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Kahala Chef Hirabayashi Garners National Award


Honolulu, HI…Executive Chef Wayne Hirabayashi was named Outstanding Manager of the Year in the Large Property category by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) at their Stars of the Industry awards luncheon held at the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Denver, Colorado, June 18. Chef Hirabayashi has been the Executive Chef at The Kahala Hotel & Resort on O’ahu since April 1999.

Chef Hirabayashi joined The Kahala’s culinary team in March 1998 as the Executive Sous Chef for Hoku’s, the hotel’s signature fine dining restaurant. He was instrumental in defining Hoku’s award-winning culinary style and philosophy of fresh, farm-to-table cuisine. He encourages and embraces sustainable food practices at the hotel through a myriad of programs, from herb gardens on property to providing food waste to local pig farmers.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Chef Hirabayashi won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. From there he worked in some of the great kitchens around the world, including stints at the infamous Raffles Hotel in Singapore, Ritz-Carlton Hotels at Mauna Lani and Laguna Niguel, and at the Halekulani on Waikiki Beach. Since joining The Kahala, he has spent more than a decade perfecting his craft and balancing the culinary operations of the legendary resort’s four restaurants, banquet services, and 24-hour in-room dining. Since his promotion to Executive Chef, The Kahala’s restaurants have been recognized repeatedly for excellence by local publications as well as national and international travel and culinary organizations.

Earlier this year, Chef Hirabayashi was named Manager of the Year at the Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards sponsored by the AHLA Hawaii Chapter, the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. He also recently spearheaded efforts to host a James Beard Foundation fundraising dinner at the hotel. This prestigious event brought national attention about Hawaii’s food products and creative food preparations to America’s broader culinary community and showcased Hawaii’s own homegrown chefs in a collaborative venture. The effort also resulted in the creation of a $5,000 James Beard Foundation Scholarship in honor of The Kahala for a culinary student enrolled at Kapiolani Community College. This scholarship award will be presented in August 2013.

Chef Hirabayashi has enthusiastically served the community as culinary mentor and educator inviting students to participate in internships, conducting cooking demonstrations and seminars at the hotel, and making special appearances on television and radio shows. He is constantly creating and experimenting with the latest food trends and works tirelessly at his craft. His gourmet menus for Hoku’s Chef’s Grand Table Experiences are lauded by the community. He also works closely with local food purveyors and farmers to utilize regional foods and ingredients wherever possible in The Kahala’s restaurants and catering events.
“We are especially proud of Wayne’s dedication to his culinary craft and his willingness to share his hard-earned expertise with the next generation of great American chefs from Hawaii,” says The Kahala’s Acting General Manager and Landmark Hotels Group President Shawn Sweeney. “The culinary excellence at The Kahala is the heart and soul of our resort’s guest experience.”


– About The Kahala –

With 338 guestrooms, The Kahala Hotel & Resort is an oceanfront destination resort known for its impeccable service and hospitality. Just minutes from Waikiki, yet offering the peace and serenity of a neighbor island experience, The Kahala has been Honolulu's social address for weddings and gatherings since its opening in 1964. Captains of industry and celebrity guests continue to call The Kahala their home- away-from-home in Hawai'i. Travel + Leisure ranks The Kahala among the Top 6 Hawaii resorts and among the World’s Best 100 Hotels in its 2012 World’s Best Awards. They also named The Kahala as one of the Top Family Hotels in the United States and the Number One Family Hotel in Hawaii. US News & World Report named The Kahala Best Oahu Hotels (Top 3) in 2011 and 2012. Successful Meetings gave the hotel its Pinnacle Award from 2010 through 2013. The Forbes Travel Guide has given the resort and Spa Four-Star Awards in 2012 and 2013. Open Table named Plumeria Beach House in their Top 100 Restaurants for Brunch and Top 100 for Outdoor Dining in 2012 and 2013. gave The Kahala a 2012 Traveler’s Choice Award for Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the United States. The Kahala is a 2012 Fodor’s Choice Award winner.

For more information, please contact The Kahala Hotel & Resort at (808) 739-8888 or toll-free at (800) 367-2525; or visit their website at


Dean Fujitani
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
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