Kohala Coast, HAWAII- Chef Clayton Arakawa's passion for showcasing local ingredients in bold and innovative ways is evident in each dish he prepares. Born and raised in Hawaii, his personal take on contemporary Hawaii cuisine draws from the Islands' diverse multicultural population, while emphasizing the distinct flavors that are truly unique to Hawaii.
Chef Arakawa attended St. Louis High School in Honolulu before moving to Northern Arizona University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science. It was during this time that Arakawa's passion and curiosity for food developed, and which later drove him to attend the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland.
In Chef Arakawa's 16 years of hospitality experience he has held positions such as Head Chef for the 18,000 acre luxury Crazy Mountain Ranch in Montana, Executive Chef for the Grand Union Hotel , and at the Tree Room Restaurant at Sundance Resort.
Chef Arakawa returned to Hawaii in 2007 where he was the Banquet Chef at the Grand Wailea Resort on Maui. He was responsible for managing events of up to 2000 people, from weddings to high-profile corporate functions, each with personalized menus and often incorporating many different cuisines. Chef Arakawa was also responsible for overseeing multiple dining outlets at the resort including the Bistro Molokini and the private cabana dining experience.
The opportunity to come to Mauna Lani Bay and work with the best and freshest locally grown ingredients is what Chef Arakawa says is one of the best things about returning home to Hawaii. He has held the position of Executive Chef at Mauna Lani since early 2012. He acknowledges great traditions such as roasting Kalua Pig and that being in the center of the Pacific Ocean, you get the freshest fish. Working closely with the farmers and ranchers of Hawaii Island is at the forefront of his culinary creations.
Chef Arakawa's cooking style is simple and unique, creating a harmonious balance of textures and flavors on the plate. In addition to overseeing the entire culinary operations at Mauna Lani Bay, including the famous CanoeHouse restaurant and the popular Bay Terrace restaurant, Chef Arakawa leads signature culinary events for the resort, including the annual Celebrity Chef Tour weekend benefiting the James Beard Foundation each January.
When he's not thinking up new dishes, Chef Arakawa enjoys spending time with his family taking them fishing and exploring the natural beauty of Hawaii Island.
For more information about Chef Arakawa and his menus visit www.maunalani.com