Hotel Wailea, Hawaii’s only Relais and Châteaux property, announces the appointment of Chef Ryan Cruz to the position of Executive Chef. The new title is a promotion for Cruz, who previously held the position of Hotel Wailea’s Chef de Cuisine since January 2023. As Executive Chef, Cruz will oversee culinary operations at the signature Restaurant at Hotel Wailea, offering fine dining with sweeping views of three Hawaiian Islands; The Birdcage Bar, the hotel’s ambient lounge; and poolside at Hotel Wailea’s cabanas where guests can enjoy light al fresco meals and drinks.
Born in the Philippines and adopted at the age of three, Cruz’s love for cooking began as a child growing up in Southern California, where he assisted his father and grandmother in cooking for family gatherings. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, he joined CUT by Wolfgang Puck in Beverly Hills where he spent four years, starting as a prep cook and working his way up to lead line cook. Cruz spent the next 10 years honing his culinary skills in fine dining establishments across the globe, spanning Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, CUT at 45 Park Lane in London, CUT New York City and Spago in both Istanbul and Maui. He later transitioned to working as a private chef under his mentor Chef Raymond Weber, bringing bespoke dinners and events to celebrity clients such as Oprah Winfrey.
Now a full-time resident of Maui, Cruz forges partnerships with local farmers and fishers to infuse his creations with the freshest and most distinctive ingredients the island has to offer. His innovative dishes, inspired by his love for Japanese art and intricate floral arrangements, transform each plate to replicate a vivid garden of flavors and colors. With his exceptional culinary expertise and innovative approach to fine dining, Chef Cruz creates an interactive culinary adventure that not only captivates the palate but also engages guests in an exploration of flavors.
Beyond the kitchen, Cruz enjoys ocean activities such as paddle boarding, spearfishing and kayaking, as well as dining at restaurants across the island with his wife, who is also a chef. A natural grill master, he feels most at home when cooking over an open flame, channeling his earlier years working under Wolfgang Puck. Cruz’s favorite part of working at Hotel Wailea is collaborating with both guests and his kitchen counterparts, bringing a holistic strategy to property-wide dining experiences.
The first and only Relais & Châteaux property in the state of Hawaii, Hotel Wailea offers travelers an ultra-private elegance infused with relaxed island luxury. Independently owned and operated by Private Label Collection, a full-service luxury hospitality management company founded by Honolulu native Jonathan McManus, the all-suite hotel is an intimate adults-only escape with 72 oversized suites and a pool, overlooking three Hawaiian Islands with residential style cabanas and an apothecary pool bar. The ideal island escape for couples recognized as the #1 resort in Hawaii by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards for two consecutive years, Hotel Wailea boasts an unprecedented level of intimacy, privacy and exclusivity in Hawaii. Personalized guest programming is tailored to couples and centered on unique island experiences that embody adventure, romance, and laid-back luxury. Hotel Wailea’s continually evolving culinary program boasts a unique take on seasonal dining with Hawaiian staples and Maui-grown ingredients, including from the hotel’s own organic garden. For more information, please visit www.hotelwailea.com.