KOHALA COAST, Hawaii: The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is introducing one of Hawaii ’s rising culinary talents, Chef Allen Hess, as the new Chef de Cuisine of the iconic CanoeHouse restaurant.

Chef Hess comes to Mauna Lani Bay from his namesake restaurant in Waimea, Allen’s Table, where he was both co-owner and chef. Prior to this, Chef Allen was Executive Chef for Merriman’s restaurant and Sous Chef for Alan Wong’s Hualalai Grille.

[FMP poster=”http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/media/2012/01january/0124chefsBIG.jpg” width=”280″ height=”153″]http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/media/2012/01january/0124chefs.mp4[/FMP]

The Canoe House is known for showcasing more than 80 percent of locally grown produce, inspired by Hawaii ’s plantation era with modern aesthetics and technique. Big Island Video News most recently filmed at the Canoe House in January when the second annual Celebrity Chef Tour benefiting the James Beard Foundation returned with an impressive line-up of superstar chefs (right).

SOURCE: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

Chef Hess, known for his bold and progressive take on Hawaii Regional Cuisine, hails the new CanoeHouse as a “Hawaiian culinary adventure that incorporates the best and freshest ingredients that are grown and raised on the island.”

Showcasing more than 80 percent of locally grown produce, each carefully thought out dish offers a compelling story fusing cuisine inspired by Hawaii ’s plantation era with modern aesthetics and technique.

Says, Chef Hess, “I am very excited to present the new CanoeHouse offering our guests a sophisticated and relaxed Hawaii dining experience in one of the most spectacular and secluded locations in the world”.

“Our menu reflects the bounty of local fish, shellfish and beef as well as the huge variety of fruits and vegetables that we have access to here on Hawaii Island, along with our very own house-cured specialty meats,” said Chef Hess.

Chef Hess comes to Mauna Lani Bay from his namesake restaurant in Waimea, Allen’s Table, where he was both co-owner and chef. Prior to this, Chef Allen was Executive Chef for Merriman’s restaurant and Sous Chef for Alan Wong’s Hualalai Grille.

Menu highlights

The CanoeHouse menu features Starters such as the Chef’s Plate with house Charcuterie, Foie Gras, Kona lobster, homemade mustard and Heirloom Tomato jam. Chef Hess’ Goat Tacos that are Waimea raised and Korean braised with spicy Daikon Salsa, are served in a Bao Bun and finished with Sharwil Avocados, goat cheese and micro cilantro, have been described as one of his ‘must try’ dishes.

Entrees comprise the popular Kona Black Cod that is steamed and roasted with a shrimp and Foie Gras mousse and served with pearl barley risotto, edamame pan jus and housemade Mauna Lani butter. The mouth-watering Crispy Kampachi comes with a Kabayaki glaze, garlic fried pearl cous cous, wilted Arugula and truffle drizzle.

Chef Hess brings inspirations from the Islands’ ethnic diversity to classic American fare, such as his shiso crusted Wagyu Strip Loin with garlic mashed potatoes, pickled Hawaii Island summer vegetables and tempura Heirloom Tomato as well as his Roasted Lamb Chops that are sweet and sour dipped and served with Hudge Farms Brocollini, Ninole heart of palm gratin, mint and cilantro essence. Deceptively straightforward dishes feature a rich depth and breadth of flavors.

Irresistible desserts such as the Waimea Strawberry Mousse Chiffon Cake, the Wailua Chocolate Dome and housemade Kona Coffee, Hawaiian Vanilla and Hibiscus White Chocolate Ice-Creams complete the experience.

The CanoeHouse offers guests a top-of-the line wine list that can be accessed on the CanoeHouse’s very own personalized iPad menu, along with signature cocktails and a range of local and boutique beers providing something for every occasion.

CanoeHouse ambience and interior design

The stunning oceanfront location of CanoeHouse creates a seductive atmosphere that is also a prime location to witness Hawaii ‘s spectacular sunsets. When the sun goes down, the ambience comes alive with Polynesian-style Tiki torches that create a celebratory feel. Both indoor and outdoor seating is offered, however the open air experience is hard to beat where you can enjoy dinner under the stars, hear the sound of the crashing waves and feel the gentle trade winds.

CanoeHouse’s rustic décor, that replicates a contemporary and finished version of a Hawaiian canoe house, intrigues and inspires all types of diners. The space also includes an outdoor gazebo that is perfect for sunset drinks or intimate dinners. An exquisite Koa wood bar looks out to the ocean and offers a prime position to enjoy a specialty island-style cocktail and light appetizers. The tables feature simple, yet classic settings where diners enjoy a relaxed, dining experience that inevitably ends up stretching for hours.

“CanoeHouse is your destination to enjoy a first-class farm-to-table meal with friends and family as well as a special place to celebrate an important occasion. We’re laidback, fun and we enjoy sharing our spirit of aloha. Importantly, we celebrate all that is magical and unique about Hawaii ,” said Chef Hess.

CanoeHouse is open seven days a week from 6pm to 9pm. Call (808) 881-7911 or visit www.maunalani.com for reservations.

The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows is recognized as one of the world’s premier eco-friendly resorts and one of the Islands ’ leading destinations for a Hawaiian cultural vacation. Preserving and sharing the history and culture of Hawaii is a huge part of the Mauna Lani Bay experience, led by the resort’s Director of Cultural Affairs, Daniel “Kaniela” Akaka, Jr, who is also a respected kahu, teacher, musician, storyteller, explorer and preservationist. Mauna Lani’s famous golf courses, the Francis H. I’i Brown North & South Courses, named in honor of the former Mauna Lani landowner and champion Hawaii golfer, offer breathtaking scenery, unforgettable signature holes and cutting-edge course design built around ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs, trails and fishponds.

The award-winning Mauna Lani Spa resembles a traditional Hawaiian village with thatched hales (huts) for treatments. It is the only spa in Hawaii to offer natural Lava Saunas and the Lava Watsu Experience set within a lava tube. The resort’s signature restaurant, CanoeHouse, is consistently ranked as one of Hawaii ’s best restaurants for its progressive take on Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

Mauna Lani Bay is establishing its reputation as a popular health, fitness and outdoor lifestyle retreat partnering with international pro triathletes and a local stand up paddling champion.

The resort is committed to delivering aloha in everything it does by extending complimentary programs and services to its guests that go beyond the norm.

Mauna Lani Bay has maintained its original owners since opening in 1983 and is a member of the Preferred Hotel Group recognizing the world’s best independent luxury hotels and resorts. For reservations call (800) 367-2323 or visit www.maunalani.com