The dog days of winter have settled in and summer seems far away. While many dream of sun soaked beaches and lazy days by the pool, it’s easy to forget that some parts of the world are balmy all year long. Taka Sakaeda, chef partner and owner of renowned restaurant Nami Nori knows the feeling well. A fateful trip to the Hawaiian resort of Mauna Lani put winter into perspective for the New York resident.
“We immediately fell in love with Mauna Lani upon our first visit, which led to this exciting partnership.” Sakaeda adds. “We are always driven by our passion to surprise and delight our guests through ‘omotenashi’ or the Japanese tradition of genuine, heartfelt hospitality. We felt that same warmth and sincere reception at Mauna Lani. We are so excited to return and introduce our Temaki to the Island.”
The partnership with Nami Nori was a no-brainer for partners Taka Sakaeda, Jihan Lee and Lisa Limb. Their West Village and Williamsburg, Brooklyn locations are known for Temaki, a hand formed sushi roll with a signature twist. Nami Nori, which is the Japanese translation for “ride the wave,” use food to showcase their attention to bounty, ease and quality ingredients.
Mauna Lani sits on the sun-drenched Kohala Coast near Kona and is surrounded by lush greenery, lava plains and tranquil beaches. The name, Mauna Lani means “mountain reaching heaven” and denotes the nature of the Auberge Resort Collections charm. So, how does the heavenly mountain celebrate the new year? With a celebration of all things food by partnering with the NY-based Japanese restaurant, Nami Nori. A “three-part Temaki pop-up culinary experience” will debut from February 11th to 24th.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Nami Nori team to our shores to bring a unique Temaki experience that reflects Mauna Lani to our guests,” shares Sanjiv Hulugalle, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection. “We aim to continue a legacy of culinary excellence and unique experiences here at Mauna Lani, and this partnership with Nami Nori celebrates our commitment to culturally-driven and one-of-a-kind culinary experiences.”
Nami Nori’s partners connected while working for the three-star Michelin sushi chef, Masa Takayama and carry those traditions to the epic pop up. The three-course seated Temaki dinner is also part immersive experience, taking place in Mauna Lani’s Francis H. I’i Brown Suite. Using locally sourced fish and vegetables the menu will reflect all that Mauna Lani has to offer including touches from the onsite restaurant, CanoeHouse, helmed by Executive Chef Matt Raso.
So what exactly is involved with this immersive Island experience?
“The Temaki dinner experience will commence in the suite’s bar for drinks and appetizers, before leading guests to the suite’s terrace where the specially tailored menu of locally sourced ingredients – including Kona Kampachi, shellfish and other Hawaiian favorites – will await them at the Temaki Counter before concluding the evening in the lounge area for dessert and tea service.”
While the formal Nami Nori Temaki dinner is not to be missed, there is another option to enjoy. A Temaki cooking class with Nami Nori’s own Chef Partner, Taka Sakaeda have already been designated for a few of those evenings. The sushi specialist has over 15 years of experience with Japanese cuisine and will guide guests through the exacting and delicious techniques he has perfected.
A five-piece take away Temaki set will also be available at Mauna Lani’s Surf Shack. For a hotel known as one of the Top 15 Beach Resorts in the U.S., Mauna Lani is making the new year delicious.