The Modern Honolulu Presents Kakele: An Exclusive Culinary Experience The Modern Honolulu Presents Kakele: An Exclusive Culinary Experience

May 01, 2016

Exclusive Farm-to-Table Dining Experience: Limited Space Available!

ARTICLE TAGS: lifestyle destination events

THE MODERN HONOLULU Presents Kakele with Chef Aaron Sanchez on May 25, 27 and 28

Join Food Network celebrity Chef Aarón Sanchez (“Chopped”), Chef John Mooney and Chef Noel Gregg for an exclusive culinary experience, Kakele, held at a private home in Waialua, Hawaii. Participants will spend the evening with the chefs at the scenic North Shore location, selecting locally-sourced ingredients from the garden, spending time with the chefs as they prepare the fresh farm-to-table meal and then enjoying a private dinner. The evening will also include non-alcoholic beverages as well as chefs' selections of red and white wines, champagne and signature cocktails chosen to complement the mood and the food. The intimate dining experience is offered on May 25, May 27 and May 28, 2016.

You’re invited to join the inaugural Kakele event, but space is limited. The exclusive Kakele experience package is $ 400 per person, $ 700 per couple, and includes one ticket to the culinary event as well as transportation to and from the event from THE MODERN HONOLULU. Accommodations start at $ 217 per night and to complete the special Kalele package, a minimum one-night stay in THE MODERN HONOLULU is required.


Limited tickets are available to the public for the Kakele dining experience. If you are not a guest of the hotel but would like to experience this unique culinary event, tickets are $ 500 per person, $ 800 per couple. To purchase Kakele-only tickets, or for more information, please contact THE MODERN HONOLULU Concierge at (808) 943-5858 or email

KAKELE (The Inspiration)

Kakele Hawaii is nestled in the green mountains of Hawaii’s true gathering place on the island of Oahu. The seven-acre, certified organic farm estate sits in the town of Waialua, just above the world famous surfing town of Haleiwa, on Oahu’s North Shore. The views from the house are of the ocean, the expanse of the farm, and Mt. Ka’ala, which is Oahu’s highest peak. The centerpiece of Kakele is the “culinary ahu” the “cooking altar” which is a unique blend of ancient Pacific design and the input of some of the best mainland chefs. A culinary playground, Oahu’s legendary North Shore has been the premier destination for everyone, from professional surfers to presidents and royalty. The spectacular waves, towering green mountains and amazing climate make for the perfect environment to bring together world travelers. From Asia to Europe, our chefs meet in paradise to create new stories and experience the real Hawaii at Kakele.

The certified organic orchard grows an array of crops, including breadfruit, avocado, mango, lilikoi (passion fruit), lychee, figs, coffee, star fruit, limes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papaya and dragon fruit.

The orchard also has its own bee hives & distinct honey used in the Kakele kitchen. Award winning sustainability Chef Mooney will be adding hydroponic vegetables and herbs as well. He also plans to capture and filter rain water for use on site and switch power to 100% solar/battery. Both the dining table and culinary ahu were made from a massive fallen eucalyptus tree reclaimed from Waimea Valley by big wave surfer/artist Ben Wilkinson. Kakele's custom grills, chefs' knives and tools are all hand crafted by local blacksmith and sword maker Christopher Greywolf.

Hawaii native, Verena Mei, conceived of Kakele while rally training in the snowy White Mountains of New Hampshire two years ago and was missing sunny Oahu. While Verena was hosting a motorsports travel adventure for a NY based agency she was introduced to sustainability Chef John Mooney at his NY restaurant Bell, Book & Candle. Verena shared her dream for Kakele with the well-connected Chef Mooney, who was so impressed that he flew to Hawaii the very next week to begin the search for the perfect location. Chef John Mooney and Iron Chef Jose Garces -- two aspiring chefs from Chicago with different ethnic backgrounds and a thirst for adventure -- left home in search of culinary enlightenment, not realizing it will be a life long journey. They’ve traveled the world and forged relationships with other like-minded chefs, forming an arsenal of culinary super powers through equipment, technique, culture, history, passion and camaraderie. John and Jose decided to collaborate on Kakele: a collection of knowledge and equipment from every corner of the globe. Oahu is the ultimate global centerpiece where chefs gather from East and West, with ideal conditions for ingredients and year-round outdoor cooking. Surrounded by hand-cultivated ingredients from old and new methods, they’ve set out to create the most intimate food experience in the seclusion of their Culinary Holy Land on Oahu’s fabled North Shore. Oahu, known as “The Gathering Place” in Hawaiian folklore, has always had a spiritual connection between kings, food and chefs. John and Jose are passionate in their quest to honor the history of Hawaii. It’s that spirit of Hawaii and Oahu, and the kitchen that John and Jose have built for all chefs to share, which will create the magic of Kakele.


With the lush landscape and the abundance of marine life of the Pacific Ocean, Oahu has long inspired the world’s best chefs to create unique dishes using the freshest ingredients. THE MODERN HONOLULU is honored to offer this unique opportunity to meet, mingle and learn from both renowned and emerging culinary talent that embodies the spirit of Hawaii. Next.


Aarón Sánchez is chef/partner of Johnny Sánchez, with locations in Baltimore and New Orleans. He is the co-star of Food Network’s hit series, "Chopped," and the host of Cooking Channel’s Emmy-nominated "Taco Trip." He is also the host of two Spanish-language TV series on FOX Life, "3 Minutos con Aarón" and "Motochefs." Aarón’s passion, commitment and skills have placed him among the world’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.

Celebrated by critics and contemporaries alike, Aarón has won a James Beard Award for Television Studio Program and has appeared at the White House as a guest chef. He has also starred on multiple Food Network shows including: "Guilty Pleasures," "Best.Ever," "Heat Seekers," "Chefs vs. City," "Best Thing I Ever Ate" and "Next Iron Chef." In addition to being a chef, restaurateur, television personality and spokesperson, Aarón has written two books. His first, La Comida del Barrio, was published in May 2003 and his second book, Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours, was released in October 2011. Aarón has also designed a line of cookware products in collaboration with IMUSA and is a spokesperson for their Global Kitchen line. Aarón works with many charitable organizations. He is a Chef Ambassador for Why Hunger and Food Bank NYC, both leaders in the movement to end hunger and poverty. He is also a Chef Mentor for Chefs Move!, a Scholarship Program who’s mission is to diversify kitchen leadership by providing minority applicants the opportunity to train up and become leaders in restaurant kitchens and in their communities. Aarón’s creativity extends beyond the kitchen. He is a partner at world famous shop Daredevil Tattoo in NYC, and home to the country’s premiere tattoo museum. Aarón is an avid music lover; he enjoys cooking to the sounds of Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Lenny Kravitz, and The Cure.


New Jersey born Chef Noel Gregg has worked in the highest levels of the New York City food scene since 1995. Chef Gregg has worked with restaurant legend and founder of Nobu, Drew Nieporent, most notably on Drew's collaboration with Academy Award winning actor Robert De Niro on the Tribeca Grill. Noel currently resides on Maui, Hawaii.


Named one of the top chefs helping to revolutionize sustainable food, New York Chef/Owner John Mooney’s professional life has been a culinary journey through all corners of the world, from the spiced hazes of India to the rolling hills of Ireland and the streets of New York. Bell Book & Candle in New York’s West Village and Bidwell in Washington DC are Mooney’s latest ventures—and adventures—fusing the chef’s years of conventional cooking with a more recent and driving inspiration: sustainability. In 2004, James Beard named him one of the “Best Hotel Chefs” in the country. That same year, Mooney was appointed corporate consulting Chef of India’s Taj Hotel group, opening the country’s first organic restaurant, PURE by Michel Nischan, and re-opening New Delhi’s premier fine-dining restaurant, Orient Express. 2006 took Mooney to Dublin, Ireland, where he was appointed Executive Chef at The Shelbourne Hotel. Two years later, he returned to the United States to open Highland Manor in Apopka, Florida, with partner Mick O’Sullivan. At Highland Manor, Mooney began the hydroponic gardening practices that define the ultra-seasonal menu of Bell Book & Candle, showcasing both the Chef’s culinary journey and his commitment to responsibly sourced cuisine.

VERENA MEI (Co-founder)

Originally from Pearl City, Hawaii, Verena is a professional race car driver and motorsports ambassador. She developed a passion for racing while modeling and attending stunt driving school, and then a high-performance driving school. During that time, she discovered adrenaline behind the wheel while sliding sideways in a 300 horsepower Roush Mustang. It was then that she decided to pursue a full-time career as a professional race car driver. Throughout her career, Verena has competed in her 485 horsepower twin-turbo Nissan in Formula Drift and Redline Time Attack, and raced with Ford in the Rally America series. She has accomplished many firsts for women in racing, becoming a pioneer for women in motorsports. Verena has also hosted and starred in television shows, appeared in commercials and appeared in the blockbuster movies “Rush Hour 2” and “Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift.” Verena’s love for all things culinary was passed down through four generations in Hawaii. Her great-grandfather was a butcher at Oahu Market, and Wong Ho Lane near the Neal Blaisdell Center was named after him. Verena’s grandfather owned a coffee shop in Honolulu and later opened Sai Wun Yuen Noodle Factory in Chinatown, which was Oahu’s first and oldest noodle factory that was famous for its fresh noodles traditionally made using bamboo poles to flatten the dough. They were a supplier to the well-known Chinatown restaurants, and even back then, tourists from all over the world stopped by the factory to see this traditional technique. Verena grew up with her father’s love of cooking and would often help him in the kitchen while experimenting with different flavors of Hawaii, noting “I was always the one he’d ask to taste whatever was on the stove and would offer suggestions on how to make it tastier." Verena continued tasting her way through her many travels and while spending time in Manhattan.


Since opening his first restaurant in 2005, Chef Jose Garces has emerged as one of the nation’s leading chefs and restaurateurs. Today, he is the owner and operator of more than a dozen restaurants across the country, a thriving event planning division, and a 40-acre organic farm. He is a 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” award and one of only a few chefs in America to hold the coveted title of Food Network’s Iron Chef. Chef Garces is the author of two cookbooks, The Latin Road Home (Lake Isle Press, October 2012), a culinary and cultural tour of Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Cuba and Peru; and his stunning first cookbook, Latin Evolution (Lake Isle Press, Fall 2008). Chef Garces’ eponymous Garces Group operates in multiple cities: Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Scottsdale, AZ; Palm Springs, CA; Washington, D.C.; and Moorestown, NJ. His award-winning concepts range from authentic Andalusian tapas and modern Mexican street food to European bistro fare and artisanal American food and drink, including Amada, Buena Onda, Distrito, El Jefe, Garces Trading Company, JG Domestic, Rosa Blanca, Rural Society, The Olde Bar, Tinto, Village Whiskey, Volvér, and in partnership with Sage Hospitality, Mercat a la Planxa, as well as Distrito Taco Truck and a full service event division, Garces Events. In addition, Chef Garces is the owner of Luna Farm in Bucks County, PA, where he and his team grow produce used throughout his East Coast restaurants.

Remember, this exclusive offer has limited space available for each night of the culinary experience on May 25, 27 and 28, 2016. To reserve your place at the table, book your Kakele Package here.

Photograph of Chef John Mooney courtesy of Under a Bushel Photography.