As a general manager, I take my role as a leader and mentor very seriously. My style first and foremost is to lead by example, inspiring those around me by planting seeds for success. While my “seed planting” approach has always been a wonderful metaphor rich in meaning, it now turns out our culinary leadership team has taken “planting seeds” quite literally.
Sustainability on Lana’i is of the utmost importance. Our resort chefs work with local farmers and fishermen to provide guests with the freshest ingredients and to support the local community. While we continue this practice of buying local, our Nobu Lana’i executive chef took it a step further — or closer, rather — to home. What if we planted our own seeds? With the proper nurturing, care, and hard work, would we be able to sustain our very own garden, with a seasonal harvest?
There were many questions. Who would care for it? How long would it take? Where would we get space enough to provide for our guests? While many said it could not be done — mainly due to the time commitment— Nobu Lanai Executive Chef Oyvind Naesheim started planting seeds. He had a vision, and the possibilities outweighed the obstacles.
One early morning this past May Chef Oyvind put aside his knives and chopsticks in lieu of a new arsenal — shovels and rakes. Chef Oyvind and his team of volunteers — ranging from Nobu Lana’i’s culinary team to Four Seasons food and beverage leadership and staff members — planted, nurtured and weeded the Nobu Lana’i Garden. They were determined to create something together that both guests and residents could enjoy. As with life, patience and hard work paid off. In a mere five months, what was once an empty dirt lot now was filled with a colorful bounty of vegetables including tomatoes, cilantro, Japanese eggplant, lettuce, sesame and more. The seeds blossomed into a thriving garden with a caring team of volunteers that spent free time embracing the land and the vision that it could be done. Nobu Lana’i now showcases these vegetables from the Nobu Garden on the daily menu, and any surplus is being used in the other restaurants at our Four Seasons Resorts on Lana’i.
Planting seeds, metaphorically or literally, can lead to great ideas. Whether it’s a garden, a new guest experience or even a service training procedure, remember to plant seeds for success with your team. With passion, dedication, vision and your encouragement, your team can achieve great things.