Story by Sarah Ruppenthal | Photos by Lucida Photography
What do you get when you combine a locally sourced gourmet dinner with a glue stick, a pair of scissors and a piece of plywood?
That’s what you’ll find at FEAST Hawaii, a monthly culinary event designed to inspire your inner foodie and artist. “We pair a dining experience with something fun and creative,” says FEAST director Amanda Robson. “Our goal is to support local farmers and get people excited about Maui’s food culture.”
Robson has the culinary know-how and creative expertise to pull it off: She attended the California Culinary Academy before choreographing stage and television productions in Los Angeles. When Robson returned home to Maui three years ago, she was on the hunt for a new project, which led her to launch a pop-up children’s bookstore. “I started thinking about pop-up dining events,” Robson recalls. “I wanted to offer experiences, not goods — it’s more in harmony with how I’m wired.”
Last spring, she crossed paths with Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi Magazine’s 2015 ‘Aipono Chef of the Year, Jeff Scheer. That’s when the idea for FEAST began to take shape. “He’s a courageous creative,” Robson says. “We decided to collaborate.”
The first FEAST was held in May 2015 at Scheer’s Mill House Restaurant at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Since then, the prix fixe dinners have traveled to various venues, with different chefs and menus along the way. “We work with visionary chefs who have a serious farm-to-table mission,” Robson explains. “I also want to know what inspires them; I want them to share their food story.”
Before dinner, guests enjoy a hands-on art experience, ranging from a tango lesson to a haku lei-making workshop, to crafting a dream board (hence the plywood and glue). No two events are alike, and Robson crafts each FEAST from concept to execution: she scouts the venues, meets with the chefs and comes up with the corresponding themes and activities.
“Our intention is inspiration,” she says. “We want FEAST to have a lasting effect and ignite a creative spark in each guest. It’s a magical thing.”
To learn about upcoming FEASTs, visit FeastHawaii.com. Events sell out quickly, so if one intrigues you, reserve your seat early.