A native of Hawaii’s Big Island, Leanne Kamekona is an American Chef’s Association certified executive chef and a graduate of the University of Hawaii. Her impressive career spans more than 20 years with luxury resorts and hotels. 

Chef Kamekona first became captivated by working with food while employed in a family-owned grocery store on the Big Island of Hawaii. Today, she is executive chef at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.
Kamekona brings an instinctive culinary talent to her role as executive chef at this AAA Four Diamond resort in Rancho Mirage where she oversees an array of restaurants from casual to fine, including Waters Café, Grand Palms Buffet, Poker Deli, and the resort’s award-winning fine dining experience, The Steakhouse.

At the bright and comfortable Waters Café, Chef Kamekona has developed a new mouthwatering menu that both highlights the distinctive flavors of her island upbringing and also presents a mix of favorite American comfort food classics with a light California twist.

Waters Café specialties on the new menu include a classic chicken potpie filled with creamy goodness, lots of shredded rotisserie chicken and topped with a delicate puff pastry. Uniting atop toast, avocado meets a savory chickpea hummus in the Burgers, Buns and Toast section of the new menu where also featured is a lobster roll full of sweet knuckle and claw lobster and smoked bacon. Asian specialties on the new menu range from the local-style saimin that combines Hawaiian saimin noodles, Portuguese sausage and fishcake in a dashi broth to a crispy kung pao calamari and a tempura bento box. For a sweet finish to the perfect Waters Café meal don’t miss the signature Choco-Lava sundae with hot fudge, warm chocolate lava cake and vanilla bean ice cream topped with agave whipped cream.

“The Hawaiian way of life continues to infuse the menus I develop with unique culinary experiences, while incorporating in the flavors that are distinctive to our Southern California location in Rancho Mirage,” Kamekona says. “I enjoy working with growers and purveyors to bring the freshest ingredients to the table for our guests to enjoy here at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.”