ACCLAIMED CHEFS FIND MAUI HOME AT HOTEL WAILEA
WAILEA, MAUI (October 26, 2017) – Two of Hawaii’s most celebrated chefs, Anthony Rush and Chris Kajioka, have chosen Hotel Wailea as the home of their next breakout restaurant named Ondine through a collaboration with hotel owner Jonathan McManus. Chefs Rush and Kajioka opened Senia, their first Honolulu restaurant in December 2016 to international acclaim, garnering James Beard Award nominations and the title “Hawaii’s hottest new restaurant” from Food & Wine Magazine.
Ondine, the new restaurant concept, will spotlight on three distinct restaurant features: a private yet interactive chef’s kitchen with a tasting counter for small groups of six to 20 people; a garden terrace with a view overlooking the kitchen; and a treehouse private dining experience for intimate groups of eight.
“To launch at Hotel Wailea, Maui, Hawaii’s only Relais & Châteaux property, continues the momentum of what we’ve accomplished in Honolulu,” said Kajioka. Chefs Kajioka and Rush have been honored to be featured chefs at the James Beard House in New York City November 9, 2017 to launch the new restaurant, Ondine at Hotel Wailea.
Rush and Kajioka described this as the next step in their collaboration with principal investor at Senia, Jonathan McManus, also an owner of Hotel Wailea which was named Best Hotel on Maui by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2017 and recently, #1 Hotel in Hawaii in the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
“Chefs Anthony and Chris are rare culinary talent with personal drive to match,” said McManus. “Their extensive background cooking in Relais & Châteaux Chef Thomas Keller’s kitchens will break new ground for Maui-beach-casual tasting dishes. This will be a very exciting culinary direction for Maui.”
Along with Hotel Wailea’s Maui-born chef de cuisine Zach Sato, executive chefs Chris and Anthony will be searching for new culinary talent for the project, drawing from the island of Maui and kitchens across the country. Their new menu will focus on Maui regional ingredients with exclusive farming relationships to their kitchen.
“This exciting collaboration is part of Hotel Wailea’s ongoing strategy to join forces with renowned chefs who embody Relais & Châteaux’s commitment to culinary excellence and unwavering attention to detail, delivered in a comfortable dining setting overlooking three Hawaiian Islands,” added McManus.
Hotel Wailea’s existing restaurant will undergo a complete redesign spring 2018 to give way to the new Ondine, projected to open fall 2018.
Originally from Devon in southwest England, Anthony’s passion for cooking started in primary school when he took a home economics class and realized that cooking brought happiness not only to himself, but to those around him as well. While he was still in school, Anthony began his training at The Horn of Plenty, one of the great country houses of rural Britain. By sixteen, he was working in their kitchen full time. When he was only twenty, Rush joined David Everitt-Matthias at Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham, England. It was just the two of them in the kitchen when the restaurant was awarded its second Michelin star. In 2002, a three-day stagiaire placement at the iconic The French Laundry in California’s Yountville led to a permanent position in Thomas Keller’s lauded restaurant.
Rush was part of The French Laundry team when the restaurant was ranked at the top of San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and he was chosen to help open Thomas Keller’s second landmark restaurant, Per Se, in New York City. In 2004, when a fire temporarily closed Per Se, Anthony returned to England and joined another three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal’s epicenter of modern cooking that was ranked number two in the World’s 50 Best list that year. Returning to Per Se a year later, Anthony insisted on mastering all the stations in the kitchen before being promoted to Sous Chef. Returning to the UK in 2008, Anthony first worked privately and then turned his hand to casual dining. As the European Culinary Director for a Chicago-based hospitality group, he successfully launched multiple casual venues, both restaurants and private members clubs. Returning to fine dining, he joined Simon Rogan’s team as Head Chef at Fera at Claridge’s. The culinary style Rush has developed is simply to preserve the inherent beauty of quality ingredients, incorporating modern methods with his predominantly classic technique.
In December 2016, Rush joined chef Chris Kajioka to open Senia restaurant in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Senia is a true collaboration between the chefs, with a cuisine that showcases their mutual culinary pedigree, as well and explores and celebrates Hawaii’s abundance of ingredients. In February 2017, Senia was named a 2017 James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant semifinalist.
Chris Kajioka is one of Honolulu’s most well-known and beloved chefs. Since childhood, he has never wanted to be anything other than a chef, and he has proven that he knows no bounds in perfecting his craft. Chris, a Honolulu native, received a degree in the culinary arts from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. After graduation, he went on to work at Ron Siegel’s Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco and then Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York. Making his way west yet again, Kajioka worked his way up to Sous Chef at Aziza in San Francisco and then continued on to Blaine Wetzel’s Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington.
Returning to his native Hawaii in 2012, he became the Executive Chef at Vintage Cave. Kajioka’s classical culinary training combined with his affinity for his own Japanese heritage results in his own unique style: inventive dishes incorporating techniques from contemporary French cuisine with a distinctly Japanese sensibility. At Vintage Cave, Chef Kajioka earned nominations for the James Beard Rising Star Award and Food and Wine Magazine’s People’s Best New Chef, as well as being awarded a place in the “Top Ten Dishes of 2013” from Food & Wine Magazine. Closer to home, Chris has become a central figure in the Honolulu food community and remains a staunch supporter of local farms, artisans, and time-honored small businesses.
In 2015, Kajioka joined forces with British chef Anthony Rush, and began work on their restaurant, Senia, which opened December 2016 in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Senia is a true collaboration between the chefs, with a cuisine that showcases their mutual culinary pedigree, as well and explores and celebrates Hawaii’s abundance of ingredients. In February 2017, Senia was named a James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant semifinalist.