Sure, the coconut palms will be swaying and you will get a fresh flower lei greeting - as usual.
But those who attend the 16th annual Maui Calls gala Aug. 12 at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului will notice a more fun vibe throughout.
"We've both been on the committee for years," says co-chair Tricia Shoemaker, who is heading up this year's event with Ilsa Mitchell Jencks.
New co-chairs Tricia Shoemaker (left) and Ilsa Mitchell Jencks flank longtime food chairman Eric Faivre, also executive chef of Grand Wailea. The team is planning for a fun-filled event.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Alan Jahns of JMD Beverages will bring in 15 top wineries, from Bonny Doon to Duckhorn.
photo courtesy THE MACC
Four Seasons Resort Maui Pastry Chef Rhonda Ashton-Chavez will delight dessert fans with lychee soda floats, Kula strawberry sorbet and green tea foam, and more.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"We've always loved Maui Calls as it's just a fabulous food and wine event. But we want to make it more fun."
So the ladies have conspired to make a few changes, to shake things up a bit, so the MACC's signature annual fundraiser is, well, more interesting.
"Since we have the Yokouchi Pavilion, a new space to play with, we'll have people enter from the side of the MACC that faces the college."
When: From 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12.
Where: At the Yokouchi Pavilion and the A&B Amphitheater at Maui Arts & Culture Center in Kahului.
What: The signature fundraiser for The MACC presents wines from 15 top wineries, gourmet food by 15 top chefs, desserts by three pastry chefs and Maui coffees. Farmers and fishmongers will be on hand.
What's more: Big on silent and live auction items, listen to Ahumanu and dance to Jimmy Mac & the Kool Kats. You must be 21 and older. The dress is aloha evening attire.
Individual tickets: $175, $195, $250 or $500. Or opt for tables of 10. Call the Box Office at 242-SHOW or order online at MauiArts.org.
Upon entering, you'll meander through a replica of a Hawaiian village, where you'll be dazzled with some Polynesian cultural demonstrations.
"We'll create a little Hawaiian village and that's where you will get your fresh flower lei greeting," says Shoemaker. "The theme is coconuts. The party will be under the new Yokouchi Pavilion and spill out onto the A&B Amphitheater lawn."
Of course, one of the big draws of Maui Calls is its auctions, both live and silent, but the latter has always been tucked away in the Schaefer International Art Gallery - out of sight and out of mind.
"Rather than bury the auction inside, we'll put it right out there under the pavilion for all to see," says Mitchell Jencks.
"Our auction items are really clever and fun this year," chimes in Shoemaker. "You may bid on a teppanyaki dinner cooked by a Kobe chef in the home of Jimmy and Honey Bun Haynes."
"Cake Bakery is doing desserts for 15 in your home and you get a martini party with Ocean Vodka. Artist Piero Resta will cook in the home of Casanova's owner Giovanni Steven Cappelli."
The list goes on and on, including a day at the Cliff House, a rare opportunity donated by Maui Land & Pineapple Co.; a golf game with Cecilio and Kapono; and a barbecue for eight people at the 5,000-foot-elevation on Kaonoulu Ranch.
Even the food and the wine aspect of Maui Calls has been kicked up a few notches this year. It's hard to believe it can get any better, but it will.
"We'll doing farm-to-table," says Mitchell Jencks. "Maui farmers will be here, and with the chefs, they'll be paired in pods with the winemakers."
"We hope people will take a little more time as they approach each pod to see how chefs have picked the best wines to pair with their farm-fresh foods."
Eric Faivre, the longtime food chair and the executive chef of the Grand Wailea, says "Farmers are just as important as chefs. It's a 50-50 deal. You can be a great chef, but if you don't have good product, then your end result will suffer."
Of course, there will be no "suffering" at Maui Calls!
"We'll have 18 chefs, paired with farmers or fishmongers and wineries. This year is the most successful to date. Each chef will do two dishes."
For instance, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar's Chef Kaipo Nakata (Kapalua) will pair with Maui Seafood. He'll wow the crowds with pan-roasted makajiki (a type of swordfish), with tempura of shishito pepper, kobocha pumpkin puree, Ho Farm tomatoes and sage butter.
Nakata's Sansei Kihei counterpart, Chef Laynie Dougher, will prepare porcini-seared Hawaiian ahi on shishimi-spiced baby bok choy with Hamakua Ali'i mushrooms and sweet ginger and cilantro aioli.
Chef James McDonald of Pacific'o and I'o will make O'o Farm salad with citrus vinaigrette and feta cheese; and seafood sausage over carrot risotto and herb oil. The farm exclusively supplies all of the food for his restaurants.
Hula Grill's Chef Christopher Schobel will pair with Pa'ina Farm to make fresh day boat scallops; and 10-hour duck confit with Asian pear chutney.
Grand Wailea's Chef de Cuisine Isaac Bancaco will team with Evonuk Farm of Kula for his mochiko-crisped veal cheek with lemongrass rouille and blue-spiced Wailea sun-dried tomatoes; and Keahole lobster and Australian black-truffle dumpling with fine herbs.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Chef Jojo Vasquez of the Banyan Tree restaurant will pair with We Farm in Kapalua. The Iron Chef protoge will make pickled We Farm carrots and radishes on Kurobuta pork belly; as well as a Surfing Goat Dairy cheese tart and truffles.
Other participants are Hula Grill, Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Plantation House, Roy's Kahana, Bev Gannon restaurants, Tommy Bahama Restaurant, David Paul's Island Grill and Spago Maui.
Of course, fun-loving oenophile Alan Jahns of JMD Beverages will do a bang-up job on the wines and the wineries for the third year.
"I always try to out do my previous year by adding some exciting new wineries to the lineup," he says. "Heidi Peterson-Barrett and her group of wineries will be represented, and I'm really excited to have other superstars in DuMOL, Chappellet, Merry Edwards and a hot new kid called Mi Sueno joining that group of first-timers in 2011!"
But some Maui Calls regulars want a taste of what they know.
"You can tell everybody not to worry!" urges Jahns. "Crowd favorites Duckhorn, Miner Family, Rombauer, Domaine Serene, Bonny Doon, Paradigm and Saintsbury will all be there again. And the owners of Landmark, Handley and Selby will all be working their own tables this year.
"When you combine the new superstar additions, with the list of top-flight returnees, 2011 is by far the best group of wineries I've ever put together for Maui Calls! "
"We'll also have pastry chefs on either side of the stage. Natalie Wilkinson, my pastry chef at the Grand Wailea, will bring liquid nitrogen for her fire and ice station. She'll make spicy passion sorbet on site with zesty meringue crisp for the 'ice,' and cool coconut lime brulee with mango mint salad for the 'fire' part of the station," says Faivre.
Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Villas will also make desserts, including fresh Kula strawberry shortcake with lemon mascarpone.
Maui Oma Coffee Roasting Co. will pair with top farmers Jeff Ferguson of MauiGrown, Ann Ashley and Rafael Escobar of Keokea Farm, and Bobby Becker of Maui Mountain. Sip and enjoy some of their gourmet java products.
"Relax to the sweet island sounds of Ahumanu and get up and dance to the rockin' tunes of Jimmy Mac and the Kool Kats," says the MACC's Carol Gentz, director of development. "Maui Calls is open to adults 21 years and older."
* For complete details on participating wineries, chefs, farmers and food offerings, visit Carla Tracy's As Maui Dines blogs at www.mauinews.com.