Many of us prefer an elegant sit-down event with servers catering to our every whim at our table.
Others among us like to socialize and rub elbows in a walkabout, getting to choose what we like to eat and drink at the various food and wine stations.
This year, the 15th annual Noble Chef will be a happy marriage of both. It's also for a noble cause, as it's the signature fundraiser for Maui Culinary Academy at University of Hawaii Maui College in Kahului.
Executive Chefs Tylun Pang of the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui (left) and Roger Stettler of the Four Seasons Resort Maui, (right) flank four Maui Culinary Academy students at The Class Act restaurant last week as they plan the upcoming Noble Chef event. The student chefs are Jaren Agbannaoag (from left), Kendra Carter, Val Versola and Krystine Nakano. The students will work with these top chefs and others to prepare the Noble Chef menu. Stettler is on the committee with Pang to take the event “to the next level.”
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
As usual, the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui in Wailea will set the stage Saturday, Oct. 22, with the reception kicking off at 5:30 p.m. outside the ballroom.
"For us at the Fairmont, we continue to support the event because it's important to the industry," says Executive Chef Tylun Pang. "Not only the culinary side but the service side.
"It's Maui Culinary Academy's biggest fundraiser, and we're always proud to have it here, year after year."
* What: Maui Culinary Academy's 15th annual Noble Chef: A Food Affair fundraising gala.
* Where: Fairmont Kea Lani Maui resort in Wailea.
* When: Saturday, Oct. 22. The reception kicks off at 5:30 p.m., dinner follows at 7 p.m., and a lavish dessert buffet extravaganza tops it all off at 8:30 p.m.
* Highlights: Reception appetizers cooked by eight top Maui chefs with the help of student chefs, fine wines, champagne and martinis by Ocean Vodka are only part of the fun. Then you sit down to two gourmet courses in the ballroom and top it all off with an extravagant dessert buffet by visiting chef, Stanton Ho.
* Cast your vote: Write down your favorite appetizer and the winner will be announced onstage.
* Auctions: The live auction will be shortened to 15 minutes this year. There will be a silent auction, too, with sailing adventures, luxury hotel stays, home dinner parties by Maui chefs and much more.
* The cost: Tickets are $150 per person. Or buy a table of 10 with two levels of sponsorship, which includes the dinner, reception fare, cocktails, wine, tax and tip.
* For reservations: Call Marilyn Fornwall of UH Foundation at 984-3261 or email her at email@example.com.
At the reception, attendees will be treated to eight different food stations by some of Maui's top chefs, as well as an array of fine wines by Young's Market Co. Each chef will mentor a team of students for two days, letting it do prep work and help out at its food booth.
Highlights include Ocean Vodka martinis, silent auction items, and gourmet pupu such as scallop and dashi shots by Chef Sheldon Simeon of Star Noodle.
Chef Ryan Urig of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will make ahi carpaccio; Chef Ryan Ferguson of Leilani's on the Beach will do lamb lollipops; and James McDonald of I'o and Pacific'o will make beet arancini with goat cheese and more.
Peleg Miron of Spago will do Muscovy duck confit with local chives, Aina Farms honey-whipped cream and Hudson Valley duck egg. Other reception chefs are Lyndon Honda of Maui Brewing Co.; Samuel Faggetti of Four Seasons Resort Maui; and Vincent DeRosa of Picasso's Cafe, Bakery and Catering Co.
After sampling the appetizers, you may cast your vote for your favorite and the top team will win an award onstage.
Then move inside the ballroom and sit down to a two-course feast by four of the MCA chef instructors.
Jake Belmonte and Craig Omori will make Keahole lobster terrine with Hawaiian vanilla creme fraiche; and Tom Lelli and Kyle Kawakami will slow braise natural prime beef short rib with fresh local root vegetables, soft polenta, horseradish cream and pine-nut gremolata.
Then celebrity Pastry Chef Stanton Ho will team with Maui chef instructors Teresa Shurilla and Chelsie Higgins to do a dessert buffet with two action stations, 21 assorted confections and six chocolates.