Situated on Hawaii’s sun-drenched Kohala Coast, Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection, is a spiritual haven with a focus on wellness and sustainability. At the resort’s storied oceanfront restaurant CanoeHouse, former Nobu chef Matt Raso is dedicated to bringing this ethos to life.

Supper sat down with the culinary star to find out more about his signature oyster dish. 


What inspired the oyster dish?
To me, oysters are one of the best ways to begin a meal. When I created the oyster dish, I wanted to curate something clean, refreshing and oceanic. The brininess of the oysters sets the tone for minerality throughout the meal, and oysters convey the salty bite I intended to deliver. 

What’s in the dish?
The dish includes Kusshi oysters, homemade chilli pepper water, Japanese-style soy sauce marinated with katsuobushi, and ogo. 

How is the dish made?
As Kusshi oysters are tumbled, the shell protects itself to avoid damage to its edges. The tumbling forces the oyster to create a pseudo cup shape, which is a natural vessel for adding a sauce to the oyster. To avoid masking the taste of the oyster, I add homemade chilli pepper water and Japanese-style soy sauce marinated with katsuobushi, which is shaved and dried bonito. To top the oyster, I use a local seaweed called ogo. 

Why is this dish one of your favourites?
These oysters provide a little bite, a little spice and a little brine while building a guest’s appetite for everything else to come. Combining the Kusshi oyster, the chilli pepper water and the ogo creates an exciting kind of bite that marries a smooth, creamy texture with saltiness and a slight crunch from the seaweed. 

CanoeHouse Oysters

What personal touch did you put on this dish?
I add a couple personal touches to CanoeHouse oysters. Because the smooth underbelly of the Kusshi is more pleasing to look at, I prefer to flip the oysters over after they’re shucked.

Beyond that, though, the trifecta of ingredients represents my roots, and melding those elements seamlessly is a personal touch that means a lot to me.

Where do the ingredients come from?
Kusshi oysters are farmed in the Pacific Northwest. We make the chilli pepper water in-house using Hawaiian chilis, togarashi, rice vinegar and garlic. I top the oysters with ogo, which is a local seaweed farmed in Kona. As the ogo is delicate and fragile, it must be maintained at a certain temperature– if the seaweed gets too warm or cold, it wilts and dies. That being said, ogo will never be the same if it’s transported between islands, which is why it’s a unique and special aspect that one can only enjoy on the Island of Hawai’i. 

How do you see this dish evolving with time / the seasons?
I don’t plan to change much about the dish because oysters are a CanoeHouse classic. Sometimes, we add uni (sea urchin) and caviar as options to enhance the dish. For those who don’t want to eat raw oysters, we also grill the dish in a bit of butter. 

What’s your favourite thing about this dish?
I love watching the expression on a guest’s face as they enjoy the dish. The element of surprise that stems from the diversity of the textures and the vibrance of the acidity makes the oyster dish exciting for me, personally.