Westin Maui appoints Yoshikazu Kizu as executive chef
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kāʻanapali announced the appointment of Yoshikazu Kizu as executive chef, and April Matsumoto as executive sous chef at the resort. In addition, Neleah Sarmiento has been appointed the resort’s new executive director of food & beverage.
Yoshikazu Kizu will oversee all culinary operations of the resort’s signature restaurants including menu development and culinary team management of Hale Mo‘olelo, Mahele Market & Eatery, Hale ‘Ā, and more. With more than 20 years of experience, Kizu will elevate the dining experience for Westin Maui guests, by reimagining menus with a focus on incorporating techniques and flavors from Japan.
Kizu previously worked at The Ritz-Carlton Okinawa in Japan as executive sous chef. During his time there, he oversaw seven dining outlets, including Kise Teppanyaki, Chura-Nuhji Italian restaurant, Gusuku, and more. His leadership led to increased food quality and Associate Engagement Scores. Prior to this, Kizu served as executive pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Maui for five years.
Kizu was educated at Japan Culinary School and holds a culinary hygiene master’s degree. He has also won 24 awards throughout his career, including the coveted Annual Five Star Leader Award for 2022.
April Matsumoto has been appointed executive sous chef. In this role she will support day-to-day operations of the kitchen staff across the resort’s restaurants including managing food preparation and inventory, and supporting executive chef Kizu with menu development.
Prior to joining the Westin Maui, she served as a specialty chef at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui. Prior to her role on Maui, Matsumoto served as senior chef de partie at the London Marriot Hotel.
Matsumoto completed the American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program at Ivy Tech State College as a certified culinarian. She was also certified as an executive chef at the American Culinary Federation in New York. Matsumoto was awarded the 5-Star Employee award at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in 2009.
As the resort’s newly appointed executive director of food & beverage, Neleah Sarmiento will oversee all of Westin Maui’s dining operations including onsite restaurants, bars, and groups and catering. With more than 26 years of experience, Sarmiento will work to ensure profitability with a focus on increasing guest satisfaction.
Prior to this role Sarmiento was the resort’s director of housekeeping since 2010. In that role she oversaw a staff of more than 170 and managed all hiring, training, and development. She has held numerous other hospitality leadership positions including property operations project manager and executive steward at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
In 2019, Sarmiento participated in the Marriott Emerging Leader Program and in the past was named Manager of the Year and Leader of The Year, among other accolades.
“We’re grateful to have Neleah, Yoshikazu and April in these key roles within our F&B department,” said Tim Anderson, director of marketing at Westin Maui. “We’re confident that their leadership will allow our culinary teams to thrive, and their diverse backgrounds and creativity will lead to even more spectacular dining experiences for our guests.”