Maui Food and Dining

10th Annual Grand Taste Set for Maui AgFest

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Chef dish for the 10th-annual Grand Taste at Maui County Agfest on June 1, 2019. Courtesy photo.

Come June 1, one of the island’s most beloved events takes place at a new venue, at a new time of year, and with a stellar line up of Maui chefs. It’s the “10 Annual Grand Taste” at the Maui AgFest & 4-H Livestock Fair, June 1, at War Memorial Special Events Arena. AgFest runs from 8 am – 5 pm with free admission and parking for $5 per car. Grand Taste is a ticketed event during AgFest. It’s a steal priced at $30 per person when purchased in advance, $40 on site. Purchase tickets at Eventbrite.

“Grand Taste is a popular event amongst our Maui chefs,” says event organizer Charlene Ka’uhane. “The chefs showcase their cooking styles and have fun around locally-grown fruits, vegetables and proteins and they come together in support of a thriving and viable agricultural industry. Grand Taste is all about down-to-earth cooking, creativity, camaraderie, and friendly competition in a super chill environment.”

Sponsored by the Ulupono Initiative, this year’s Grand Taste features 13 chefs from Kapalua to Wailea. Grand Taste will feature a strong contingent of wahine culinary talent, including chef Abby Ferrer of Star Noodle, pastry chef Amber Ching from The Fairmont Kea Lani, executive chef Jennifer Evetushick of The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, chef de cuisine Jo Soeung from Bistro Molokini at Grand Wailea and Isabelle “Bella” Toland of the newly-renovated Banyan Tree at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

Grand Taste is honored to have many talented kane chefs as well, like executive chef Alvin Savella of Humuhumunukunukuapua’a at Grand Wailea and executive chef Adam Rzeczkowski from Merriman’s Kapalua. For those who have been around from the start of AgFest, Adam’s boss, Peter Merriman, served as Grand Taste advisor when the event launched 10 years ago.

Grand Taste welcomes back one of event’s previous winners, chef Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, along with sous chef Jacob Arakawa from Kā’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, executive chef Joey Macadangdang of Joey’s Kitchen, sous chef Kris Kersmarki, of Hula Grill Kā’anapali, executive chef Matt Dela Cruz from Humble Market Kitchen and executive chef Marc McDowell with Maca dang dang Bar & Grill. McDowell is a three-time winner, having received Judges’ Choice and multiple Fan Favorite awards.

Chef dish for the 10th-annual Grand Taste at Maui County Agfest on June 1, 2019. Courtesy photo.


Chefs’ dishes are scored first and foremost on the chef’s best use of their main local ingredient and taste followed by creativity, originality and presentation. This year two awards will be presented – Judges’ Choice and Fan Favorite.


Ticket holders may check in starting at 1 p.m. Wristbands will be issued for easy access at 3 p.m. In celebration of the 10th annual Grand Taste, organizers produced a recipe book featuring all of the dishes in this year’s Grand Taste. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy, one per paid ticket holder.

AgFest is a zero-waste event. All paper goods in Grand Taste are compostable (plates, cups and utensils) or made of recycled (napkins, etc.). Attendees will be asked to separate all trash at eight sites placed throughout the event, two of which will be in the Grand Taste area.

Chefs in Grand Taste 2019:


· Abby Ferrer, Executive Chef, Star Noodle

· Adam Rzeczkowski, Executive Chef, Merriman’s Kapalua

· Alvin Savella, Executive Chef, Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, The Grand Wailea

· Amber Ching, Pastry Chef, Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

· Gevin Utrillo, Japengo, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

· Isabelle “Bella” Toland, Banyan Tree, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

· Jacob Arakawa, Sous Chef, The Kā’anapali Ocean Resort Villas

· Jennifer Evetushick., Executive Chef, Westin Maui Resort & Spa

· Jo Soeung, Chef De Cuisine, Bistro Molokini at Grand Wailea

· Joey Macadangdang, Executive Chef, Joey’s Kitchen

· Kris Kersmarki, Sous Chef, Hula Grill Kā’anapali

· Matt Dela Cruz, Executive Chef, Humble Market Kitchin

· Marc McDowell, Executive Chef, Maca dang dang Bar & Grill

Chef’s and their dishes for 2019 Grand Taste:

Abby Ferrer
Executive Chef
Star Noodle – Lahaina, Maui
Mushroom Cups w/Tofu Ssamjang Sauce

Adam Rzeczkowski
Merriman’s: Home of Hawaii Original Cuisine – Kapalua
‘Ulu Tamale w/charred Pineapple, Tomato and Hawai‘i Island Goat Feta

Alvin Savella
Chef de Cuisine – “Kitchen Assassin”
Humuhumunukunukuapua’a at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Deep-fried Banana Bread “Twinkie”

Amber-Lynn Ching
Pastry Chef
Fairmont Kea Lani – Pastry Team
Otani Farms Rainbow Carrot Macaroons

Gevin Utrillo
Executive Chef
Japengo – Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
“Vietnamese Style” Green Papaya Salad

Jacob Arakawa
The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Lū‘au Tamale

Jennifer Evetushick
Executive Chef
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Ube Mochi & Ube Oreos

Jo Soeung
Chef de Cuisine
Bistro Molokini – Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Resort
Tostones with Tropical Salsa

Joey Macadangdang
Executive Chef/Owner
Joey’s Kitchen
Cold Marungay Pancit Noodles

Kris ‘KK’ Kersmarki
Sous Chef
Hula Grill – Kā’anapali
Local Sweet Corn Fritters w/ local Lime Cumin Aioli

Matt Dela Cruz
Executive Chef
Humble Market Kitchin
Kiawe Tostada

Marc McDowell
Executive Chef/Partner
Maca Dang Dang Bar & Grill – Fairway Shops, Kā’anapali
Kaua‘i Shrimp and Mango Salad w/ POG Vinaigrette

Visit the AgFest website for more details and tickets.

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