Culinary Team Announcements at Sheraton Kauai Resort
Sheraton Kauai Resort at Poipu Beach recently announced the promotion and new appointments for the culinary team of the 20-acre oceanfront resort. Michael Young was promoted to Executive Chef, Cory Sargent was appointed Chef de Cuisine, and Gabe Balenzuela was appointed Sous Chef.
In his new position, Executive Chef Michael Young’s primary focus will be to oversee all culinary operations at the resort, including its signature restaurant, RumFire Poipu Beach, Lava’s on Poipu Beach, the resort’s banquet and catering offerings and oceanfront luau dining. Young was first hired in 2014 as Chef de Cuisine for RumFire Poipu Beach and was the acting executive chef in recent months. In November 2015, he appeared in an episode of “Cutthroat Kitchen” on the Food Network. A seasoned culinary professional, Chef Young has over 25 years of experience from the front of the house to opening his own restaurant. He holds an A.O.S. in Culinary Arts from the California Culinary Academy, and trained at Aqua San Francisco under the tutelage of Michelin Star-rated and two-time, James Beard award-winning Chef Michael Mina. Previously a chef at Merriman’s Fish House on Kauai, Chef Young returned to the island in 2014 following his role as Restaurant Chef at The Grand Wailea on Maui.
Chef de Cuisine Cory Sargent will oversee the kitchen at the resort’s oceanfront hotspot, RumFire Poipu Beach, home to the Table 53 program. With a background in engineering, Chef Sargent’s journey to the kitchen is atypical. His childhood included moves to several U.S. cities as his father built PGA golf courses, and later living in the Black Hills of South Dakota on an ostrich ranch. While studying engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, Sargent joined the military as a reservist and moved to active duty following 9/11. There, during a military training exercise involving the diffusing of a bomb, Sargent learned he had gone incrementally colorblind, thus ending his career path in bomb disposal. He then found his way to the kitchen and, unexpectedly, his passion for cooking.
Sargent has since worked under acclaimed chef Bryan Moscatello, of Aspen’s The Little Nell, who was then at Denver’s J.W. Marriott Hotel, at Excelsior Restaurant in Telluride as sous chef, and the Madeline Hotel and Residences Telluride as executive chef, overseeing Black Iron Kitchen + Bar and Rev.
Gabe Balenzuela joins the Sheraton Kauai team as Sous Chef, with a primary focus on the dining experience at the poolside Lava’s on Poipu Beach, just steps from the ocean. Chef Balenzuela’s love of food began in his mother’s kitchen in Washington, D.C., which inspired his culinary career over the last 17 years. He received his degree in culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University in Denver, Colorado, and has held positions at the award-winning Adega Restaurant and Wine Bar, Mirepoix Restaurant in Cherry Creek, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, and the Madeline Hotel & Residences Telluride. Balenzuela’s mission is to create dishes from his fondest food memories from past meals with family and his travels around the world.