Travaasa Hana in Maui, Hawaii recently announced the appointment of Derek Watanabe to executive chef. Watanabe will oversee the culinary team and all banquet and catering services for the AAA Four Diamond resort located at the end of Maui’s iconic Road to Hana.
Born and raised in Honolulu and specializing in regional cuisine, Watanabe comes to Hana with an extensive culinary and catering background. Most recently he was chef/partner of Café Julia and Laniakea Catering and chef de cuisine of Watanabe Weddings by Alan Wong in Honolulu. Prior to that, he was chef de cuisine for Alan Wong’s Restaurant, regarded as one of the finest Hawaii Regional Cuisine restaurants in the Hawaiian Islands. Before that, Watanabe was chef de cuisine at The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong in Honolulu.
Kauiki Restaurant, the signature restaurant at Travaasa Hana, showcases seasonal fare, with the majority of produce, fish and beef sourced from the bounty of Hana and the Hawaiian Islands. Fresh catch of the day is procured from local fishermen, and ingredients like Meyer lemon, ruby grapefruit, avocado, taro, breadfruit, watercress, and the popular Keanae poi are sourced from family farms right in Hana. A gourmet selection of low-calorie, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are on every menu in a nod to Travaasa’s attention to health and wellness.