Side Orders • May 15, 2014

KAPALUA UNCORKED . . . A lot of exciting news is bubbling forth from Kapalua.

The 33rd annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival will present its signature Grand Tasting on June 13 at Montage Kapalua Bay. What is so cool is that the original festival, for years called a “symposium,” was staged at the Montage site at the former Kapalua Bay Hotel. So it’s all coming full circle – at least for us oldies who remember a tall ship from Dry Creek Vineyards in Sonoma inching into the bay and shooting off a cannon there.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” says Montage resort manager David Hoffman. “The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival is one of the most prestigious events on Maui, and we could not think of a better way to open our doors. It’s an honor that we will be part of one of the longest-running wine and food festivals in the U.S.”

The luxury Montage resort has named Riko Bartolome as executive chef, Flynt Payne as director of Food and Beverage, and Jill Mayo as public relations and marketing manager. Its Cane & Canoe signature restaurant is still under construction.

But this week, Montage’s catering team delivered gifts to West Maui’s first responders. Sous Chef Marc Urquidi delivered steel-cut oatmeal fudge bars and spa certificates to firefighters’ mothers and wives, extending its philosophy of anticipating needs. In this case, it was to buff them out for Mother’s Day. The rest of the fest will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua June 12 to 15. Highlights include New Zealand’s top winemakers in a seminar; and “Iron Chef America” Mark Tarbell at a demo-luncheon. For tickets, visit

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BITS AND PIECES. . . Mark your calendars for May 28, when Alan Wong’s Amasia at Grand Wailea will take tastebuds on an exotic voyage with its gala Spirits of the Orient event.

It’s the second anniversary of the restaurant, and it’s sure to be stellar. Six different sake, beer and liquor stations will wet your whistle, including acclaimed chef Alan Wong’s private label selections. Japanese sake and whisky experts will be on hand.

Action stations will be spread throughout the garden with its koi ponds and rocks from Mount Fuji; in the lounge; the sake room; and in the bar. The celebrated chef himself will man the noodle bar in the Robata Room, pairing his foods with Nikka Whisky. We also hear he’s coming to town next week to teach the staff how to make an Okinawan Rafute pork dish. Tickets will go as fast as you can say, “grilled skewers. Cost is $125. Call 891-3954.

Amasia’s Executive Chef Chris Damskey was a guest speaker recently at Maui Culinary Academy’s new Open Kitchen event.

“We were recruiting Maui High School students,” he says. “Helping to encourage future food talents to choose a culinary program at the college.”

You may now find popular Sushi Chef Ren Padilla at Ichiban Restaurant in Kahului, working lunch and dinner Mondays to Saturdays. Do try his hurricane rolls, spicy tuna avocado salad and fried calamari.

Chef Ivan Pahk has jumped ship from the Sansei family of restaurants. He’s been named corporate chef of Hoaloha Group, which runs Star Noodle, Aloha Mixed Plate, Old Lahaina Luau and Leoda’s.

Growing Our Future Together will be a family-friendly event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Baldwin High School Gym in Wailuku. Come enjoy the Kendama Dance Contest, ono food prepared by longtime kamaaina families, entertainment, games and educational displays about Maui’s farmers and ranchers.

Vineyard Food Company in Wailuku will present the Crepes Dinner on Friday and Saturday as a benefit for Red Cross. Seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.; you may BYOB (beer and wine only). Crepes are a French favorite, and Vineyard will serve it as entree choices, such as frutti di mare (seafood); smoked poulet (chicken); or with legumes in dill cream. Call 243-3663.

* This article includes a correction from the original published on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Flynt Payne is the food and beverage director for the Montage Kapalua. The wrong name was listed, due to incorrect information provided to The Maui News.