Maui Food and Dining

Hawaii-Raised Chefs Create “Mauka to Makai” Dinner

September 3, 2013, 2:59 PM HST
* Updated September 3, 5:55 PM
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By Vanessa Wolf

ocean vodka chefs

Photo courtesy Ocean Vodka.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery is hosting a dinner for which the local chefs have foraged the ingredients in their dish.

Maui Chef Lyndon Honda says he conceptualized the upcoming “Mauka to Makai” event, inviting Hawaii-raised local chefs to contribute to the celebration of the abundance of locally-sourced food products in the area.

A benefit for the Maui Culinary Academy, 10 “island-grown” chefs are showcasing local products they have foraged, farmed, hunted, or otherwise retrieved from the sea, according to Ocean Vodka.

Celebrity Chef Sheldon Simeon is serving “The River,” a dish of fresh water prawns, guava and watercress.


Private Chef and Caterer Lyndon Honda is dishing out the “Mauka to Makai Plate” with Ocean Vodka farmed sugar cane, smoked wild boar, kim chee mango, limu kohu gel, and micro red vein sorrel. Honda will also be making ‘Ulu Salad with Ocean Vodka li hing mui beet juice, macerated and roasted ‘ulu (breadfruit), Maui Farm greens, tomato water, and a carrot chip.


Chef Chris Mahon of the Shark Pit Food Truck is presenting Roasted Venison mole tacos, on a homemade corn tortilla with German feta cheese and Olowalu heirloom tomato relish.

Chef Kyle Kawakami of the Maui Fresh Streatery Food Truck is making a Kona crab and Kula corn bisque with Ha’uke’uke Urchin Foam.

Not to be outdone, Chef James Simpliciano of Simpli-Fresh Farms is presenting a tako squid luau with a pa’i’ai (hand-pounded poi) chip, tako ink vinaigrette, and luau leaf.


An A’ama Crab poke tempura with kochujang, namasu, macadamia nut, and a tomato water shooter will be created by Chef Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Maui.

Maui Culinary Acadamy instructor Chef Jake Belmonte is preparing a torched aku crudo with a lilikoi cosmo emulsion, spiced ume gastrique, and foraged ocean salad.

Sticking with super local products, Chef Ryan Ferguson of Leilani’s on the Beach is frying akule (bigeye scad) and serving it over Pohole Fern salad and an uni foam.

Recent Mau Culinary Academy graduate Junior Chef Emily Laborte is presenting “halo halo cascaron” with plantain, jackfruit, ‘uala, azuki beans, coconut, and mochiko flour. Laborte is also serving up “Strawberries & Lemons” which features strawberry panna cotta, Meyer lemon curd, strawberry “caviar,” lemon peel confit, and a tumbleweed crisp.

Last but not least, Junior Chef Johanna Natividad of the Grand Wailea is creating coconut mochi with a chocolate center and lilikoi brown sugar glace, Hawaiian chocolate torte with a mochi crunch chocolate bottom alongside a papaya sorbet; and a pineapple ginger cheesecake.

Mauka to Makai is presented by Ocean Vodka and Hapa Events and Catering. The community dinner is one of Ocean Vodka’s first public events on their new Organic Farm and Distillery and will be the first event on the property at their new event space, The Point at Ocean Vodka Organic Farm & Distillery.

Despite the dinner’s location, it is an alcohol-free event and all ages are welcome.

Guests will be served specialty mocktinis by Garnish Events.

2013 Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winners slack key master Kevin Brown and slack key and guitar/ukulele master Benny Uyetake will be providing musical entertainment alongside and jazz saxophone master John Zangrando.

The event is from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 and tickets are $75 per person.

We welcome your feedback. Please let us know if you hear of any new restaurants opening or reopening, total menu overhauls, or simply know of a hidden treasure you want to share. Have a restaurant you want reviewed (or re-reviewed)? Drop us a line – Vanessa(

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