Amid the lush landscape of Kauaʻi and the surrounding waters of the Pacific Ocean, Kukuiʻula is a place for the senses. The warm breeze on your skin that brings with it the salty scent of the ocean, the views of the vast coastline, the sound of faint chatter mixed with music, the fresh taste of elevated Kauaʻi cuisine—all blend together to create a certain sense of place that you can’t get anywhere else.
Executive Chef Ben Takahashi is dedicated to giving you a taste of where you are and creates dishes that showcase the Farm at Kukuiʻula and best in-season items, especially focused on localvore ingredients grown within a 100-mile radius. Working with the Farm, local fishers, ranchers, and purveyors, Chef Ben’s farm-to-fork and ocean-to-table fare incorporate what occurs on and around the island naturally, in tune with the seasons.
“This is one of the greatest positions I’ve ever had, because of the quality resources,” says Chef Ben. “It’s like a chef’s dream, and gives me freedom of imagination for menus with everything within reach.” With the ability to receive photos and growth tracking of produce on The Farm, the kitchen can plan for the perfect moment to feature the changing flavors of each day, at the time of harvest.
Whether it’s a delicious family dinner at ʻUmeke Kitchen + Bar, poolside bites at Makai Grill + Bar, snacks on the golf course, healthy sustenance at Hiʻilani Spa, Chef Ben’s spectacular and intimate omakase meals that interweave his grandmother’s recipes and childhood memories, or even farm-to-table feasts under the broad canopy of The Farm’s monkey pod tree—there are endless opportunities at Kukuiʻula to get that essential sense of place through food.
The long history of agriculture here is tied to our relationship with the ʻaina (land), where the terroir encompasses the elements of the island—from the sun and rain to the soil and ocean. Flavors of Kauaʻi are also a result of the vast different cultures that have emigrated here, from the early Polynesians to today. Elevated Kauaʻi cuisine is the culinary representation of the tradition of Hawaiian storytelling, where the terroir and cultures speak.
Family meals create bonds and deepen relationships, and it’s especially easy when you’re enjoying the taste of Kukuiʻula, sharing your best memories of the day while being surrounded by the people you love. Why wait for a special occasion to treat yourself well? There’s enough in the bounty of the land and ocean right here to celebrate daily life in a beautiful location.
Pull up a chair to the table, whether in the dining room or under the earpod tree, where the essence of the varied flavors of Kauaʻi together forms the language of the island. You don’t need to study extensively to attain fluency, merely pay attention to the effect of the elemental forces, like gentle erosion. Before you know it, that sense of place will become part of your daily life, and you’ll wonder how you lived before.