Holiday Test Kitchen 2017

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steamed moi lup cheong
The plated dish: Ginger-steamed, Kahuku-farmed Moi

The final preparation is a Maui Cattle Co. beef tenderloin. Tylun expertly trims the silver connective tissue from the lean loin. In reference to the generous size of the filet, he says, “I love our locally grown beef from Maui Cattle Company. What I see here is not only the large, grass-fed tenderloin, but I see that the island had rain, that the cattle had lots of food.” He hands the loin to Mike and says, “Cut it thin, about an eighth-inch thick, because this will cook on the hot party rock.”

hot stone beef cooking
Interactive tabletop cooking adds festivity to our holiday dinner.

The “party rock” is a smooth, manmade rock about two inches thick and eight inches in diameter, flat on the bottom and slightly curved on the top. It’s been heating directly on a burner for the past thirty minutes, and is searing hot. Tylun instructs Diane to rub each piece of meat with Maui Olive Oil, then carefully removes the rock from the burner and sets it in a wooden bowl filled with salt. He brings the bowl to the table, lifts a slice of meat with his chopsticks, and places it on the rock. The meat sizzles and smokes, giving off a tantalizing fragrance as it quickly cooks.

For dessert, the pièce de résistance: Lokelani sparkling-wine sabayon lightly garnished with chocolate shavings, Upcountry Maui strawberries, and a chunk of Chef’s sensationally crunchy macadamia-nut brittle. Lavender honey lightly kisses the palette with a soft, lingering finish of wine and yeast.

Tylun slowly unties his apron and smiles at the accomplishments of the day. As he finally sits at the table and shares his thoughts, you know the Godfather has spoken: “Every time I cook, I feel the essence of my family. The food and culture [are] the most important to me. I’ve found my soul in food.”

A Family Tradition

Tylun and Mary Jo Pang have always emphasized giving back to the community. While their children participated in sports and extracurricular activities at school, the Pangs weren’t in the bleachers, but in the food booths, cooking and serving to help raise funds for their children’s schools’ sports teams. Also, 100 percent of the proceeds from Tylun’s cookbook, What Maui Likes to Eat, is donated to UH–Maui College’s Culinary Arts Program for student scholarships. Written with Maui author/historian Gail Ainsworth, What Maui Likes to Eat includes recipes from this test kitchen, and much more. It’s available for purchase at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, and from booksellers.


Get the recipes: Kona Lobster PotstickersAbalone Congee | Kauaʻi Shrimp | Ginger-Steamed Kahuku-farmed Moi | House Cake Noodle | Beef TenderloinStrawberries & Sabayon

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