JUICY NEWS . . .Yes, this column will once again talk about Sheldon Simeon, former Star Noodle chef who catapulted to international acclaim by making it to the final stage of "Top Chef" last season on the Bravo cable channel.
Simeon will be guest chef at two upcoming benefit dinners in Lahaina. The first will be Aug. 24 at Mala Ocean Tavern. The second will be Aug. 28 at its adjoining sister restaurant, Honu Seafood & Pizza.
"The dinners will benefit the Lahaina Skate Park. Mala and Honu recently installed a drinking fountain, and we want to continue to make the park a better park for all to enjoy," says owner Mark Ellman. "The dinners will also benefit Punana Leo O Maui - which is a Hawaiian language immersion school."
Mixologist Chandra Lucariello will present a cocktail class from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 as a launch to Ka‘anapali Fresh festival weekend. Cost is $26 for those 21 and older. For tickets, call 661-3271.
Kaanapali Fresh photo
Of course, with Simeon's appearances in Lahaina as well as his guest chef spot with Ellman at Shep Gordon's house as part of an upcoming auction item for Maui Calls, are causing rumors to swirl that he will soon be named a chef at Mala Wailea, where Gordon is the managing partner, and Ellman is the chef partner.
We also hear Mike Myers filmed a movie about Gordon that will premier at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 9, and then be picked up by A&E channel. Called, "Super Mensch, The Legend of Shep Gordon: Sex, Drugs and Casseroles," it's about his career from being a rock concert impressario to managing chefs.
Last but not least, Simeon will appear at Malama Maui on Sept. 1 at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali as part of Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.
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Held in conjunction with the Ka'anapali Fresh event, it will feature six renowned chefs. But Simeon isn't the only one who's appeared on "Top Chef." Marcel Vigneron and Rick Tramonto and festival co-chairs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong - have all been contestants or judges on "Top Chef" or "Top Chef Masters!"
BITS AND PIECES . . . Speaking of Ka'anapali Fresh, it kicks off Friday, Aug. 30, at Royal Lahaina Resort with a mixology class with refreshing cocktails by Chandra Lucariello.
"It is just as important to embrace farm-to-table elements at the bar as it is in the dining room," she says.
Akaku Maui Community Television will party down from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday with its annual Maui Walk of Heroes event at its mall on Dairy Road in Kahului. Comic Andy Bumatai will emcee, outstanding citizens will be honored, and musicians George Kahumoku Jr. and others will perform.
Food by Akaku mall restaurants Wowee Maui, Ren's Sushi Bar, Amigo's Mexican eatery and Ululani Shave Ice will be plentiful. Vendors will include Brazilian flavors by Giuliana Dal Soglio, Pan's Thai Food, and candy by Maui Fruit Jewels. All three vendors are at Upcountry Farmers Market (near Long's) Saturday mornings.
Tonight at 6, Orin Swift winery, creator of The Prisoner, which many call "cougar Koolaid," and SloDown Wines will be presented at a special winemaker dinner at Pulehu, an Italian Grill in Kaanapali.
SloDown has a hot new wine called "Sexual Chocolate." "I can confirm there's no chocolate in this wine, but still waiting on finding any sex," says Alan Jahns, who will bring these wineries to Maui Calls on Friday (see Dining, for more details). By the way, SloDown's Bo Silliman is a board-certified wynecologist.
Andaz Maui's website says the resort will be open Aug. 15 in Wailea. Mixologist-consultant Julie Reiner has just arrived on island, New York bartender Fernando Sousa is shaking it up, and wine director is Maui's Greg Shepherd. Ka'ana Kitchen and Lehua Lounge will start packing 'em in, but Morimoto's will come later.
DUO Steak and Seafood at Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea will bring in Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen in New York City as guest chef on Aug. 16 and 17. No stranger to accolades, Kluger was voted Best New Chef by Food & Wine and Time Out New York, and ABC got a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.
"I'm excited to show Chef Kluger the vibrant produce our island has to offer, and to have the opportunity to swap ideas with such a master of the trade," says Four Seasons Maui's Executive Chef Roger Stettler.
I'm sad to report the new Kahana Grill has closed. It had so much heart with a stellar staff. But the Tortuga Maui sign is up at the Maui Mall and it should open in September with Mexican fare in Central Maui.
The racehorse, Irish Ninja, is hot to trot at the Del Mar racetrack today, representing Mulligan's on the Blue in Wailea. Sexy, huh?