Maui County Farm Bureau Hosts “Cooking Hawaiian Style”
* Updated April 12, 8:37 AM
“Cooking Hawaiian Style,” a locally produced television show, set up its outdoor kitchen at Kula Country Farms and Kaonoulu Ranch on the Valley Isle this week.
The backdrop chosen by show director/partner Ruben Carrillo was one of Maui’s most picturesque—and most vulnerable—features: crop and ranch lands. Vast working, green space stretches from upper Kula past the Kula Ag Park in Pūlehu and Ōmaʻopio down to the central valley, which was once filled with sugarcane and is now being planted with a range of agricultural crops by Mahi Pono. Framing the shot is the southern coastline to the left and the West Maui Mountains.
As the title sponsor of the upcoming season, Maui County Farm Bureau hopes this sweeping agricultural backdrop will resonate with viewers, especially Hawaiʻi residents. “We appreciate this opportunity to showcase Grown on Maui products,” said Warren K. Watanabe, executive director of MCFB, “and to remind viewers that preserving our crop and ranch lands is an essential part of island stewardship. A viable ag industry means not only access to local, fresh and flavorful produce, proteins and value-added agricultural products, but also continued working, green space rather than development.”
“Cooking Hawaiian Style” Season 15 will include several farmers and Friends of Ag who will make dishes featuring local ingredients. Some of them include Big Wave Surfer Ian Walsh who made his famous smash burger which he sources ground beef from Maui Cattle Company.
The season will air starting July 5 on Spectrum OC16. MCFB’s title sponsorship is in partnership with the County of Maui.
With an audience of national and international viewers, the show shines the light on the island’s hotels and restaurants that buy local and support farmers, ranchers, flower growers, nurseries, and ag entrepreneurs—many of them MCFB partners.
“The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of supporting our local farmers and ranchers and their value to the community,” Watanabe said. “We’re excited to spotlight several agricultural sectors in this show, and we hope it emphasizes the need to sustain a viable and resilient agricultural industry.
The show also provides an interesting look at Hawai‘i’s local culture through food. Host Lanai Tabura and his guests “talk story” and give recommendations throughout the show about favorite foods and favorite places to eat while growing up and today.
The stars of the show are definitely Maui’s Grown on Maui produce and proteins including Maui Cattle Co’s ground beef and top sirloin, Maui Kula Onions, cacao from Ku’ia Farms in Lahaina, MauiGrown/Kāʻanapali Estate Coffee, Yee’s mangoes, a wide range of vegetables, Kula Country Farms strawberries and the soon-to-be new big crop for Kula Country Farms – blueberries.
“It was a pleasurable experience,” said Executive Chef Tylun Pang of The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. “I believe a greater focus on sustainability and diversifying our local agriculture will be key to the islands’ economic future. Venues like this show are the perfect vehicle to get the word out to our community that every local purchase is important and can make a difference.”
“Filming live for television is a bit beyond my comfort zone, especially as a ‘chef’,” said maui floral designer Lois Hiranaga. “I had a wonderful time and was pleased to see how professional and well-organized everything was. Everyone on the team worked so well together. I knew I was in good hands. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together when the shows air in July.”
Joy Galatro, marketing director for Maiden Hawaii Naturals, LLC, the company created by Maui-based renewable energy company Pacific Biodiesel said, “We appreciate these talented chefs helping to spread the word about Maui’s high quality, locally grown products. Now more than ever, we all need to continue to support local agriculture and local food production—it creates jobs, helps diversify our economy and expands sustainability in Hawai‘i.” The show features the company’s Maui Sunflower Culinary Oil.
There are a total of 13 guests in Season 15 for “Cooking Hawaiian Style.” In addition to the ones listed (Kimo, Gunars, Kyle, Lois, Tylun Pang) the others are: Sissy Farm-Lake, executive director of Bailey House and Maui Historical Society; Ikaika Blackburn, recording artists; Ian Walsh – Big Wave Pro Surfer; Ridge Lenny – Surfer; Chef Sheldon Simeon, Tin Roof; Chef Alvin Savella, Mala Ocean Tavern; Chef Noel Cleary and Chef Peter Pak – Maui Culinary Arts Program; and Relle Lum, Keeping it Relle.
Maui County Farm Bureau is a grassroots 501(c)(5) organization of farms and ranch families, agricultural industries, and associated organizations dedicated to supporting agriculture in Maui County.
“Cooking Hawaiian Style,” the TV show and website, documents and preserves a vital part of island culture: its food. Anyone who lives in the islands knows that food, both making it and sharing it, is at the top of everyone’s list of favorite activities. Usually the recipes come with stories and notes to ignite fond island and ʻohana memories.