Articles from May 2011

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Supports Ranching Industry with Head-to-Tail Use of Grass-Fed Beef

Beef Short Rib

Local Beef Short Ribs with potato-apple puree

Local Beef Short Ribs. Big Island Beef Cheek Terrine. Oyster-Marinated Tri Tip with Crispy Oysters.

These new menu items at Pahu i‘a—just selected by Zagat as the number one restaurant on the Big Isle—are sourced from local, grass-fed beef. In fact, they are the result of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai’s new sustainable grass-fed beef program that utilizes the entire animal—basically from head-to-tail.

This approach, of cooking the whole animal, has more value to our local ranchers. In fact, one of the goals of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range has been to educate chefs and attendees about the benefits of using all the different cuts of meat, including the unfamiliar ones–like the rich beefiness of flap.

James Babian

Chef James Babian, Executive Chef, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Executive Chef Jim Babian, who was recognized in 2010 for his use of local products by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, says using the whole animal fits into the resort’s theme of sustainability. “We want to support our local beef industry while adhering to our culinary direction of regional and artisanal.”

Babian says it also makes financial sense as the award-winning Four Seasons Hualalai uses a lot of meat for its on-site restaurants and staff cafeteria.

“Using the whole animal requires more work, more labor, but gives us an opportunity to do more in the kitchen,” details Babian, who lights up when sharing how he’s in the process of concocting Big Island hot dogs. “We’ll definitely benefit from getting all the bones as well.”

The Four Seasons Hualalai is purchasing 21-day aged, whole beef carcasses from Kulana Foods in Hilo. According to Kulana’s Tom Asano, it’s the first time a resort has committed to a beef carcass purchase program in the company’s 72-year history.

Beef Cheek Terrine

Big Island Beef Cheek Terrine with Hamakua Coast hon shimeji mushrooms and kiawe smoked potato

“This is very exciting,” says Asano. “Chef Babian’s standards are very high and we are happy to meet his expectations with our island grass-fed beef.”

At a recent Pahu i‘a menu tasting for resort staff, Chef Babian detailed the new grass-fed menu items, as well as a host of others featuring fresh foods sourced from around the island.

They include savory Kona Abalone with coconut and kaffir lime or Roasted Beet Salad with Hamakua goat cheese, kukui nut brittle and Ka’u orange vinaigrette. Wild Boar Two Ways is on the menu—a grilled loin chop and a guava-braised shoulder, served with three types of Waimea beans—a sort-of “pork and beans.” Chef says he’s cooking nose-to-tail with the pork too.

“Of the 41 items on the menu, only a handful of ingredients are imported in from elsewhere,” details Babian, who relies on over 160 local farmers and fishermen to provide the resort’s food.

Beef TriTip Oyster

Oyster-Marinated Tri Tip with Crispy Oysters, choi sum, kabocha pumpkin and tsukemomo remoulade

Chef is especially proud of one of Pahu i’a’s specialties, the Tri Tip with Crispy Oysters. “This is my favorite item; all the main ingredients are from the Big Island,” chef proclaims. That includes the meat, seafood, choi sum and kabocha pumpkin.

“Tri tip can be chewy, but it’s good and we are one of the first restaurants preparing it,” he notes. To make it fork tender, the cut is marinated 24 hours and then cooked in a sous vide at 137 degrees to break down the connective tissue. “Then we grill it to order,” he says. (A sous vide cooks food sealed in a plastic bag in a controlled water bath.)

At the resort’s Beach Tree restaurant, diners can also find grass-fed menu items. “We grind the shoulder and brisket to make our burgers,” says Chef Jim. Beach Tree’s Chef de Cuisine Nick Mastrascusa uses braised oxtail for ragout to go with his homemade gnocchi. The scrumptious dumplings are his grandmother’s recipe.

“We salute Chef Babian and the Four Seasons Hualalai for stepping up to support our hard-working ranchers by buying the entire animal carcass,” says Marla Fergerstrom, interim farm manager and herdsman of the Mealani Research Station. “Using the whole animal is a key component to ensure the sustainability of our ranching industry.”

Fergerstrom adds, “It is extremely nice to see the efforts of Taste are being demonstrated through Chef Babian. He could definitely be starting a trend for our local, grass-fed meats.”

Information on dining at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, phone 325-8000 or visit the website.

Food shots by Fern Gavelek


National Organizations Supporting the Beef Industry

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range was developed to educate the public about the wholesomeness of grass-fed beef raised on our island. Yet, many people want to know more and more about where their food comes from and who supports the stewardship of the industry. Let’s take a look at some of the national organizations who support the beef industry nationwide.

The Beef Board
Congress created a national Cattlemen’s Beef Board under the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) to carry out the Beef Act’s program. The program includes Beef Promotion and the Research Act which are all associated with the Beef Checkoff Program. Locally, the Hawaii Beef Industry Council, a non-profit organization, is a Qualified State Beef Council under the national Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

What is the Beef Checkoff?
The Beef Checkoff is a producer-funded marketing and research program aimed at promoting and increasing sales of beef products in supermarkets, restaurants and marketing new products such as new recipes. With demonstrations of beef products and sampling, the Beef Checkoff Program is able to showcase new menus, new recipes and nutritional information about beef.

Professionals in the food service industry can access information about beef safety, cuts, facts and trends, recipes and training materials at

Mojo Beef KabobsThose of you who love to cook and eat beef can go to for cooking tips, facts, nutritional materials, recipes, and the Beef So Simple newsletter. The Mojo Beef Kabobs Recipe is from this website which is funded by the Beef Checkoff Program.

Check out these sites for more information:
The Hawaii Beef Industry Council, is the Hawaii State organizations which is responsible to collect Check-of dollars on each head of cattle sold or processed in our State. Hawaii benefits by having fifty-cents of every dollar collected in Hawaii held in the State for promotion of Beef in Hawaii. Beef promotional materials are done at Farm Fairs, supermarkets, restaurants, and with wholesalers and retailers.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) represents U.S. Cattle producers and advocates for the cattle industry. They have a Livestock Marketing Council, a Cattle Learning Center and sponsor a Summer Conference. To learn more about the NCBA visit


Recipe: Mojo Beef Kabobs

Recipe and photo as seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons.

1-lb boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick
1-tsp coarse grind black pepper
1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges
1 small red onion, cut into 3-thin wedges
1 container grape or cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

Mojo Beef KabobsMojo Sauce
1/4 C. fresh orange juice
1/4 C fresh lime juice
3 T finely chopped fresh oregano
3 T olive oil
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt


  1. Whisk Mojo Sauce ingredients in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cut beef steak into 1-1/4 inch pieces, season with pepper
  3. Alternately thread beef with lime and onion wedges evenly onto four 12-inch metal skewers. Thread tomatoes evenly onto four 12-inch metal skewers.
  4. Place kabobs on grid over medium ash-covered coals. Grill tomato kabobs, uncovered about 2to 4-minutes or until slightly softened, turning occasionally. Grill Beef Kabobs, uncovered, about 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.
  5. Serve kabobs drizzled with sauce.