On the Block: Chefs of the Moana Surfrider

The First Lady of Waikiki elevates her culinary creativity with new local talent

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz
Executive Chef Ryan Loo (left) and Executive Sous Chef Brooke Tadena (right) of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Executive Chef Ryan Loo (left) and Executive Sous Chef Brooke Tadena (right) of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

When Ryan Loo found out that his friend and former culinary associate, Brooke Tadena, had recently joined the Moana Surfrider, the opportunity to return to Oahu and work with a strong team was too tempting to resist. Since the two chefs first met in the kitchens of the Kahala Mandarin hotel, each has spent more than a decade leading notable food and beverage operations here and across the Pacific. Most recently, Loo held the position of Executive Chef at the W Seattle, and Tadena was the Executive Banquet Chef at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Today, Executive Chef Loo and Executive Sous Chef Tadena take pride in designing meals that demonstrate Westin’s core value, “feeling better when you leave than when you arrived.” They utilize local ingredients and offer superfood-inspired dishes at each of the Moana Surfrider’s outlets, from in-room dining to the resort’s signature steak house and sea grill, Beachhouse at the Moana.

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“Beahhouse Chopped” their signature salad, with market fresh longbeans, baby kale, Big Island hearts of plam, edamame, summer corn, smoked bacon, chicken breast, and Maui onion vinaigrette.
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Crab cakes made with fresh lump crab, red pepper rouille, over a yuzu-infused guacamole, served with frisee salad and Big Island hearts of palm

Being committed to using locally-sourced products whenever possible means both incorporating these ingredients into traditional recipes, as well as creating menu items that are elegantly local-style. Chef Loo explains, “visitors come to Hawaii to taste Hawaii, and what makes Hawaii special are the different people, cultures, and cuisine.” Beachhouse’s prime steaks may be the focus of the restaurant, but look for items like “oxtail” dumplings, luau (coconut creamed) spinach, Okinawan sweet potato fries, and Pacific oysters and seafood for a touch of what makes Beachhouse unique. Chef Loo highly recommends the ‘poke’ and the ‘catch of the day,’ suggesting, “even if everyone at the table is having a steak, I encourage guests to share a local fish done in a preparation that is always changing.”

Next on their plate, Chef Loo says we can look forward to some new twists at the hotel’s piano bar, Bin1901. Currently offering a variety of eclectic wines, specialty cocktails, and small plates, the team plans to unveil a new menu with bourbon-friendly foods and suggested pairings this summer.

More Info: Beachhouse at the Moana