by Maui Now
World-renowned chefs will work their magic during Maui’s Celebrity Chef Tour this weekend, benefiting the James Beard Foundation. The tour is traveling across the country; its stop on Maui is hosted by Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. Executive Chef Ryan Urig will serve as the host chef.
The Celebrity Chef Tour began in 2004 as a way to bring the unique experience of dining at New York City’s historic James Beard House to cities around the U.S., giving guests the rare chance to interact with celebrated chefs. The tour brings once-in-a-lifetime dinners to venues that include Hawaii, Seattle, New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
The weekend brings innovative food and creative cocktail experiences while celebrating Maui’s farmers, purveyors and culinary artisans. The tour’s big-name chefs have restaurants that dominate the ‘Top 10’ lists around the country.
The menu for the weekend is outlined but not set until the chefs hand-pick the best in-season Maui produce, based on what speaks to them. Chef Ryan Urig will take the visiting chefs on a tour of local farms, where they meet with the farmers to determine their choice ingredients.
Friday, Feb. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. – Cocktail Reception
The kick-off event is in the oceanview Grand Dining Room for a Cocktail Party, where master mixologist Manny Hinojosa will create an array of handcrafted island-themed cocktails. Island chefs will present dishes that highlight Hawaii’s bountiful produce – Chef Urig’s local guest chefs include Lee Anne Wong (Koko Head Café, Honolulu), JoJo Vasquez (The Plantation House, Kapalua), Cameron Lewark (Spago Maui, Wailea) and Greg Harrison (Morimoto Maui, Wailea). The celebrity chefs attend to mix and mingle with guests. Guests will also enjoy fine wines and beers. Price is $50 per person.
Saturday, February 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. – Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner
The grand event, the official Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner, is under the stars along the lawns surrounding the fountains and Reflections Pool, setting the stage for an evening of live music and a perfectly orchestrated six-course dinner.
World-renowned James Beard winning chefs Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto & Jams, NYC; Adele’s & Bajo Sexto, Nashville; Brezza Cucina, Atlanta), Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy and The Crack Shack, San Diego; Flip Burger, Nashville, Atlanta & Birmingham), Hubert Keller (Fleur, Las Vegas and Burger Bar, Las Vegas, San Francisco & Bejing, China), Kristen Kish (36 Hours Co-Host & Top Chef Winner, Boston), Michael Voltaggio (ink and ink.sack, Los Angeles) together with famed Grey Goose master mixologist Manny Hinojosa, will take part in the celebrity-studded event.
The farm-to-table theme is inspired by the chefs’ meeting with local farmers as they each choose a course to execute in front of the guests. Wines are paired for each dish and specialty cocktails are again mixed by Manny Hinojosa.
Saturday’s dinner ($250 per person) is sold out, but tickets are still available for Friday’s cocktail reception. Book those here or by calling Grand Wailea at 875-1234.
The chefs will also visit with students at Maui Culinary Academy and answer their questions. The broader mission of the Celebrity Chef Tour is to give back to the James Beard Foundation, who continues to celebrate, nurture and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Many of the nation’s finest chefs credit the Foundation for helping them launch their successful careers.