By Danielle Dorsey
Returning for the first time since 2019, book your flights ASAP to join Maui’s premier food and wine fest with chefs Wolfgang Puck, Sheldon Simeon, and more.
There are countless reasons to visit Maui right now, from long stretches of fine-sand beaches to fresh seafood and tropical fruits, to the treacherous Road to Hana. Sharing space on that list is Four Seasons Maui, an oceanfront resort tucked against 15 acres of Wailea Coast. Luxury amenities are a given—including an adults-only infinity pool that looks out over endless Pacific Ocean waves and an award-winning spa with treatments ranging from Ozone therapy to Hangover IVs in collaboration with Next|Health. However, it’s the resort’s culinary program that stands out as one of the biggest draws, with an annual Food & Wine Classic—back after a three-year pandemic pause over Labor Day weekend from September 2 to September 4—that’s worth planning your trip around.
Home to three of Hawaii’s most renowned restaurants, including Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante, Spago Maui, and DUO Steak and Seafood, it’s no surprise that FS Maui’s dedication to fine dining spills over to the resort’s broader programming. A relative newcomer from LA’s seasonally inspired Cara Restaurant, Executive Chef Michael Patria draws inspiration from the island’s rich bounty of produce, making it a point to work with local producers like Oko’a and ONO Farms—guests can even travel with the chef to ONO Farms as part of the resort’s A Taste of Island Life experience, which includes a private tour and exotic fruit foraging with the farm’s founders and culminates in a meal crafted by Patria using ingredients picked during the experience.
“Coming from a family that was very dependent on support from the community for our local farm, it’s very important to me that we support Hawaiian producers,” Patria says. “We utilize local farms and fishermen when possible, really focusing on bright, clean foods that fit the environment that we’re in.”
Similarly, the Fire & Wine experience offers a chance to meet Yeshua Goodman, a local fisherman, owner of Kiawe Outdoor, and advanced sommelier who will dive and spear for your dinner before cooking it over an open flame and guiding you through a blind wine pairing. Also included in that experience is a private tour of Haiku House that’s only available to resort guests, offering the chance to explore the 20-acre former sugar cane plantation turned botanical museum with an expert.
“One of the most beautiful things about food is that it’s a natural way to learn about other cultures and it’s also one of the easiest parts of a culture to share,” says Patria.
That’s the intention for this year’s Food & Wine Classic, named “Best of the Best New Wine Festival” by Robb Report when it debuted in 2019. This edition promises to be even more grandiose and over-the-top, partnering with “wine therapist to the stars” and Wally’s Wine & Spirits president Christian Navarro to bring together a diverse lineup of chefs across regions and generations.
“In addition to bringing in Michelin Star chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Josiah Citrin, we’ve invited chef Rashida Holmes, who is bringing a Caribbean spin to things, and we also have chef Sheldon Simeon, who’s a local favorite around here. We’ve put together a group of people who are all going to learn from one another while presenting a great spread of different cuisines, styles, and types of foods for our guests.”
As Patria explains, the emphasis on California-based chefs is coincidental, but fitting. “Wolfgang Puck is obviously a master at fusing California cuisine with the Pacific Rim, plus he’s got Spago here on property, so that worked out really well. California cuisine really lends itself to so many different influences, and I feel like that’s something the state has in common with Hawaii. We’ve got all these different cuisines and beautiful local farms that produce fresh ingredients and great products—things that California chefs rely on heavily. The cuisines just meld together extremely well.”
Between activities that range from lunch with Bridgetown Roti owner Rashida Holmes to an elegant champagne brunch where Patria and executive pastry chef Alexadre Chersouly will offer opulent brunch classics with a twist, your date card will be stacked over Labor Day weekend. But if there’s one event to highlight and underline in your calendar, it’s the opening night gala on Friday, September 2, an intimate evening and grand tasting on the resort’s oceanfront lawn where guests will mingle with chefs and vintners.
“We’ll be highlighting our pastry chef, myself, and all of our celebrity chefs and vintners who are coming in. You’ll get to try all of the different food offerings and all the amazing wines we’re going to have. It’s going to be a delicious sampling of all the great experiences you’ll get to have throughout the weekend,” Patria divulges.
Summer is flying by (no doubt due to our planet’s faster pace), so don’t delay on booking your stay at Four Seasons Maui for the annual Food & Wine Classic. Who knows, you might end up on a flight with Hawaiian native Jason Momoa.