Project Kokua

20 Maui chefs cook for Kauai, Hawaii Island benefit on Sunday at Maui Tropical Plantation

Executive Chef Jeff Scheer (in photo) of Maui Tropical Plantation will host 19 peers such as Alvin Savella of The Banyan Tree and Kaipo Nakata of Sansei. Photos courtesy Project Kokua

Twenty Maui chefs are organizing a culinary fundraiser to support Kauai and Hawaii Island neighbors, friends, family and farmers suffering from damage from the recent natural disasters on both islands. Project Kokua for Kauai & Hawaii Island will take place at Maui Tropical Plantation from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Project Kokua evolved through the efforts of Executive Chef Lyndon Honda of Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and Lisa and Halemanu Villiarimo. Lisa is owner of Aloha Lifestyle consulting company. Halemanu is an entertainer who will perform at the event along with being a 2018 Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner for Island Music Album of the Year.

“Hawaii is a unique place — though not connected by land, we are connected in our aloha, our desire to want to help one another and our way of life. In a time like this, we all come together to kokua where we are able,” Chef Honda explains.

Come and support the cause and savor a tasty sampling of dishes by top chefs and restaurants from across the island of Maui. Tickets are $60 per person, which includes the chef tasting stations and entertainment by Halemanu. The evening also features a silent auction, and parking for the event is complimentary. All proceeds raised will go towards relief efforts distributed through Rotary Lahaina Foundation along with Malama Kauai and Rotary Club of Pahoa.

Some menu highlights include mojo verde seared tofu with crushed corn nuts and calamansi by organizer chef Honda; Kinilaw, a Filipino-style ceviche, by Chef Abby Ferrer of Star Noodle; crispy five-spice duck buns by Alvin Savella of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s The Banyan Tree; shrimp tempura hand roll by Kaipo Nakata of Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Kapalua; cured hamachi with angel-hair pasta salad by Ikaika Manuka and Gemsley Balagso of Westin Nanea Ocean Resort Villas; and imu- smoked butternut tarts with kiawe-bean streusel and whipped cream by Ed Morita of Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop in Olowalu. There are literally too many chefs and dishes to mention here.

Alvin Savella

In April, Kauai was hit with disastrous flooding. The livelihoods of many residents were greatly affected as flash floods tore through the land, causing chaos and devastation. Much was devastated, leaving thousands without power and water for days.

On Hawaii Island, lava eruptions from Kilauea volcano continue to ravage the eastern region, with over 600 homes destroyed as there continues to be devastation to land, crops and businesses. On both islands, families and businesses are in need of financial assistance in order to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding. Event organizers hope to raise more than $30,000.

• The details: Benefit runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu. Cost of $60 includes tastings, music and silent auction. For tickets, visit

Kaipo Nakata