Side Orders • Jan. 9, 2014

NO. 1 FOOD SHOW . . . The Bravo Channel filmed its thrilling, two-part finale of “Top Chef” on the Valley Isle. Yes, that would be Maui!

Judges Tom Colicchio, Emeril Lagasse and Gail Simmons, along with host Padma Lakshmi, jetted to Maui with the final crop of contestants for episodes that will air Jan. 29 and Feb. 5. You’ll soon find out which of the chef’s pantries arrived via an outrigger sailing canoe paddled to shore by Hawaiians wearing lava-lavas.

Padma also dons an ocean-blue jumpsuit only she could pull off. Where does she put all of that food, anyway?

You’ll see that at least one chef will pull out some impressive talent in paradise-“This is easily the best dish I’ve had all year,” Tom will say at the judge’s table-but in the end, it’s still a heated race for the “Top Chef” crown. “This is the closest finale I’ve experienced,” Padma will say, smiling to the camera crew.

Part one of the finale will also reveal the winner of “Last Chance Kitchen.”

But first, of course, we have to get through the rest of the challenges in New Orleans. Get ready for a little dumpster diving in the French Quarter, a French versus a Spanish cook off with legendary chef Jacques Pepin as a guest judge.


I GET AROUND . . . OK, so I can’t yet say whether or not I got to participate in any of the above-mentioned action. So I’ll go on a surfing safari down memory lane to a time in the 1980s, when I dined with Mike Love of the Beach Boys. The legendary band will perform at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s amphitheater Friday.

Who remembers the former Ming Court restaurant upstairs at Whalers Village? Love and I were both invited to a Chinese feast. As guest of honor, he was presented with fish eyeballs to eat, and he gladly obliged, much to the thrill of our hosts. No “Help Me Rhonda” was needed.

At the Beach Boys concert, you won’t find any of that delicacy, but you may savor slices by Outrigger Pizza, shredded beef burritos and chicken mango salad by Maui Tacos and yummy gourmet cake by the Maui Cookie Lady.

We also hear that Three’s Bar & Grill will cater the preshow fare Saturday at the Marshall Tucker Band concert at MACC. Served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., it includes grilled whole wheat tropical flat bread, sushi rolls, and barbecue pork quesadillas with peanut-ginger Asian slaw.

British singing and songwriting sensation Natasha Bedingfield had dinner along with some pro golfers who played the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Merriman’s Kapalua recently.

The new food-filled Taste of Kihei Tour launched this week. Book a reservation and then meet at 9:30 a.m. Mondays in front of Fred’s Mexican Cantina in Kihei, where you sip coffee and get breakfast samples. Walking shoes are suggested. Laurel Murphy, a former Maui News columnist, leads the tours, which stop at nine places, including Cinnamon Roll Fair for aromatic buns; 808 Bistro for banana bread and French toast; S&Q Shave Ice for cool treats, Da Kitchen for local fare; Maui Tacos for south-of-the-border snacks; and Hula Moons for produce and Maui Gelato for more cool desserts. A portion of the tour’s proceeds benefits Maui animal rights groups. To book, visit