Martin Knaubert
Martin Knaubert

Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.

Name: Martin Knaubert

Occupation: Executive Chef

Hometown: Saarlouis/Germany

Residence: Ko Olina/Hawaii

College: Brillat-savarin school Berlin/Germany and Freie Universitaet Berlin

College major: Culinary Arts/Sociology degree

Short bio: Martin Knaubert is Executive Chef at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. He experienced the joys of farm-to-table ingredients early, growing up on his grandmother’s farm near Germany’s border with France and mastering the art of vanilla sauce in her kitchen. Rather than enroll in culinary school he studied cultural adaptability of developing societies at the university level. “My ‘culinary calling’ finally came while working at restaurants to earn tuition. My inner voice told me to be a ‘real chef.’”

He listened and joined Four Seasons in Berlin as an apprentice, the first of several assignments with the company across four continents. While Knaubert has developed much expertise along the way, he has found that culinary skills don’t necessarily travel from one destination to the next. All for the better, actually: “Cooking experiences may not be applicable across cultures, but they lead to a complete perspective on food.”

Knaubert is glad to be back in Hawaii just over a decade after his first stop as Executive Sous Chef at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. There, he met his Hawaiian-born wife, Hillary, who attended elementary school just 20 minutes from his current address. His daughter, Noe, was born in Beijing. “Her middle name is Lani, which means heaven, so she’s ‘Mist from Heaven,’” he says with a smile. “We didn’t know we’d end up on Oahu, but here we are. The island and the Resort are part of my story, too.”

How often do you fly? 1 per year.

How many countries have you been to? Probably 40.

How many continents have you been to? Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America.

Earliest travel memory: A family trip to Spain when I was four-years old.

Favorite American city: Seattle.

Favorite international city: Tokyo.

Least favorite country: Egypt.

I have no desire to go to: Saudi Arabia.

Friendliest people in the world: Syrians, Tanzanians.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: USA.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Petra, Jordan.

Favorite airline: Qatar Airways.

Aisle or window: First class

Favorite airport lounge: Virgin Atlantic lounge at London Heathrow.

Favorite U.S. airport: Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii.

Favorite international airport: Singapore.

Favorite hotel: Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi.

Favorite cruise line: Never been on a cruise, sounds like punishment.

Favorite travel credit card: Don’t like any of them…

Favorite island: Zanzibar/Tanzania.

Favorite beach: Nungwi- Zanzibar.

Favorite National Park: Ngorongoro.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Fat Duck.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: An izakaya I found in a back alley in Tokyo—can’t pronounce the name.

Favorite airport restaurant: Has yet to be found.

Favorite bar: Bar Constellation, Shanghai.

Favorite fruit: Heirloom apples from Germany.

Favorite food: Lentil stew with smoked bacon and sausage cooked by my grandmother.

Least favorite food: McDonald’s.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Sparkling water.

Favorite travel movie(s): Airplane.

Favorite travel show(s): Fargo 1 and Fargo 2.

Favorite travel book(s): Any T.C. Boyle book.

Right now I am reading: “Rice: A Global History.”

Favorite travel website(s)—besides, of course! Airbnb.

5 things you bring on a plane: Sweater, headphones, iPad, lazengers, food magazine.

What do you always seem to forget? Socks.

What do you like least about travel? Economy class.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? New headphones.

Most embarrassing travel moment: Being escorted off by customs check.

I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Austria.

Worst travel moment: Being really, really sick on a trip in Senegal…

What’s your dream destination? Peru or Patagonia or Alaska or Siberia or Zambia or Cameroon or Ethiopia or Vietnam or Cambodia—can’t decide.

Best travel tip: Take it all in and eat everything the locals eat.


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