabrizio Schenardi: Executive Chef of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World
- Christof Syre: Executive Chef of Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
- Jonathan Waxman: Chef/Owner of Barbuto, Jams – New York City; Adele’s, Bajo Sexto – Nashville Brezza Cucina – Atlanta; Waxman’s – San Francisco