Each year, ‘Aipono honors a few individuals and companies chosen by industry professionals for their contributions to the Maui community. We are pleased to present our 2019 winners.
When it came to choosing ‘Aipono’s 2019 Friend of Agriculture, Warren Watanabe says Joey Macadangdang was a natural choice. Watanabe should know: as executive director of the Maui County Farm Bureau, he has enjoyed a long and rich collaboration with the chef with the musical last name.
“Chef Joey has supported our events for more than two decades,” Watanabe notes, “first during his days with Chef Roy Yamaguchi, then at Pineapple Grill, and now at Joey’s Kitchen at Whalers Village and in Nāpili. One of the things I admire most about him is his generosity. He is constantly giving of his time, and willing to prepare food for fundraisers or celebrations.”
Macadangdang’s generosity extends beyond any single event, and well beyond the walls of Joey’s Kitchen. “He makes an effort to know our local farmers, and builds solid relationships with them,” says Watanabe. “When new farmers want to break into the market, Joey is willing to give them a chance.”
Maui Cattle Company president Alex Franco recalls that when the ranch consortium started in 2002, Macadangdang was one of its earliest supporters. (His braised Maui Cattle Company short ribs have become a signature dish for the award-winning, crowd-pleasing chef.) “Joey understands that purveyors don’t get established overnight,” says Franco. “He works with you to help you build your company.”
Happily, what’s good for local agriculture is great for the rest of us. “As a restaurateur, Joey embodies the true spirit of island hospitality,” says Watanabe. “I believe his food is that good because he takes pride in his ingredients, makes local and fresh a priority, and is willing to pay for quality.”
Not bad for a chef known for being humble, hardworking, and always there with a smile.