Maui Restaurants & Chefs Honored at ‘Aipono Gala
Three Tri-Star restaurants took top honors in dining awards at the 14th Annual ‘Aipono Restaurant Gala, held on Sunday, April 10 at Grand Wailea Resort.
Nick’s Fishmarket Maui won Gold for Best Service and Silver for Best Wine List. Son’z Steakhouse won Silver for Best Steak and Sarento’s on the Beach earned a Silver award for Most Romantic Setting. Tri-Star President and CEO, Aaron Placourakis, was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the prestigious award banquet. Placourakis received the award not only for his role in Maui’s fine dining realm for nearly 20 years, but also for his impact on the community and support of local companies and organizations. He has provided jobs to hundreds of food and beverage employees across his five restaurants.
Tri-Star restaurants have received numerous ‘Aipono honors every year since the awards began. Tri-Star Restaurant Group oversees restaurants on the islands of Maui and Oahu; Nick’s Fishmarket Maui at world-renowned Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Manoli’s Pizza Company in Wailea, Sarento’s on the Beach in Kihei, Sarento’s Top of the “I” in Waikiki and Son’z Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kā‘anapali.
‘Aipono combines the Hawaiian words ‘ai (food) and pono (excellence) to encompass the theme of exceptional dining. Sponsored by Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine, the ‘Aipono Restaurant Awards annually recognize the best of Maui’s food, wine and hospitality industries as determined by ballot by the readers of Maui No Ka ‘Oi.
Here are some of the top results for 2016:
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
CHEF OF THE YEAR
CHEF MIKE LOFARO | HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUĀPUAʻA
MAUI COUNTY FARM BUREAU’S FRIEND OF AGRICULTURE
CHEF PERRY BATEMAN | MAMA’S FISH HOUSE
EXCELLENCE IN SUSTAINABILITY
THE WESTIN MAUI RESORT & SPA
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
AARON PLACOURAKIS, PRESIDENT & CEO, TRI-STAR RESTAURANT GROUP
See the full award results here.
More than 400 restaurant professionals and industry supporters attended the 2016 ‘Aipono Gala, a fundraiser for the Maui Culinary Academy at the University of Hawai‘i–Maui College.
Since 2003, the annual ‘Aipono Awards and the bimonthly ‘Aipono Wine Dinner Series have raised more than $220,000 for the Academy and the students who will be tomorrow’s culinary leaders. The event also provides a rare mentoring opportunity for those students, who spend the day of the gala working side-by-side with professional chefs in a real-world restaurant environment.