Sheldon Simeon to guest chef at Mala, Honu benefits

Did you know, Filipino food is smokin’ hot right now? And, that Sheldon Simeon, Maui’s most famous local chef of Filipino heritage, will dazzle diners as guest culinarian at two upcoming benefit feasts in Lahaina?

The first will be Saturday, Aug. 24, at Mala Ocean Tavern. The second will be Wednesday, Aug. 28, at its sister restaurant, Honu Seafood & Pizza. Both are oceanfront on Front Street.

“The dinners will benefit the Lahaina Skate Park, where Mala and Honu recently installed a drinking fountain,” says owner Mark Ellman. “We want to continue to make the park better for all to enjoy. Punana Leo O Maui Hawaiian language immersion school is the other beneficiary.”

“Details magazine, the modern man’s guide to culture, style and entertainment, just did an article that the next hot cuisine is Filipino,” adds Ellman. “We’re very excited to have Sheldon be guest chef. He’s the new guard, the real deal.”

Both restaurants will present four-course meals of Filipino and island-inspired fare with a modern twist at $110 per person, with two cocktails and dessert. There will be no substitutions. Do come hungry!

Seatings will start at 5:15 p.m. and will continue in 10-to-15-minute increments until about 9 p.m. The cocktails by Ellman’s certified sommelier and drink specialist, Blair Anderson, will be the Samar Sling and the Palawan Press, both muddled, shaken and stirred with fresh ingredients.

Mala Ocean Tavern’s menu will start with snacks on the table of chicharone with chili-pepper water, garlic and cilantro, brie-cheese inari; and radish with toasted rice and shrimp paste.

The tasting menu features fresh Kauai prawns in ko-chu-jang sauce with watercress and dragon fruit; sesame-glazed fingerling potatoes; fresh onaga with hurricane popcorn; and roast pork belly with tomato, onion, jalapeno and roasted banana. Honu’s menu is similar, but with fish cake instead of chicharone and kampachi instead of onaga.

Dessert will be purple yuba potatoes and jackfruit fritters made from fruit picked in Simeon’s backyard in West Maui.

For reservations, call Mala at 667-9394 or Honu at 667-9390.