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‘Maui RSVP’ Dining Discount Supports Local Youth

May 13, 2016, 2:03 PM HST · Updated May 17, 5:04 AM
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Award-winning Chef Paris Nabavi has launched a new, semiannual dining promotion called Maui RSVP (Restaurants Support Vital Programs) to raise money for eight Maui nonprofits that focus on youth in agriculture, arts, education, and wellness.

For a 10-day period from May 27 to June 5, 2016 participating restaurants will each offer a 50% discount on selected entrees between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Chef Nabavi would like to get as many restaurants and food industry partners to participate in the program. Currently, the early participants include Cane & Canoe at Montage Kapalua, Joey’s Kitchen at Whalers Village, Oceanside at Ma’alaea Harbor Shops, Pūlehu, an Italian Grill, at The Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Sangrita Grill & Cantina in Kā‘anapali, Taverna in Kapalua Resort, The Mill House at Maui Tropical Plantation and Three’s Bar & Grill in Kīhei.

Businesses, individuals and industry partners like distributors and wholesalers can join the program at levels ranging from $1,000 to $1,500.  Their contributions will be donated directly to the Nabavi Legacy Fund, with 60% to Grants Central Station for annual distribution, 25% Endowment and 15% for ongoing, annual marketing, administration and grant management by Grants Central Station. Maui RSVP will run again in fall, from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, 2016.

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Beneficiaries of the Nabavi Legacy Fund are: Book Trust, Grow Some Good, Imua Family Services, Kids Cook / Teens Cook with Heart, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Maui Culinary Academy, Maui Food Innovation Center, and Maui School Garden Network. The Fund, managed by Grant Central Station, will be distributed to the beneficiaries annually.

“I believe supporting these eight organizations is truly vital to the Maui community,” Chef Nabavi says. “They share a common thread in that they each provide unique services and opportunities to our children, who are the future of our island. Whether it’s nutrition and cooking, education, arts or support services, these groups are dedicated to enhancing lives and empowering Maui’s youth for generations to come.”

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    Fresh benefits from Grow Some Good, a nonprofit that will receive help from the RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Fresh benefits from Grow Some Good, a nonprofit that will receive help from the RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Student farmers and learners from Grow Some Good, which will benefit from the RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Student farmers and learners from Grow Some Good, which will benefit from the RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Three's sign welcomes you in Kihei. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Three’s Bar & Grill in Kīhei will offer the Maui RsVP discount, May 27 to June 5 between 5 and 8 p.m. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Sashimi platter, behind Kumumoto oysters and a jalapeño sushi roll. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Sashimi platter, fresh oysters and a jalapeño sushi roll at Three’s in Kīhei. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Kids take to the stage at Maui Academy of Performing Arts, one of the nonprofits that will receive Maui RSVP funding. Courtesy photo.

    Kids take to the stage at Maui Academy of Performing Arts, one of the nonprofits that will receive Maui RSVP funding. Courtesy photo.

    Menu at Taverna in Kapalua Resort, among the restaurants that will offer the RSVP discount. Courtesy photo.

    Menu at Taverna in Kapalua Resort, among the restaurants that will offer the RSVP discount. Courtesy photo.

    Anti Pasti "share plate" at Taverna, one of the restaurants taking part in RSVP. Courtesy photo.

    Anti Pasti “share plate” at Taverna, one of the restaurants taking part in RSVP. Courtesy photo.

    New Poke Flights launched at Cane & Canoe in Kapalua. Courtesy photo.

    Poke flights at Cane & Canoe in Kapalua, involved in the Maui RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Imua Preschool keiki, who will be helped through the Maui RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Imua Preschool keiki, who will be helped through the Maui RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Indoor and outdoor dining spaces at Oceanside in Māʻalaea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Indoor and outdoor dining spaces at Oceanside in Māʻalaea, among the restaurants supporting Maui RSVP. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Shrimp spaghettini at Oceanside in Māʻalaea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Shrimp spaghettini at Oceanside in Māʻalaea. Photo by Kiaora Bohlool.

    Maui Food Innovation Center, which will see support thanks to Maui RSVP. Courtesy photo.

    Maui Food Innovation Center, which will see support thanks to Maui RSVP. Courtesy photo.

    Pūlehu, an Italian Grill, one of the Maui restaurants offering a New Year's Eve dinner. Courtesy photo.

    Pūlehu, an Italian Grill, one of the Maui restaurants that will offer the RSVP discount. Courtesy photo.

    "Saladbration" at Maui School Garden Network, one of the groups reaping the benefits of RSVP. Courtesy photo.

    “Saladbration” at Maui School Garden Network, one of the groups reaping the benefits of RSVP. Courtesy photo.

    Students in action with Maui School Garden Network. Courtesy photo.

    Students in action with Maui School Garden Network. Courtesy photo.

    Chef Paris Nabavi from Sangrita Grill + Cantina. Photo courtesy of Sangrita Grill + Cantina.

    Chef Paris Nabavi from Sangrita Grill + Cantina has launched Maui RSVP to help local youth. Courtesy photo.

    Sangrita Grill + Cantina in Kāʻanapali will host a Dia De Los Muertos event to benefit Imua Family Services. Photo courtesy of Sangrita Grill + Cantina.

    Sangrita Grill + Cantina in Kāʻanapali will take part in the Maui RSVP program. Courtesy photo.

    Chef Nabavi calls this legacy a dream project. A classically-trained chef with numerous awards to his name, Nabavi says he has always loved the fresh

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    ingredients and spices of his native Persian cuisine, as well as Mexican food. Inspired to share healthy dining options on Maui, he opened his own restaurants, starting with Pizza Paradiso Mediterranean Grill in Honokowai in 1998. Cilantro Mexican Grill opened in 2004 and quickly became so popular it outgrew its Lahaina space. His newest venture is Sangrita Grill + Cantina in Kā‘anapali, an upscale cantina that opened in 2014.

    Part of Nabavi’s mission is to change the way that children eat through education and engagement in healthy eating habits, starting with their early experiences in school programs. That’s why he and his wife Donna have personally supported Maui School Garden Network in sponsoring their organic seed needs and teaching students how to grow their own food in sustainable school gardens; and Grow Some Good in their efforts to create hands-on, outdoor learning experiences that connect students to their food sources and inspire better nutrition choices.

    Now through the broader reach of Maui RSVP, the Nabavi Legacy Fund will benefit a wider range of beneficial programs. Older students gain inspiration and critical job training through Maui Culinary Academy at UH Maui College, preparing students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in hospitality, while continuing to instill the value of thoughtful food preparation.

    Maui families benefit from the immeasurable support given by Imua Family Services, which provides early childhood development services to children and families, giving them a solid foundation from which to grow.

    As they progress through school, Book Trust empowers children to choose and own books, inspiring a passion for reading and lifelong learning.

    Kids Cook With Heart / Teens Cook With Heart is the first American Heart Association (AHA) kids program in the nation to integrate hands-on healthy cooking and nutrition with cardiovascular health education that aims to decrease child obesity in the US.

    At Maui Academy of Performing Arts, young people are encouraged to actively express themselves through dance, movement and drama.

    The Maui Food Innovation Center seeks expand Maui’s agricultural industry while creating new businesses by connecting Maui farmers and entrepreneurs to produce new, value-added products.

    By helping all of these nonprofits to educate and nourish Maui’s children, Chef Nabavi hopes to bring healthy eating, sustainable growing practices and pure enjoyment back into the way we eat, starting with Maui’s future: our keiki.

    The Maui RSVP program is being marketed through a $20,000 grant from the Makana Aloha Foundation, through promotions that encourage residents and visitors to take advantage of biannual Maui RSVP dining options. Media organizations Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine, Pacific Media Group, Paradise Television and Edible Hawaiian Islands have agreed to promote the program and its participants through advertising, PSAs and social media.

    To participate or donate to Maui RSVP, contact Charlene Ka’uhane via email. For more information, please visit MAUI RSVP on Facebook and Instagram.

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