On the Menu with Celebrations Catering
“I really wasn’t planning on doing this.”
These may seem like surprising words from one of Maui’s most reputable, well-known and successful chefs. But Beverly Gannon says she was most certainly NOT a chef when she moved here in 1980 with her husband and his youngest daughter.
“I was swimming and tanning and kind of cooking for her and myself,” she remembers, “and I just started going, ‘There has to be more!'”
Gannon had attended cooking school with a friend in London a few years prior, mainly because “we just wanted to live in London.” She said they had a great time, enjoying the region and taking classes at Le Cordon Blue.
“That gave me actual practical knowledge of how to cook; I was good at it and so was my friend,” says Gannon. “I never thought I would use it for business.”
But food remained a focus, especially after coming to Maui. Gannon started going to small local super markets like Ah Fook’s and O’oka and was fascinated by produce she’d never seen before.
“Wombok, bok choy, breadfruit, durian, you name it,” she explains. “So I started cooking at a friend’s house at the beach, putting good ingredients together. I came from Texas, so I have kind of a Tex-Mex background.”
Her creative culinary combinations caught the eye of friends, then friends of friends, then entertainment executives and professionals, and all of sudden, she was cooking for 300 at an oceanfront New Year’s Eve party!
So Gannon made a decision to evolve this fun hobby into a career, launching her catering company in 1984, and eventually opening Hali‘imaile General Store as an intended kitchen for the business. However, that took on a life of its own, and has maintained as a massively popular upcountry restaurant for nearly 30 years. Learn more in our video, History & Happy Hour at Hali‘imaile General Store.
Gannon is also one of the 12 original founders of the Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine Movement, which champions the concept of using fresh, local ingredients in island menus, rather than importing from outside the state.
Celebrations offers event planning services along with the quality food, whether it’s for two people or a crowd of thousands. It’s the longest-running catering company on Maui, and Gannon has remained at the helm for 34 years and counting! Hear more from Bev Gannon and her super staff in our video above.