CHEFS OF CHRISTMAS PAST
Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi’s “Holiday Test Kitchen” began as a review of cookbooks in 2008 and morphed into a yearly chef-led event. In 2011, our first Test Kitchen chef, Ralph Giles, wowed the staff with beef Wellington en croute. So happy were readers (and the staff, who got to rub shoulders with the chef and eat like kings and queens) that the next year we invited chef Isaac Bancaco, who at the time ran the kitchens at Pineapple Grill, to dazzle us. And he did, preparing Peking duck, “unfried fried rice,” and corn malasadas. In 2013, chef Anton Haines of Pacific’O Restaurant led the gang of literati in an elegant dinner prep, complete with pork loin rack roast with caramelized Calvados sauce. And each year we’d exclaim, “This Test Kitchen was the best one yet!”
Our 2014 ‘Aipono Chef of the Year and Bravo TV’s Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon of MiGRANT and Mala Wailea walked us through some of his favorite holiday dishes: kim chee, barbequed ribs, and ‘ahi poke, to name just a few. Our 2015 holiday feast featured three wise men, all notable culinarians: Cameron Lewark, chef/partner at Spago Wailea, and his buddies, Brian Etheredge and Chris Kulis of Capische? and The Market at the Wailea Gateway. We happy few learned how to filet lehi (fish) for sashimi; poach bacon-wrapped venison in a water bath; and crust a whole onaga in salt. Those three chefs set our minds spinning with holiday feast ideas.
Chef Eric Morrissette of Fleetwood’s on Front St. took the helm at 2016’s Test Kitchen with a heavenly pistachio-crusted rack of lamb and bouillabaisse. Mick Fleetwood hosted us in his Upcountry home, leaving us star-struck as well as food-struck. Last year’s chef, Tylun Pang of Fairmont Kea Lani, wowed us with ginger-steamed moi with lup cheong sausage (my favorite dish in the world), cedar-wrapped Kaua‘i shrimp, Kona lobster potstickers and more. And of course, in this issue, we’re thrilled that chef Roger Stettler of Taverna found time in his schedule for us. Check out the entire collection of Test Kitchen menus and recipes in our online archives—Maui Magazine.net/category/recipes. I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll want to prepare this holiday, or any day!—Becky Speere, MNKO dining editor