Maui Food and Dining

Maui Culinary Academy in Alternative, Natural Food Program

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By Maui Now Staff

Chef Renee Loux. Courtesy image

Chef Renee Loux. Courtesy image.

As part of the “EdVenture” non-credit series, the Maui Culinary Academy and Maui College are launching the Food First Institute, a three-part series targeting individuals and professionals interested in expanding their knowledge and training in alternative, progressive and dietary-specific culinary arts.

Founded in collaboration with celebrated organic Chef Renée Loux and Maui Culinary Academy leader Chris Speere, the Food First Institute is “creating a home for alternative, health-supportive and natural gourmet foods, including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan (dairy-free), macrobiotics, raw foods and Hawaiian Regional Slow Foods.”

Organic chef, author, restaurateur and  television personality Renée Loux founded one of America’s first raw food restaurants: the Raw Experience opened in Haiku in 1996. Loux was also a founding partner of Mala Wailea and published the Gourmand Award-winning The Balanced Plate cookbook.

Three levels of courses will be offered on weekends in February. The lessons fuse classic cooking techniques with innovative culinary preparation, Eastern/Western nutrition, and alternative ingredients for specific dietary preferences to expand culinary repertoire and advance skill sets and direct services.

Roasted butternut squash soup. Courtesy image

Roasted butternut squash soup. Courtesy image.


Level One, this Saturday, Feb. 1 from 12 to 4 p.m. is aimed at individuals hoping to expand their culinary repertoire.


The demonstration-only class covers the essentials and skills to adapt familiar recipes with alternative ingredients and balance and boost flavors. Loux explains it’s “like watching the Food Network, only you can ask questions and sample the different food as well.”

Attendees can expect to learn and taste gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy-free recipes like Edamame Hummus with Brown Rice Tortilla Crisps, Gado Gado Salad with Ginger-Galangal Quinoa and Sprouted Brown Rice, and Renée’s Chocolate Avocado Mousse.

Level one is $114 plus a $39 material fee.


Level Two, held on Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is best suited for professionals & individuals with at least five years’ experience.

Level Two is is designed to advance skills in a holistic approach to clean, gourmet food and dietary-specific, health-supportive cuisine. The class is participatory and Loux explained that attendees will receive “qualified, hands-on training to approach classic dishes using alternative and innovative methods and ingredients, learn how to adapt recipes for specific dietary-preferences, and utilize techniques and recipe components to create other unique recipes.”

The (once again) gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy-free recipes include Creamy Tomato Bisque with Maui onions and Island Herbs, Kula Creamed Corn with shallots and thyme, Local Haricot Verts with Leeks and Tempeh Bacon and Chocolate Truffles.

Level Two is $249 plus a $69 material fee.

Courtesy image

Courtesy image.

Lastly, Level Three – held on Feb. 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – is limited to professional chefs hoping to advance their skills and services.

Speere explained the focus on culinary professionals stating”We want to have a trickle-down effect. We want to broaden the knowledge base at a professional level so that those chefs then spread what they learn to Maui residents and visitors.”

The recipes attendees can expect to learn over the course of the two days run the gamut and include fresh nut milks; Asian Lettuce Cups with Ali’i Mushrooms, Homemade Sriracha and Hoisin Sauce; Homemade dairy-free fermented cheeses, including Macadamia Nut “Goat Cheese” and Ricotta; Lilikoi Cheesecake with Almond Graham Crust and Gluten-free Baking, including a master Homemade Gluten-Free Baking Mix.

Level Three is $499 plus a $149 material fee.

Space is limited.

Call 808-984-3231 to register.

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