By Anni Caporuscio

Chef Noelani Lei Planas, born and raised on Kaua‘i, recently took the leadership position at Kaua‘i Grill.

Chef Noelani Lei Planas, born and raised on Kaua‘i, recently took the leadership position at Kaua‘i Grill.

What I love about dining at St. Regis hotels is learning how flawlessly they marry long-standing traditions present in every St. Regis hotel with local character reflecting the people and places they serve.

For instance, Kaua‘i Grill, St. Regis Princeville Resort’s signature restaurant, is a Jean-Georges Vongerichten-inspired restaurant. In fact, almost all St. Regis hotels feature a restaurant inspired by the French celebrity chef.

But our St. Regis has Noelani Lei Planas as its managing chef — and we are lucky for it. Born and raised on Kaua‘i, she recently took the leadership position at Kaua‘i Grill, and has a unique connection to the island’s offerings for flavors.

Vongerichten is a master chef who blends traditional French cuisine with Asian flavors. Heavy sauces typically endemic to French food become vegetable broths and spicy oils. It’s full flavored cultural chemistry, and a painter’s pallet for food.

With Vongerichten’s menu as a starting point, Planas crafted a new menu at Kaua‘i Grill, adding her own flair.

Rice Cracker Crusted Ahi Tuna with a citrus aioli green onion sauce. Like everything at the St. Regis, attention to detail is admirable, even down to the seven grains of sea salt on each delicate piece of seared fish.

Rice Cracker Crusted Ahi Tuna with a citrus aioli green onion sauce. Like everything at the St. Regis, attention to detail is admirable, even down to the seven grains of sea salt on each delicate piece of seared fish.

And it’s exceptionally delicious. Noelani personally designed a five-course menu for us, and sommelier William Fily complemented each course with a spot-on wine pairing.

Truly dedicated to her craft as a chef and exhibiting her passion for food in all her endeavors, Planas’ story is nothing short of extraordinary.

Now a highly accomplished chef, she