Maui Food and Dining

Maui Ag Festival and Grand Taste Event Offer Foodie Fun

April 1, 2014, 1:39 PM HST
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By Vanessa Wolf

Chefs Luckey, Simeon, Pang and Faivre. Courtesy image

Chefs Luckey, Simeon, Pang and Faivre. Courtesy image

This Saturday, April 5, 2014, the 7th annual Maui County Agricultural Festival (MCAF) once again celebrates farming’s role in Maui’s economy, environment, and lifestyle.

This year, the festival welcomes star chefs John Jackson, Connie DeSousa and Jessica Pelland and Pierre Lamielle from CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Lamielle is currently on Top Chef Canada and he and Pelland are scheduled to appear on the show “Chopped” in May and June, respectively.

The chefs are on Maui for a chef exchange and will partner with Sheldon Simeon, Migrant/Mala Wailea; Eric Faivre, Grand Wailea; Tylun Pang, The Fairmont Kea Lani and Ryan Luckey of Leilaniʻs on the Beach.


The festival offers some chef-specific entertainment.

  • 11:15 a.m. – Perry Bateman of Mamaʻs Fish House is demonstrating Poi and Poke.
  • 12:15 p.m. – John Jackson and Connie DeSousa of CHARCUT Roast House Calgary, Alberta are demo’ing Portuguese Sausage and Poutine.
  • 1 p.m. – John Cadman of Maui Breadfruit Institute will try to convince you that ʻulu is delicious.

Simultaneously, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the Grand Taste Event.

In partnership with Slow Food Maui, this year’s theme honors the culinary influences of the first immigrant laborers to Maui. Chefs will prepare dishes showcasing Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Portuguese and Hawaiian cuisine

Chef Eric Faivre and Farmer Heidi Watanabe of Watanabe Processing pair up to create the Korean- influenced Chap Chae with Crispy Pork Belly in Heidi’s Manoa Lettuce Cup with an assortment of kim chee featuring won bok, cabbage, daikon and cucumber, while Chef Jojo Vasquez of The Plantation House and Farmer James Simpliciano of SimpliFresh are presenting Korean-influenced Goguma-Bap Sweet potato rice.


Meanwhile, Chef Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa and Farmer Noel Escobedo of Escobedo Farms pulled the Phillipines card. They are making Tortang Talong with a Kare-Kare Ragout Escobedo Farm’s eggplant omelet “Phillipines Style” with a ragout of the traditional oxtail peanut stew.

The team of Chef Tylun Pang and Farmer Fernando Traje of Traje Farms are dishing up the Filipino-influenced Zucchini and Shrimp Lumpia with Zucchini Achara, while Chef Isaac Bancaco of Kaʻana Kitchen at Andaz Maui and Farmer Chauncy Monden of Kula Country Farms whip up Portguese-influenced Malasadas with sour cream seeds, jam and “dust.”

But wait, there’s more!

Chef Sheldon Simeon together with Olowalu Nui Farm present Portuguese-influenced Olowalu Tomato, Confit Ahi Kama, Hawaiian Chili “Piri Piri” and Chourico.

At another makeshift kitchen somewhere nearby, Chef Marc McDowell of Makena Beach & Golf Resort along with Farmer Emanuela Vinciguerra of Kumu Farms are serving the Chinese-influenced Green Bean and Pork Potsticker with a fresh home-made green bean dumpling wrapper and firecracker slaw.

Also drawing the China card are Chef Wesley Holder of Pūlehu, at The Westiin Kāʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas and Farmer Jamie Shishido of J. Shishido Farm with their Kai Choi Lup Chong Manapua.

Had enough yet?

Well, that’s too bad as we have yet to inform you that Chef Bobby Masters of Hula Grill Kāʻanapali and Farmer Bryan Otani of B. Otani Farms are preparing the Japanese-influenced Chilled Japanese Cucumber Soup with Shichimi-cured ono pastrami.

Simultaneously, Chef Chris Schobel of Fat Daddyʻs BBQ along with Farmer Geoff Haines of Waipoli Hydroponic Greens will also be making a Japanese-influenced something or other (not yet defined) out of watercress.

Winding it up, Chef Jeff Scheer of Maui Executive and Farmer Gerry Ross of Kupaʻa Farm are serving Hawaiian-influenced Taro Steamed Sticky Bun and Taro Leaf Dash, and Chef John Cadman of the Maui Breadfruit Company and Farmer Ian Cole of the Breadfruit Institute will be dishing up ulu hummus on a Maui Taro Burger.

Tickets to the Grand Taste Event are $30 plus fees and are available online until midnight on April 3. Otherwise, they can be purchased for $35 at the event as room allows.

If you prefer to simply take in the festival, expect livestock from the Maui Cattle Company; music from Lehua Kalima, Shawn Pimental, Kaumakaiwa and Kalapana; horseback and tram rides; and face painting for the little ones (and maybe you grown-ups too. Who knows.)

In addition, you can meet Maui’s ag leaders and next generation of farmers, ranchers and educators; attend Maui’s largest farmers market and enjoy the tasty wares from a variety of food vendors.

Held at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapū, this year’s festival is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is expected to host over 8,000 people. As a result, Akina Aloha Tours will operate a complimentary shuttle between Baldwin High School and Maui Tropical Plantation from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Admission is $3 and free to those 21 and under.

Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information
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