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Endless summer of culinary events on horizon

June 29, 2011 - Carla Tracy

It’s amazing how many culinary festivals and events, both gourmet and affordable, are on the horizon for Maui and beyond.

Tickets just went on sale for Maui Calls, which will take you back to old Hawaii Friday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. under the coconut palms in Kahului. The signature benefit for Maui Arts & Cultural Center will dish up gourmet pupu by about a dozen of Hawaii’s top chefs, fine wines, silent and live auctions and dance music by Jimmy Mac and the Kool Kats. Call 242-7469 or visit

Now I hear the Invitation to Foodies: Taste of Hawaii is targeted to take place Sept. 2, 3 and 4 at Makena Beach & Golf Resort. This culinary event will explore Hawaii’s farm-to-table movement, our agricultural history and cuisines created by talented chefs who are as passionate about their profession as they are about sharing their knowledge about food,” says Liam Mayclem, host.

You may attend gourmet wine dinners, cooking demos, seminars and the Grand Tasting — with the big-bang finale of a fireworks show.

Featured chefs include Beverly Gannon of Hali‘imaile General Store, Ryan Luckey of Pineapple Grill at Kapalua, James McDonald of I’o, Brian Etheredge of Capische? and Marc McDowell, executive chef of host hotel Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

Po‘okela Church will host a own bazaar Saturday, July 2 in Makawao with plate lunches, drinks, Chinese pretzels, baked goods, jams, rummage items, silent auction, flowers, vegetables and children’s games. It’s located at 200 Olinda Rd. . . July 3, the Makawao Hongwanji Mission will have a bazaar and garage sale from 7 a.m. to noon with chow fun, sushi, bentos, pickled peaches, plants, vegetables and plenty of other ono food. Call 572-7229. . .

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island will present an All-American July 4th Celebration on its North Point Lawn from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday. The fireworks display will light up the night sky at 8:30 p.m. Dig into a massive buffet with garden salads, fire and ice seafood temptations, barbecue pit, soups, bread and all of the fixings, keiki fare and desserts.

Highlights are oysters Rockefeller, slow-baked potato salad with smoked bacon, chives and sour cream dressing; grilled baby lamb rack with summr watermelon and mint salsa and feta cheese; Hilo corn on the cob with Tabasco butter; and an ice cream sundae bar. Cost is $75 adults; and $38 children 5 to 12.

North America’s largest specialty food show is just weeks away. This year, the Fancy Food Show ill be staged in Washington D.C. July 10 to 12. We also hear the Vermont Cheese Festival will be held in the quaint town of Websterville, VT on July 24.

The Merriman’s Education Foundation proudly offers annual scholarships for students studying the culinary arts in Hawaii. On Friday July 15th. Merriman’s Waimea restaurant will host a fundraising dinner to support Merriman's Culinary Scholarship. The evening will be a toast to Hawaii's culinary students where 10 percent of all dinner sales will be donated to Merriman's Culinary Scholarship Fund, a 501-C3 organization. In addition, all bottles of wine will all be 50 percent off all night long. Reservations are recommended. Call (808)-885-6822.

There’s only two days left to take advantage of early-bird rates at the 6th annual International Chefs Congress in New York City. It will be held Oct. 2 to 4 at the Park Avenue Armory.

ICC is a three-day culinary symposium where more than 70 of the world's most influential and innovative chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers present the latest techniques and culinary concepts to their peers. In addition to inspirational main stage presentations and the products fair, the ICC offers hands-on savory, pastry, and mixology workshops, as well as wine and business seminars, career counseling sessions, and expert panels on current industry topics. ICC attendees leave with new ideas, a stack of business cards, and a reminder of why they love doing what they do.

Heavy-hitting presenters will include Chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Craig Hopson of Le Cirque, and Ron Paprocki of Gordon Ramsay at the London; and authors Bill Kim of UrbanBelly; and Francois Chartier of Molecurles and Taste Buds. This year’s theme is “The Sixth Sense: Intuition, Emotion and Experiential Evolution in Dining.” Visit for tickets.

Produced in conjunction with the Hawaii Coffee Association, the 62 annual Coffee Fest will be held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village July 8 to 10. Exhibition booths will represent everything found on either side of the counter in an upscale coffee shop, including the counter. If it looks like coffee, smells like coffee, tastes like coffee or goes good with coffee, chances are good it will be on display.

Specialty coffee and tea professionals/businesses from all over the region and the world are expected to visit Coffee FestHawaiito discover new and exciting products and services, as well as learn about the latest retail and production java trends.

The first Saturday of every month, you may hop aboard the new “Chef Shuttle” at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Sous Chef and local boy Jayson Kanekoa takes guests to the local farmers market in Waimea. You will talk story with local farmers and vendors to purchase the freshest produce and seasonal items, which will be taken back to the resort to be prepared and enjoyed that evening at the resort’s Hawaii Calls Restaurant & Lounge.

Chef’s Shuttle” is a package in which you get to also enjoy the resort’s award-winning Royal Luau, which features traditional and contemporary Hawaiian cuisine, an open bar, and lively Polynesian entertainment.

“It’s the behind-the-scenes look at Farm to Table cuisine that most guests aren’t able to experience elsewhere,” said Bill Countryman, general manager of Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. For more details, visit

Rootstock: A New Wine Country Festival shows what is hot in the world of culinary entertainmentfrom 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the new Santa Rosa Vintners Square, an urban village of small artisan wineries and shops, in Northern California.

The inaugural West of West Wine Festival is about to put the tiny coastal hamlet of Occidental, Calif., on the map. Scheduled for August 5-7, the event will showcase wineries and growers on Sonoma’s coastline, and will feature the area’s revered cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.

The weekend begins Friday, Aug. 5, with winemaker dinners in the homes or wineries of such West Sonoma Coast talents as Failla, Freeman Winery, Freestone Vineyards, Littorai, Peay Vineyards, and Red Car. On Saturday, it’s on to seminars about wine and the area’s history, plus a grand tasting of more than 30 boutique producers, many of them undiscovered even to the most knowledgeable of oenophiles. The day wraps up with a “whole hog feast” at the Union Hotel, centered around locally raised heritage pigs, slow-cooked and carved by Zazu’s Duskie Estes and John Stewart. For the Sunday finale, wineries will throw open their doors for barrel tastings. For tickets and more information, please visit

The inaugural Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is scheduled for September 29 through October 1, 2011 on Oahu. Featuring a roster of internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities and wine and spirit producers, and co-chaired by two of Hawai`i’s own James Beard award-winning chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the three-day event in Honolulu will showcase dishes using the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry.

“Visitors come to Hawai`i for natural beauty, diverse experiences and our ‘Aloha spirit,’ ” says Yamaguchi. “We want to make sure that Hawai`i’s cuisine – and our philosophy for using the freshest and most prized food ingredients prepared with creative Asian and European culinary techniques – joins this list of attractions.”

The roster of other stellar participants includes Hubert Keller, Guy Rubino, Celestino Drago, Ric Moonen, Douglas Rodriguez, Dean Fearing and more. This Festival will be an annual event attracting foodies from all over the world and hopefully foodies from Maui and the Neighbor Islands!

Of course, there are even more food events on the horizon and I’ll be happy to share and information comes my way via emails and press releases.


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Hop aboard new Chef Shuttle with Sous Chef Jayson Kanekoa