Michel Nischan has appeared on "Oprah." He opened the Dressing Room organic restaurant in Connecticut with Paul Newman. He's also written a New York Times best- selling cookbook.
Next week, the James Beard Award-winning chef will cook at Mala Wailea, known for its celebrity connections. You may enjoy his sustainable foods paired with organic wines by Mark Neal of Neal Family Vineyards of Napa at the ultraspecial sit-down affair, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 27.
"First, I have to say how pleased I am that Shep Gordon and Mark Ellman have arranged for me to come to one of the most beautifully abundant and environmentally sensitive places on earth," says Nischan. "I so love Maui and cannot wait to be there!"
Photo courtesy Mala Wailea
Acclaimed chef and best-selling cookbook author Michel Nischan relaxes with actor Paul Newman. Before Newman’s death they were partners in the Dressing Room, an organic restaurant in Connecticut.
For the dinner, Nischan will focus on Maui and Hawaii products while keeping true to his homegrown cooking style from the Dressing Room.
"I'll want to highlight how meaningful it was to have the privilege of partnering with Paul Newman. His belief in the environment, good humans and genuine philanthropy will inspire me until it's time for me to checkout," Nischan says.
"One of his favorites sounds low-tech, but is a delicious American classic - tomato soup with grilled cheese. We ran it during the summer when tomatoes were prime, but he loved it so much and begged us so regularly to keep it on the menu that we bought literally tons of heirloom tomatoes at end of season to vacuum pack and freeze so we could sell the soup through the winter."
At Mala Wailea, Nischan will feature the soup as well as Newman's all-time favorite, chopped salad.
"So the dinner does evoke some memories of Paul, what it was like to partner with him, and why he was so humanly important to us all," Nischan says. "I'm also going to use Maui grass-fed beef, which is a foundational premise for any sustainably-minded restaurant. I'm pairing this delicious local beef with Maui mushrooms, Molokai sweet potatoes (roasted and smashed with local creamed honey) and locally grown asparagus."
During the dinner, the chef will talk about his work as chief executive and president of Wholesome Wave (you may visit www.wholesomewave.org) and how, with Newman's help through a small founding grant, he now has programs in 18 states, 60 communities and over 160 markets. Basically, Wholesome Wave doubles the value of food stamps and other federal food assistance, when recipients use it to buy goods at farmers markets and farm stands that sell locally grown agricultural products.
"The program has had such an impact, it was specifically mentioned in the policy recommendations released last week by Michelle Obama in her White House Childhood Obesity Task Force Action Plan," says Nischan. "I will also sign copies of my new cookbook, 'Sustainably Delicious,' that I'll hand out to guests."
As for the wines, it doesn't get much better than those from Howell Mountain fruit, picked ripe in Napa Valley by Neal Family Vineyards.
"They are true leaders in the organic wine movement, following CCOF certified standards in all their vineyards," says Nischan. "They are also amazingly delicious and not easy to get. Mark Neal with be at Mala himself, which will be an honor and amazing treat. In short, the dinner is all about the delicious rewards of doing good by way of good local food, great friendships, beautiful locations we call home and solid human activity."
Cost of $85 (plus tax and tip) includes a signed cookbook. For reservations, call 875-9394.