The Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay has welcomed Edward “Kahau” Manzo as director of food and beverage, Matthew Naula as executive chef and Jayson Malla as chef de cuisine at Rays on the Bay.
“We are excited to welcome these talented professionals to the hard-working team here at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa,” said general manager Matthew Grauso. “With a keen focus on locally-sourced ingredients added to Matthew and Jayson’s abilities to transform the usual into the extraordinary combined with Kahau’s leadership abilities, guests are already commenting positively about their culinary experiences at the resort.”
Manzo is a Maui High School graduate who obtained an Associate’s Degree in Food Service from Maui Community College and graduated first in his class from the Western Culinary Institute. He honed his cooking skills in kitchens in Oregon and Washington working his way up to executive chef at Bella Italia in Port Angeles, Wash. In 1997 Manzo returned to the islands, where he continued to work in many of the top restaurants in Hawaii. Before arriving at Sheraton Kona, he served as director of food and beverage and executive chef at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas in Princeville on Kauai.
As director of food and beverage, Manzo is responsible for general oversight of operations, standards, budgeting, staffing and more at the resort’s food and beverage outlets including Ainakai, Rays on the Bay and Holua Poolside Bar and Lounge.
Naula was born and raised in Palolo on Oahu. His professional culinary career began in high school when he worked as a breakfast cook at Zippy’s, where he was later promoted to dining room cook. After high school, Naula pursued a formal culinary education at the Gros Bonnett Culinary Academy and Kapiolani Community College, where he received his diploma. His career continued its rapid ascension leading to the executive chef position at Oahu’s Mr. Ojisan restaurant.
Naula thrives on taking the expected, adding a twist and creating the unexpected. Naula’s Hawaii-born roots translate to locally-grounded elements of culinary expertise and unique flavors on the menus at Sheraton Kona. Without hesitation, he pronounces his favorite ingredient as lavender, which he transports to subtle, sublime, unpredictable uses. Naula’s goal at Sheraton Kona is for guests to stay at the hotel as much for the location and beauty of the 509-room oceanfront resort as for the delicious and fun food they discover at every turn. By focusing on the fundamentals, challenging and mentoring his staff, and tapping into Hawaii Island’s incredible array of fresh products, Naula knows that the resort will become a “culinary-driven destination” framed with an identity to his local roots.
As executive chef, Naula’s responsibilities include overseeing the resort’s culinary team, menu creation for Ainakai, which offers a daily breakfast buffet, Holua Poolside Bar & Lounge serving lunch and early dinners, and all banquets, special functions and events. Prior to joining Sheraton Kona, Naula was banquet executive chef at Sheraton Waikiki.
Malla is Rays on the Bay chef de cuisine. Malla was also born and raised on Oahu. He began his culinary career at the Kahala Resort in Honolulu before expanding his horizons, and his skills, all the way to the famed Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia and the Rosewood Hotel and Spa in Menlo Park, Calif. Malla returned to Oahu in 2010 and has worked at the Trump International Hotel Waikiki and, most recently, at Aulani Disney Resort and Spa before his promotion to chef de cuisine at Sheraton Kona’s signature restaurant, Rays on the Bay.
Among his peers, Malla is known as a chef who is able to reinvent the classics into delectable new culinary creations. With garlic as one of his favorite ingredients, he builds palate-pleasing flavor profiles that are imaginative, unanticipated and memorable. At Rays on the Bay, Malla strives to have the food match the restaurant’s amazing view so that one fully complements the other. His new menu at Rays on the Bay has just been introduced with menu items reflecting his local upbringing and skilled ability. With Chef Robert Blesh of Greenbrier Resort as his mentor and inspiration, everything Malla prepares is elevated to new levels so that each appetizer, each dinner, every morsel, is a flavorful journey of discovery.