Beverly Gannon is far from resting on her laurels. Once again named "Best Chef on Maui" in our newspaper's annual readers' poll, she's got a feast of happenings on the front burner.
For starters, the acclaimed chef and her husband, Joe Gannon, bought the SeaWatch at Wailea this summer and big changes are in store for customers.
Some of you may have already noticed the breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is a little different and the restaurant name is now "SeaWatch by Bev Gannon."
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Chef Beverly Gannon will headline the San Francisco Zinfandel Festival in January. She’s with promoter John Hanhauser, who just named Maui Culinary Academy as a beneficiary.
"We're in the process of changing the name completely - to Gannon's," says Joe, happy as a clam. "It's booming right now, but it will be shut down Dec. 1 to re-do the whole place. We'll add our signature to it. The lounge will be completely redone and will be called the Red Bar."
But the 13,000-square-foot establishment with views of Kahoolawe, Molokini and Pu'u Olai cinder cone won't be closed for long as the holidays are fast approaching. For now, Bev is "tweaking the food a little bit, but not too much."
"We're bringing our philosophy here," she says. "All the food is as fresh as possible. We use local purveyors. We have fresh fish entrees for lunch and for dinner. And right now, you'll find our prices are incredibly reasonable."
Bev's world at a glance:
* SeaWatch by Bev Gannon: The name was beefed up when the Gannons purchased the restaurant this summer and it will change again before the holidays. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 875-8080.
* Restaurant Week Wailea: For the first time, SeaWatch will participate in this resort-wide promotion. Go to any one of 15 Wailea restaurants during the week of Nov. 8 to 14, and enjoy three-course pre-fixe meals for $29 to $39 per person.
* ZAP: Chef Bev will headline the 19th annual San Francisco Zinfandel Festival Jan. 28 to 30. Maui Culinary Academy is a beneficiary. Over 250 wineries will participate along with 50 other chefs. For further details, you may call (530) 274-4900.
Happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. daily and if you buy one item from the bar menu, you get the second one free.
Dig into barbecue ribs "stolen" from Bev's Hali'imaile General Store, trio of crab cake sliders, kalua pork nachos, seared ahi poke and chicken wings tossed in sweet chile sauce with chopped fresh cilantro and dry-roasted cashews.
The basket of truffle-parmesan popcorn is crunchy and addicting; and bowls of chile garlic edamame, fries and onion rings are all perfect for sharing.
"I'm just having fun in the kitchen right now," says Beverly. "The business is taking a back seat. Dinner is going to change next week. I'll expand the menu and add some new specials."
General Manager Rebecca Schillaci says that SeaWatch caters to an interesting mix of people. "We see golfers, the 'Wailea crowd,' ladies who lunch, corporate business and walk-in brides," she says.
Back by popular demand, Restaurant Week Wailea will draw in diners Nov. 8 to 14 at participating restaurants in the resort with three course, prix-fixe meals for either $29 or $39 per person.
SeaWatch will participate for the first time with a $39 menu that includes a salad of grilled pineapple with red-and-yellow pear tomatoes with curried-chicken won tons and citrus-chile dressing.
The entree is filet of beef with shiitake mushroom ragout and crab-stuffed jumbo prawn in lemon-ginger cream sauce with wasabi potato cake. Dessert will be coconut dream delight.
"It feels great to participate," says Joe. "We'll welcome all of Beverly's fans here with open arms. And, our Joe's in Wailea will offer $29 meals."
But the biggest news of all is that Beverly will headline the 19th annual San Francisco Zinfandel Festival (ZAP) Jan 28 to 30. More than 250 wineries from across California will pour their zin barrel samples to 10,000 wine enthusiasts during three days at four locations.
"ZAP isn't your usual, stuffy, wine-snob event," says Alan Jahns of JMD Beverages, who plans to attend. "Ten-thousand zin crazies in San Francisco makes it a wine Woodstock! It's a lot of fun!"
Out of all the great chefs in San Francisco, Beverly will rise above them as the star of the event. But 50 city and wine country chefs will also participate.
"I'm a big fan of California zinfandel and I plan on blowing the attendees out of the water with my menus," says Beverly, who will also autograph her new cookbook there. "This year's Zin in Paradise theme allows me to expand the boundaries of Hawaiian cuisine and pair it with so many world-class zinfandels."
ZAP Board Treasurer and Auction Co-chairman John Hanhauser is a devoted fan of Beverly's cuisine. He owns home in Wailea and cares about things Maui, that's why the Maui Culinary Academy has been named a beneficiary of the event.
"Most of the grapes out there are really one dimensional, but zin is not," says John, the quintessential poster boy for the grape. "One of the people who has always been amazed by zinfandel is Beverly. She always says, 'It would be great with this dish or great with that dish.' "
"It's really an all-temperature wine. Alan Jahns sells the hell out of it here even though it's hot in Hawaii. ZAP brings it even more out of the closet. I think it would be a 'zin' to miss out on the festival and the other goings- on in Bev's world."