Wesley Holder, Executive Sous Chef, Westin Ka`anapali Ocean Resort Villas

WesleyExecutive Sous Chef Wes Holder continues to bring fame and accolades to the resort’s signature restaurant Pulehu, an Italian Grill with his culinary distinction and expertise in incorporating classic Italian cuisine with a local sustainability twist. Holder explains, “If you think about the history of Italy and its foods, it was the original melting pot of cultures. The Roman expansion brought influences from Africa, the Middle East and beyond. Here, I’m embracing new thoughts and flavors into traditional dishes.”

Holder supports the younger farmers in West Maui who are applying sustainable farming practices. He uses their produce almost exclusively – from heirloom tomatoes in vibrant colors to crisp micro-greens, fish and lobsters from Maui waters. He also makes gnocchi with island sweet potatoes, a new dish that won top honors at the 2012 Ka‘anapali Fresh food and wine event.

You’ll find Pulehu’s menu replete with choices from antipasti, including Italian deli meats, to zuppa made with roasted tomatoes, woodfired thin crust pizzas with island grown toppings, and a wide array of signature primi piatti (main plates). In addition to incorporating fresh catch and farm-grown produce in the restaurant’s menu, Holder presents a series of wine dinner pairing events to showcase the excellent wine choices that complement his menu specialties.

Prior to joining the resort, Holder was the executive chef at Ruth Chris on Maui.  He has also worked at Four Seasons Resort Aviara, Carlsbad and DK Catering, Carlsbad.  His culinary credentials include associates of occupational studies culinary arts – Le Cordon Bleu Program at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.  Born and raised in San Diego, California, Holder leans toward the warm tropics for his inspiring culinary trends.