What is a "localvore," or "locavore"? you ask. It's basically a person who prefers to eat locally produced food as it supports the community.
Chef de Cuisine Isaac Bancaco of Grand Wailea is one such localvore. Born and raised Upcountry, this "Kula boy" will draw from the farming community of his roots by presenting a fresh-as-it-gets, farm-to-table menu at Humuhumunukunukuapua'a for one week starting Sunday.
Just come and dine any time during regular dinner hours and request the three-course feast. Cost is $59 per person, plus beverages, tax and tip.
Owner Geoff Haines (left) of Waipoli Farms in Upper Kula takes Chef de Cuisine Isaac Bancaco on a tour of his hydroponic lettuce farm. The large property produces 50,000 pounds of lettuce per month.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"It's really nice to see how enthusiastic and passionate chef Bancaco is," says Paula Rafanan, produce specialist for VIP Food Service, who took the chef on a tour of farms recently.
The tour began at Anuhea Farms in lower Kula, where the owner's asparagus-eating poi dog stole the show; then headed to Kula Country red strawberry farm, followed by Waipoli hydoponics; Watanabe processing plant; Otani Farms for a tour of broccoli and beans; CN Farms for baby micro greens; and Evonuk Farm for herbs.
"I grew up around here," says the chef. "I swam in the reservoirs, my dad worked at the Kula fire station, and my grandpa owned Kula Tru Value hardware store. This farm tour, and this farm-to-table menu that came out of it, are the catalysts for new menu items that I'll be implementing in Humuhumu the first week of April."
For the weeklong localvore menu, diners will get a choice of two appetizers, choice of two entrees and an organic dessert.
Begin with baby tatsoi with papaya, red radish and Kula onions tossed with house-made papaya seed vinaigrette; or martini of Olowalu tomatoes skewered with caper berries and mozzarella drizzled in basil sauce.
The entrees will be kalbi Muscovy duck with spring pea tendrils, Blue Lake beans and candied kumquats.
"The duck is like a spinoff on duck a la Orange. The pea tendrils are so tender, because they're picked before they mature into peas."
The other entree is opakapaka with blue spice, blue crab, baby spinach, Kula white corn grits and yuzu white-corn pico de gallo. "Blue spice is an actual herb that has tropical fruit and black pepper flavors to it. For our dessert, Pastry Chef Natalie Wilkenson will do peanut-butter caramel with local organic apple-banana brulee."
Grand Wailea's next farm-to-table menu will be at Molokini Bistro March 20 to 26.
For reservations, call 875-1234, ext. 4900.