UNCORKING SUMMER . . . It was a cloudy and breezy Saturday afternoon during the Maui AgFest & 4-H Livestock Fair in Wailuku. But things heated up as 13 top Maui chefs competed in the Grand Taste event to vie for first place in the Judges’ Choice and the Fan Favorite awards categories.
Pastry Chef Amber-Lynn Ching of Fairmont Kea Lani swept both awards with her dessert of Otani Farms’ Rainbow Carrot Macarons. Coming in second in the Judges’ Choice Awards was Executive Chef Abby Ferrer of Star Noodle with her mushroom cups with tofu and ssamjang sauce. Matt Dela Cruz of Humble Market Kitchin got second place in Fan Favorite for his kiawe tostadas with chorizo made of cauliflower and pickled pohole-fern-shoot salsa as components. Keep your fingers crossed that these dishes will turn up in their restaurants soon.
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival will be uncorked today through Sunday. Its main opening evening gala, the Grand Tasting — Kapalua Style will feature the rock stars of the wine world oceanfront at Montage Kapalua Bay on Friday. If you wear white, as is encouraged, you may want to sip a fine champagne instead of a pinot noir, or be very careful not to “swill and spill.” Besides wine, Bacardi and Patron are the liquor sponsors — and the Petrossian caviar station will take it over the top.
The Grand Tasting chefs will include former Spago Maui Executive Chef Cameron Lewark, who is now making quite the name for himself in San Francisco at his own
Heritage restaurant. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua will also have a booth showcasing its new poolside ‘Olu restaurant. And Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar as well as Tamura’s isle wine stores will also be on hand.
The Banyan Tree at the Ritz has opened just in time for the 38th annual KWFF. Tiki Hour from 5 to 6 p.m. daily lets you savor half off lite bites such as Pinoy-style barbecue of pork belly and spicy patis, farm-fed sushi with fresh Kula veggies and Moet Imperial by the glass. Also during the fest, Montage will excite with Sippin’ With the Somm from 6:30 to 8 p.m. today at its Hideaway Bar and the ongoing pop-up Rosé by the Bay at the Cliff House from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, Plantation House restaurant will present the Rombauer winemaker dinner. Call restaurants directly and/or visit www.kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com for more details.
National Donut Day observances in the Aloha State mark 102 years on Saturday. Select bakeries will celebrate from Kauai to the Big Island offering monetary donations to The Salvation Army. On Maui, participants are Zippy’s and Krispy Kreme.
Another big anniversary is the 127th annual Holy Ghost Feast in the Holy Ghost Mission in Kula from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and until 5 p.m. Sunday (when a free laulau meal will be served).
The 15th annual Wa’a Kiakahi Sailing Canoe Festival will make a colorful splash at Ka’anapali Resort from Friday to Sunday with six-member crews from all islands sharing their mana’o, or knowledge, of the ocean.
“It’s going to be happening right by Whalers Village, so it will be easy for people to enjoy restaurants there as well as get into sailing canoes with these highly skilled watermen and women,” says Ka’anapali Beach Resort Association Executive Director Shelley Kekuna. “The complimentary rides are based on wind and wave conditions, so people should try and get there early. It’s a super thrill to go out, and it’s a great family-friendly activity.”