"If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again," says football coach Terry Venables.
The 2008 Olympics in Beijing may be fading from our memories, but sentiments will still be at a fever pitch Friday with Maui Chefs Present: Culinary Olympics, The Road to the Ritz in Kapalua.
The 16th annual affair will move from its longtime party spot at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa to the Aloha Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. The torch will be lit starting at 6:30 p.m. and the fun, food, music and games will run to 10:30 p.m.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s Kai Sushi Head Chef Tadashi Yoshino will represent his native Japan with tempting tastes and new Chef de Cuisine Ryan Urig of the Banyan Tree (and a native of Arizona) will honor America with his Olympic-quality dishes.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"Events like this are fun, because you have room to go into fantasy," says Maui Chef's Present's set designer Caro Walker. "Corporate groups always pull out the same old themes like 'MASH' and Paniolo. But with this, you get to be inventive and it feeds a creative need."
Caro has done some incredible Maui Chef's themes in past years, such as Pirates of the Cuisine with swashbuckling culinarians; and the Garden of Eatin' with the Adam and Eve look snaking about.
For this year, she wrapped and taped human volunteers to get their forms - some posing as javelin throwers, others as divers or other athletes- and then cut them out.
MAUI CHEFS present AT A GLANCE:
* WHERE: Staged in the open-air Aloha Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
* WHEN: Friday from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
* ENTERTAINMENT: Molokai native Raiatea Helm will do Hawaiian and jazz; and Jimmy Mac and the Kool Kats will top off the evening with rock 'n' roll dance tunes.
* HOW MUCH: Tickets are $150 each, and tables of 10 are available at $1,600 for those who want guaranteed seating and the services of a personal usher. Both include gourmet food, beer, fine wine, open bar and Maui Grown coffee.
* SPECIAL ROOM RATES: Attendees may opt to spend the night. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will offer a special rate of $195 including taxes and valet parking. Call 669-6200.
* AUCTION ITEMS: You may bid on everything from massages to golf games to hotel stays. It's all for a good cause.
* THIS YEAR'S BENEFICIARY: The Maui Culinary Academy, part of Maui Community College.
* FOR TICKETS: Go online to visitlahaina.com or you may call LahainaTown Action Committee at 667-9175.
"We usually could only get them to pose once as it was quite uncomfortable," says Caro. "The plastic forms are clear and so at night they'll reflect the black lights we'll throw on them. They're like glow-in-the-dark ghost figures of Olympians all set in the Bird's Nest."
The chefs will be dressed in themed costumes as well and each booth will be decorated. Ryan Urig, who is the Ritz's new chef de cuisine at the Banyan Tree, will put on the 200-meter medley with Kapalua Farm beets and quinoa with Surfing Goat Dairy feta on top.
"Quinoa is really a super grain with eight of the top amino acids," says Ryan. "I'll also do adobo pork belly with Gold Medal blini topped with poha-berry chutney."
Chef Tadashi Yoshino of the Ritz's Kai Sushi Bar will represent his native Japan with tuna tataki salad seared and served with julienne vegetables. He'll also do udon noodles with freshwater eel (unagi). Sansei will also represent Japan along with America with kim chee shrimp with red, white and blue slaw; and do king-crab ramen with Asian-truffle broth and Thai basil and cilantro.
There are 10 other participants, each entering hot and cold tastes of their award-winning cuisine. The new Melting Pot will let you dive into their dark-chocolate fondue with Maui Gold pineapple and Kula strawberries.
Plantation House will mimic the original Grecian games with pentathlons of five Mediterranean salads. The Maui Culinary Academy will give a nod to China with Peking duck meatballs and Shanghai black-bean crab. Pineapple Grill will play handball with sliders.
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel will dish up its Gold Medal seafood lawalu and Olympic Torch banana caramel eruption dessert. Longboards will do ping-pong duck and Thai paddle chicken wraps. Last but not least, Pacific'O and Hula Grill will once again give it their all.