Gathering Maui’s farmers and their freshest produce, and pairing them with a dozen star chefs from the 50th state’s most celebrated beachside resort, makes for a winning recipe. Hands down.
Now bring that together with winemakers from some of the most notable west coast wineries, Maui’s Ocean Vodka, and Nani Moon Meads from Kauai, and you’ve got a swirl of fun at the Kaanapali Food & Wine on Saturday, August 31 during the Kaanapali Fresh: A Culinary Experience weekend – #KFresh13.
More than 500 people were greeted by the “Kaanapali 5-0” retro theme on the lavishly green lawns of the 3rd hole at Kaanapali Golf Course marking the 50th anniversary of the beach resort, the first master-planned resort community in the country. Wood surfboard bar tops, Hawaiian print rattan lounge seating, thatched-roof hales, and a “kitch” vibe took people back in time. It was like stepping into an Elvis Hawaii movie, replete with fresh flower lei and floral displayed for a beautiful effect. Guests arrived in aloha shirts and island-style dresses, making it a night of fantasy.
The chefs offered their creative and tastiest dishes, two each, paired alongside one of Maui’s farmers, in association with Maui County Farm Bureau. The event upped the game by offering a prize to the best offerings declared by a panel of five judges, all food writers and self-proclaimed foodies.
Winner of the Maui No Ka Oi magazine culinary competition Best of Show Gold was Executive Chef Greg Grohowski of Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa who used seared Maui Cattle Beef in his Vietnamese-style salad with Alii Kula Lavender seasoning and Evonuk Farms produce of mint, cilantro, basil, arugula and romaine with a lavender-nouc cham vinaigrette; farmer partner Evonuk Farms.
Best of Show Silver went to Joey Macadangdang, executive chef of Roy’s Restaurant for his Hawaii kampachi crudo with pomelo grapefruit and yuzu emulsion, and farmer partner Sylvestre Tumbaga of Syl’s Produce.
Not to be upstaged, the entertainment was mesmerizing. Guests gathered on sofas and lounge chairs under the stars to hear Hawaii’s all-time leading female vocalist and 5-time Grammy nominee Amy Hanaialii Gilliom belt out sensual jazz ballads and her beloved Hawaiian falsetto tunes in both English and the Hawaiian language.
Makana made for an unforgettable evening. His dreamy Hawaiian slack key, coined “Slack Rock”, was the perfect pitch to Amy’s sweet stylings. Makana, a food and wine-lover himself, performed his new single “Nectarine” from his latest album RIPE, ripe with food references.
It seems that every detail was considered, reflected upon, and brought to life. A fairytale vintage night, “Kaanapali 5-0” will be one of the iconic parties that you “talk story” about over and over again.
The event benefitted Maui County Farm Bureau with a silent auction and work experience for Maui Culinary Academy students.