Chef’s Table Nights: FOND and Ka‘ana Kitchen

An intimate Chef’s Table dining experience is a unique foodie adventure. Two entirely different restaurants led by two skilled chefs make for a memorable night on the town.

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At the helm of Ka‘ana Kitchen is Chef de Cuisine Chance Savell.

Kaana Kitchen at Andaz Maui in Wailea has offered Chef’s Table dining since its opening in September 2013. Expanding on the idea, a portion of the restaurant, the former cocktail station, has been reapportioned as a ten-seat chef’s table. Diners will continue to enjoy “couples” dining around the hot station, if they chose, but this new section will create more seats for the foodie adventurous.

Tonight, new chef-de cuisine Chance Savell picks up the reins in the kitchen, and my husband, Chris, and I are excited to taste his additions to the menu. Although not cooking on the hot line himself, Chance is attentive to every detail. A part of his responsibilities is to oversee the flow of the kitchen, making sure that dishes for the main dining room and chef’s tables are produced and served in a timely manner. Chance hails from Arkansas and was raised by a Mexican mother, ‘a very good cook,’ and an English father. He attended Le Cordon Bleu at Orlando Culinary Academy in Florida, and says, “I’ve brought some of the flavors from my mother’s heritage to the menu at Ka‘ana Kitchen.”

Charlie Siebert, a passionate and brilliant sommelier, starts us off with a flute of H. Billiot Fils Brut Rosé Champagne as we watch the sun peak through clouds on its descent for the night. We prepare for a total of eight, tasting-size portions in six courses. Standouts include Chance’s creations: a bowl of clams in a light tomato broth with smoked bacon and ‘ulu (breadfruit); and braised wagyu short rib topped with escabeche (pickled root vegetables) served on horchata black forbidden rice with hints of cinnamon. Chance says that the staff recently participated in whole hog butchery, and his time has been spent working on pork specialties such as hot capicola and salumi. “We’ve run multiple specials from the 220-lb. Malama Farm pig throughout the week: the team prepared bone-in pork chops and T-bone steaks, and ragu with fresh pasta.”

Pork belly adobo
Pork belly adobo with papaya gastrique; kiawe smoked pineapple and butter lettuce on creamy Upcountry goat cheese drizzled with goat whey vinaigrette.

Braised adobo pork and a papaya gastrique glaze is a bombshell of flavor. Garlicky and mildly sweet with the correct balance of shoyu, its boldness is artfully tempered with a buttery kabocha purée and frisée salad. “The pork belly dish is a special for the day,” announces Chance, “and when we initially tasted it, we knew you had to have it! When we do specials and change the menu items, one person will take the lead on a dish; then, we all taste as a team and critique, then give feedback.” Not until it’s perfected does it go on the menu. “Personally, I love this style of collaboration,” he says, “as it makes for a creative environment for the chefs. Secondly, it’s great for the team to think about and understand what is involved to create a dish and feel the pride in serving it to our guests!” Says Chance, “Chef Norison Ranchez took the lead on this dish,” as he points him out on the hot line.

A trio of beautiful desserts rounds out the meal for a great ending. However, Charlie won’t be outdone by the pastry chef, “I have one very rare bottle of 1901 D’Oliveiras Malvasia Madeira that spent 110 years in the wine barrel, and you will be surprised how the 120-year-old wine held up! It will go with the rich cheesecake and lemon flavors.” As Chris and I sip the rare vintage, we make eye contact and nod our heads to acknowledge the superb dinner and its finely paired wine service.

Ka‘ana Kitchen at Andaz Maui, 3550 Wailea Alanui Dr., Wailea, 573-1234

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