fish sommeliers

Mina’s Fish Sommelier: A Taste of Hawaii’s Finest Seafood

Mina’s Fish House/Facebook

Egyptian-born Michael Mina trained at the Culinary Institute of America before he helped open Michelin-starred Aqua. For nearly a decade, Mina served as the executive chef, collecting accolades from the James Beard Foundation before opening his own restaurant group. Mina now commands more than 30 restaurants worldwide, one of which established the concept of fish sommeliers.

The idea began in 2018 at Mina’s Fish House in Oahu’s Four Seasons Resort. “Your dream as a chef is opening a restaurant where the very best of that product is right on your doorstep, because you’re always going to get first crack at it,” Mina told 7×7. With fresh catches prepared daily, the menu can change quickly, thus the need for trained locals who know what tastes best, how to prepare it, and can offer suggestions to diners with particular preferences. Even for the fish-adverse, the range of texture and flavors that fish can offer is a world akin to wine tasting. Mina’s Fish House’s general manager explained to Travel Age West, “Similar to a wine sommelier, our fish sommeliers exhibit the same impressive skill set and knowledge of seafood — found off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands and across the world — and create an unforgettable pairing.”

A world of flavors to explore

plated fish served at Mina's

Mina/Facebook

Mina’s creative spark fueling the concept of fish sommeliers was to make dining interactive and connect restaurant visitors to Hawaii’s local culture. “On any given day, we can have 10 or more different fish species in a variety of preparations, all with different tastes and textures,” fish sommelier Josh Friedman told Travel Age West. Mina builds menus with fresh catch like snapper, opakapaka, and onaga, and the resort offers experiences for visitors to fish with the sommeliers before enjoying dinner beachside, tiki cocktails in hand.

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With local fishermen bringing in 120-pound yellowfin tuna, 23-pound uku, and onaga long-tail red snapper, fish sommeliers can bridge information between those fishing, cleaning, preparing, and serving the fish. “Some of our guests are not familiar with the Hawaiian names, so I describe the fish and what it may taste similar to,” one fish sommelier told Dining Out. If you’re not one to order fish off a restaurant’s menu or simply head to known plates of mahi mahi or ahi tuna, Mina’s fish sommeliers at Four Seasons may have you changing your mind. 

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