“We have a wonderful team here—always working to get better and be better. We are working to become the best restaurant on Kauaʻi.”  – Chef Alex 

Following his tenure as Chef de Cuisine, Chef Alex’s ascension to the esteemed role of Executive Chef promises to further enhance Hualani’s reputation for delivering innovative, farm-to-table dining. Marked by a vision for celebrating local flavors, global influences, and the joy of shared dining experiences, Timbers Kaua‘i at Hōkūala anticipates an exciting new chapter for Hualani’s restaurant.

We sat down with Chef Alex to become more familiar with his story and his inspiration.

Born and Raised Food Lover

Chef Alex’s passion and joy for cooking started early. Growing up on the west side of Kauaʻi, his close-knit family came together through the power of food, instilling a deep appreciation for the communal joy brought about by lovingly prepared meals. Raised in Kekahā on the West end of the Garden Isle, he went to Kekahā Elementary and graduated from Waimea High School. His love for cooking continued to grow when he enrolled in the culinary program at KCC, Kauaʻi Community College and further immersed himself in the culinary field.

With mentors Clarence Nishi and Mark Oyama as heavy influences during his time at KCC, Chef Alex went on to enroll in ACF, American Culinary Federation. ACF is the premier professional chefs’ organization in North America with more than 14,000 members in over 170 chapters nationwide, establishing Chef Alex firmly within the hospitality sphere.

Fine Tuning His Skills

With exposure to a pool of peers in the culinary field, educational symposiums, and national conventions, Alex’s knowledge broadened and his opportunities grew. Each year, ACF holds focus classes together. It was through this program and mentorship that Alex was able to meet and work with master chefs like Charlie Trotter and others from NY, CA, and Chicago. He says that set the tone for his career.

While still attending KCC, Alex was hired at Wrangler’s Restaurant in Waimea town by Chef Kimo Akana. Working at Wrangler’s allowed Alex to pay for school and gain experience in the kitchen. 4 years after Alex joined the team at Wrangler’s, Chef Kimo exited his role and Chef Alex was promoted, staying a few more years.

In 2001 Alex joined TS Restaurants where he made a home for 17 years working between Duke’s Kalapaki & Keoki’s in Poipū. At Duke’s, he met our Food and Beverage Director, Cory Dotario, who hired him as a cook and then promoted him to sous chef. He worked for 7 years as a sous chef for Cory and went on to the title of executive chef for an additional 10 years while at TS Duke’s. TS graciously supports continuing education within their organization and as a result, Alex was sent to Napa to expand his skills. At the culinary institute in Napa, he took classes in food & wine, and Chef Alex and Cory reunited when he brought Cory to us at Timbers.

These experiences, coupled with the rural and authentic local style upbringing, have layered Alex’s talents to where he is today. It’s that innate feeling of sharing his aloha that Chef Alex brings to each and every dish prepared at Hualani’s restuarant.

Talk Story with Chef Alex

Chef was happy to sit down with us to Talk Story on a few personal touches! Get to know Chef a bit more below:

What is your kuleana (job) at Timbers Kauaʻi?
To care for our culinary operation and to promote everything Kauaʻi and from Kauaʻi – to give our guests an opportunity to taste local flavors.

In your opinion, what makes Timbers Kauaʻi at Hōkūala special or unique? 
The potential for aloha.

Describe Kauaʻi in one word:
Eudaimonia (the condition of human flourishing or of living well).

 What is your favorite hobby or pastime when not working?
Throw net at Moloaʻa.

What does aloha mean to you? 
May peace be with you.

What is your favorite Hawaiian food?
Squid lū’au.

What is a fun fact most people donʻt know about you?
I love to hot tub – preferably with a cold Asylum beer which is a real hoppy IPA.


Mahalo nui loa to Chef Alex for sharing his story! To experience Hualani’s exquisite cuisine for yourself, learn more about the restaurant below or make a reservation.