Culture & Cuisine at KBH’s Tiki TerraceMarch 11, 2016, 9:47 AM HST · Updated March 11, 9:47 AM Kiaora Bohlool · 0 Comments
280 people built a four-man, single-hull canoe in four months. They all had one thing in common: Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel, affectionately known as KBH, their place of work. Named Ka’ililā’au, the canoe took to the ocean along Kā‘anapali Beach in 2010.
“From chopping the tree down and really putting it all together, everybody had a hand in it,” says Food and Beverage Director Thomas Muromoto, who was in that canoe the first time it hit the water. “Traveling at that high speed was awesome, it was really, really unreal.”
On land, Muromoto also helps navigate the kitchen crew at Tiki Terrace, the main restaurant at KBH, with help from “two excellent, great chefs that are really talented.”
The menu features local produce and island-inspired flavors, with award-winning favorites like the Seafood Huki Hukilau, an impressive trio of lobster, shrimp and fresh fish in a porcini mushroom sauce.
“I use a lot of Hawaiian influence,” explains Muromoto, “flavors I’ve used my whole life, being born and raised here.”
Tiki Terrace is also known for an elaborate dish called the “Hawaiian Diet,” which starts with a fresh papaya topped with fresh pohole fern, sweet Maui onions and tomatoes in a lime-soy vinaigrette.
The main course includes steamed chicken or fish laulau seasoned with ginger, cilantro and onions, served with purple sweet potato, local poi, grilled banana and pineapple.
“The Hawaiian diet models around the old Hawaiians and how they were so strong,” he explains. “We tried to build a Hawaiian diet around it that is very healthy for them.”
There are special coloring menus for keiki, and children age five and younger eat free with a paying adult.
Tiki Terrace also has one of the top-rated brunches on the island, every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with traditional breakfast fare, seafood, meats, salads, desserts, champagne and more.
Around sunset, the restaurant has a free hula show and Hawaiian music every Tuesday through Sunday. Monday features a lu‘au dinner.
KBH has been officially recognized as Hawai‘i ’s Most Hawaiian Hotel, and offers cultural classes in hula, ‘ukulele and Hawaiian language for guests.
As for employees, the canoe-building is just one of many cultural activities that unite them, and honor Hawaiian values like laulima (many hands working together), pa‘ahana (diligence to get the work done) and po‘okela (excellence in doing their best).
Muromoto says employees understand what it means to “give from the heart” and share the Aloha spirit in genuine way, with a vibe that’s relaxed, not rushed.
“We’re proud of constantly trying to work and build the place; we have dynamite people here,” he explains. “Mike White, who’s the general manager here, he gives us that opportunity to really spread our wings and do as much as we can to take care of the guests and treat it like you’re at home away from home.”
Muromoto says even after 17 years at KBH, he’s “never bored.” Even if he’s not manning a brand-new canoe on the ocean every day on the job!
“Since I’ve started here, I’ve never lost the energy,” he smiles. “I’m always involved in the cooking, the operations, and to this day, I still feel I’m new.”