President – Eric von Platen Luder
In 1982, Eric took over the day-to-day operation of Huggo’s from his parents and restaurant founders, Shirley and Hugo von Platen Luder. He is president of Olu Kai, Ltd., which does business as Huggo’s Restaurant, Huggo’s on the Rocks and Paradise Gourmet Catering.
Eric is a graduate of the local Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in 1979 from Southern Methodist University. A fourth-generation Chinese-Hawaiian, Eric has worked in every capacity at Huggo’s. He began as an aspiring 11-year-old bus boy, joining his brother and sister who also pitched in during summer vacations.
A Utah native Mara has contributed endlessly to the many successes of Huggo’s and Huggo’s on the Rocks. She has been in the food service industry since she was 16 years old. After managing award winning restaurants in Utah Mara comes to us with a great deal of knowledge, experience and expertise.
She also belongs to one of Hawaii’s top outrigger canoe teams and can often be found off shore in her spare time. She is a great addition to the Huggo’s management team and admired by all.
Drew Watson –
Drew has been a part of the Lava Lava Beach Club team since late 2012. He brings over fifteen years of experience in the hospitality and service industry. Raised in Colorado he has been lucky enough to call Hawai’i home for the last eleven years. Starting as a floor manager, Drew proved himself to be an asset by shaping Lava Lava Beach Club into what it is today. His talents were obvious, and he was selected as the opening Assistant General Manager of Lava Lava Beach Club on Kauai. Big Island always called to Drew and he returned in 2019. Shortly after he was promoted to General Manager of the restaurant where it all began.
His passion and zest for life inspires his staff and fellow managers to create the memorable guests experiences famous in Waikoloa. On the rare occasions you can’t find him in the restaurant you will find him embracing the magic of Hawaii. Most often Drew will be diving or hiking all while enjoying his family. There is also a chance you will find Drew tearing things up on his dirt bike: Helga.
Born and raised on the Big Island and almost born and raised at Huggoʻs, Chef Albert has been with us for over 44 years. During his tenure he has also worked in the kitchens of Hawaii’s top hotels, places like The Sheraton, Kona Village, The Royal Waikoloan, and The Marriot just to name a few.
Albert is without a doubt one of the most experienced, knowledgeable and well-rounded Chefs we have ever had the pleasure of working with. On the rare occasion he gets some time away from work, wife, and grandkids he likes to plan his dinners around what he can pull out of the sea.
Known as the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, it’s an honor having him on our culinary team.
Our Leadership Team
Jose Fuentes, Director of Operations
Jose Fuentes was born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and grew up just outside Boston, MA. His father owned several restaurants starting his passion for hospitality at an early age. He received a business degree from the University of Massachusetts and began his career in New York City. Jose has opened restaurants all over the country including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Boston just to name a few. He has worked for restaurant companies including Rosa Mexicano, BRGuest, Legal Seafoods and proudly opened CBS Scene with the Kraft’s of the New England Patriots.
Recently married, his wife’s career brought them to Kauai and they fell in love with the island, knowing pretty quickly this is their new permanent home. On his days off Jose enjoys body surfing, riding motorcycles and just enjoying all that the Garden Island has to offer.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Chef Ken brings nearly twenty years of experience to Lava Lava Beach Club. Born and raised in wine country, Chef Ken worked in Napa Valley for most of his career. He also took five years and explored the cuisine of the Caribbean, gathering new ideas of parallel tropical latitude culinary inspirations.
Chef Ken works directly with the sous chefs to create our menu items as well as work with our vendors to ensure our family of restaurants get the best possible products from local farmers and fishermen