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The Gourmet Review

The Four Season’s “Farm To Table” nine course tasting meal was over the top. What an evening! Instead of dining  oceanside at  the fabulous Pahu i’a restaurant, Executive Chef James “Jim” Babian surprised with a two person chef’s table “Inside the Kitchen.”

Chef Jim is serious about using local products. Check out the menu below. It was inspired by Chef’s visit to the farmer’s market earlier in the day and supplemented with a few calls to local vendors for delivery that afternoon. Over 160 local ingredients are utilized on the menus at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. The menu was extravagant. Check it out!

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Kumumoto Oyster Duo

Foie gras-teri & Kalamansi, shiso, olive oil, black salt

Henriot, Brut Rosé

The oysters are from the Natural Energy Lab. Chef wanted a stark contrast, so

the  first oyster was topped with a small piece of seared Foie Gras and teriyaki

ginger jus. The second was tart, with locally raised Kalamansi lime, fresh

micro shiso and a touch of black lava salt. 

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Tea Smoked Kona Shrimp

Uni cream

Domaine Barat Chablis 2009

 The shrimp were harvested that morning. Chef Jim and Shaun lighty smoked them in a

wok with tea leaves, Maui brown sugar and star anise, gave them a quick sear

and finished them with an ala minute uni sake cream emulsion. They also

fried the heads to a nice crispy texture and served them with a simple lemon wedge.

Fresh fried shrimp heads .   .   . “yummy.”   – Chef Jim

(Ahhhh, Chef, this is an acquired taste for most of us.)

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Spicy Ahi “Thai Style Crudo

Mizuna, Kamuela cucumber, radish, micro basil

Selbach-Oster Riesling 2009

The #1 Ahi that came in that day from the Honolulu auction block was lightly 

chilies and then layer over Waimea raised Mizuna, watermelon radish, Kamuela

cucumbers and basil from the hotel garden.

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Roasted Waimea Beets and Pineapple

Goat feta, pineapple balsamic reduction

Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2009   

Chef’s preference is to eat fruit separately or as dessert, rather than mixed into salads.

“I guess I’m a purist when it comes to flavor and parings  and find one usually

overpowers the other. In this case, I went on a limb and asked Chef Shaun what

he thought about paring roasted pineapple (it mellows the tartness) with local beets and

pulls them together with Puna goat cheese.  We tried it separately.

 It was OK, but combining it was a pleasant surprise and an example of flavors

that really complimented each other and created its

own unique flavor when eaten together.”  – Chef Jim

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Local Hirame

Meyer lemon sake chives, Cappellini tobiko cream

Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2009

The farm raised Hirame from the Kona coast was harvested that day and delivered

to the hotel. Reminiscent of Petrale sole, Chef made an“Asian” inspired Franchise style

dish with a light egg wash and sautéed.Then deglazed with Sake in place of wine,

along with fresh ginger, chives, Meyer lemon, chicken stock and a bit of butter

at the end. playing with textures, this was served with Angel hair pasta, which was

“very unique on your tongue – like making out!”.

The fish was finished with tobiko that pops like mini explosions in your mouth.

Chef Jim

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Pan Roasted Big Island Veal T-Bone

Ponzu glaze, Kekela swiss chard, fiddleheads, ginger butter

Fiddleheads Pinot Noir 2007 

The pan roasted Island raised Veal T-bone came from Kulana foods. A young,

 all natural veal, the loin is on the small end, so Chef decided to cut into mini T-bones. 

All natural free range veal is very different from milk fed veal that is raised indoors. 

The meat is darker, with much more flavor and a bit richer texture. We pan roasted it

slowly, basting itwith a light ponzu-veal demi, served with beautiful rainbow

chard from our friend Paul Johnston’s Kekela farms and Fiddlehead ferns

from Hilo side. We also thought this would be a fun

 pairing with one of our favorite wines, Fiddle head Pinto Noir. – Chef Jim

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Truffle basted Kahua Ranch dry aged Beef Tenderloin

Kona deep sea salt, melted Waimea leeks, roasted Hamakua mushrooms

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon  2008

Next was the truffle basted Kahua ranch dry aged Beef Tenderloin: We had some

truffles left over from Christmas that we bottled up in Cognac for a later use.

We get our beef from Kahua Ranch and it is processed and dry aged at Kulana foods

in Hilo. Once you age the grass fed beef, it becomes tender and the gaminess associated

with grass fed almost totally goes away. This was served with local

leeks from Kekela and our favorite Hamakua mushrooms

from the “fungal jungle.”  – Chef Jim

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Rambutan and Pauilo vanilla crème Brule 

Far Niente “Dolce”

The first dessert was a simple Rambutan Creme Brûlée served in the rambutan skins.

The skins were lit on fire as the  sugar was caramelizing in front of us.  – Chef Jim

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La Vee” cake

Waialua Chocolate molten cake, Green Geko farm Vee (Guava) Sauce

Our innovative pasty chef, Linda Rodriquez, was working on her Valentines

dessert idea. This was a red sugar, hand blown “Glass Bulb” filled with

fresh edible flowers and herbs. The dessert was a La “Vee” cake.

La vee is a seasonal guava type fruit that was juiced and reduced to make the sauce.

So the warm Wailua (Honolulu chocolate) lava cake was topped with the

red bulb and surrounded with the La vee sauce.  The bulb was cracked tableside

and the flowers/herbs fell into the center of the cake for some herbaceous 

overtones to the chocolate.  – Chef Jim

My thanks to Chef Jim and his Sous Chef, Shaun, for a fabulous evening spotlighting local foods, along with Doug, who poured perfectly matched champagne and wines with each course and, of course Tic, who presented everything beautifully. A grand evening was had by all “Inside the Kitchen.”



The first photo of Chef Jim on this post was taken after he ate the entire Kona smoked shrimp. By that I mean the head as well. He encouraged us to do the same, however we decided to leave that for another evening. You can see the look of satisfaction on his face, can’t you?


– The Gourmet Review



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