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Fairmont Kea Lani Maui chef donates cookbook proceeds to Maui Culinary Academy

June 23, 2011 - Carla Tracy

The Maui Culinary Academy and the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui resort in Wailea are longtime friends, continuing a strong 15-year partnership.

This partnership includes the annual Noble Chef fundraiser held on the resort grounds and in the ballroom, which raises significant money each year to support the culinary program. In addition, the resort employs MCA graduates in its kitchens.

“The latest result of this partnership is a cookbook written by Fairmont Kea Lani Maui’s Executive Chef Tylun Pang,” says Chris Speere, co-program coordinator for MCA. “ ‘What Maui Likes to Eat’ is the fourth book in the Likes to Eat series, which features dishes Chef Pang believes epitomize Maui’s culinary history.”

But the biggest news of all is that Pang is magnanimously donating 100 percent of his proceeds to the MCA program. Pang decided that if he was going to put the time into embarking on such a large project, he wanted to make sure something more came of it than just writing a book.

“With my connections to MCA, and the students, it made it a natural fit to donate the money. It was just the right thing to do,” he says.

The acclaimed chef personally selected MCA graduates already working in his kitchen at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui to help him with the project, and assigned each of them specific duties.

“Putting together a cookbook is a big project, and I needed and wanted to get the other chefs in our kitchen involved,” he says.

The book originally was planned to feature Maui’s favorite restaurants. But Pang found it difficult to get the chefs and owners to part with their proprietary recipes, so he changed the focus of the book and contacted other island chefs that had ties to MCA, asking them to participate.

“Chef Pang’s gesture is truly generous,” Speere says, “and remarkable considering the personal time and effort he committed to bring the book to fruition.”

Speere also looks up to Pang “as a mentor and an important resource to our program by keeping us in pace with the newest developments in our food and beverage industry. At Noble Chef, he allows MCA students the opportunity to showcase their newly developed skills alongside top chefs from our islands and across the nation. His book is yet another gift to the program.”

‘Pang’s proceeds from the book sales will be used in the Culinary Enrichment Fund that supports students in attending competitions, workshops, seminars or to purchase equipment to help maintain the excellence of the program. It also provides professional development funds for faculty.”

“The book is not only about Maui food but it’s also about the places and the people. I wanted it to be more then just a recipe book, it's a people book celebrating sustainable Maui grown ingredients, island fishermen, and da kine local folks,” says Pang.

Want to purchase a copy? “What Maui Likes to Eat” may be found at the Fairmont Kea Lan Maui, Costco, Borders, Long’s Drugs and more. It will also soon be available in the UH Maui College campus bookstore and the Pa’ina cafeteria there.


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Executive Chef Tylun Pang, left, gives a generous donation to Chris Speere of Maui Culinary Academy