Showing posts from 2010

Going Local

As our resort transitions into a whole new operation, our Culinary team is in for a great ride. With many food trends, you see things happening in the food world that are cool, unique, and yes, of course trendy. The molecular gastronomy, the meals that require dozens of tiny portions, the fads that practically wipe out entire species like Chilean Sea Bass. One of the more recent ones, I don't think is going to fade out or disappear like many of its previous trends. Local ingredients, grown organically, and where the chef has a more intimate knowledge of where his ingredients come from. With many vendors I have dealt with over the years, this is the first time I have ever had them send me photos of the products I intend to buy, as they are growing so delicately on the hillside overlooking the Pacific. This photo was taken 4 weeks ago, and I was delighted to see the beautiful lettuces arrive today. This is the first step in a direction for our resort that I believe is just a brush …

Raku: Japanese Restaurant

Raku is our new Japanese Restaurant at Makena Beach and Golf Resort which takes this kitchen back to its roots. After a few changes, this beautiful restaurant is bringing classic Japanese food and tradition back in full force. With a great team of chefs with a real passion for Japanese food, Raku is making a major impression on Kama'aina and travelers alike. With the Raku Bento Box, Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu, accompanied with 1/2 price sushi in our opening hours daily, you can count on this place catching on.
With beautiful views and incredible decor, we are very proud of the direction we chose for this outlet. We had a Grand Opening celebration on Friday that brought in a nice crowd. We served the entire menu half off, including drinks. We had an overwhelming turnout, and expect to see business booming soon. For those of you located on Maui, and those who plan to visit, you have got to make it to Raku. Enjoy!

Makena Holidays

'Tis the season, as they say. We are in that time of year that we gather with family and friends to celebrate another holiday season, and the joys of our little world. Today we used that feeling as the theme to our already popular Sunday Brunch. We took a little part of many cultures here in Hawaii and showcased their food in a "Joys of the World Brunch". Naturally we used many of the fresh fruits that you find here on Maui, many of which were brought here from other parts of the world as people migrated to the Islands. We Incorporated the Cantonese style fried rice with Char Sui Pork, Chinese style roast duck which we sliced and made mini sandwiches with steamed kau yuk buns, Portuguese bean soup, hulihuli chicken, macadamia nut crusted sweet potato fries and so on.

We set up the portable sushi bar, making sushi rolls to order, chicken pot stickers, shrimp shumai, and pork-filled steamed buns. We had shrimp and pork gyozas, laulau style steamed mahimahi, and plenty more …

Guava Ice with Starfruit

This light, refreshing dessert turned out nice. Very simple preparation. Crisp, clean flavors as well. I did a simple guava ice, using guava juice and sugar. It turned out nice and fluffy, with lots of guava flavor. The starfruit is used 2 ways, fresh slices and dried slices. Although the dry slices didn't crisp as well as I would have liked, they preparation concentrated the flavor for a really nice component to the plate. I elevated them and added some color with a couple fresh raspberries, which complimented the fresh starfruit really well. The moisture came from the passion fruit-orange-strawberry coulis that glistens from underneath. In the process of making this dish, I changed direction a few times, but in the end, I decided simple, clean and flavorful was the way to go. I am just glad to make good use of some of the starfruit we picked up today, and it doesn't get much fresher than that.

Mission: Starfruit

I received a call out of the blue from a gentleman, we'll call him Lawrence. He informed me that he had a tree that had exploded with the tropical starfruit. There was no joking about that! I had prepared myself to bring quite a bit back to the kitchen with me, but what you see here is probably 1o or 15 percent of the fruit that the tree had produced. Lawrence is more than happy to have us over to take much, much more off of his hands.

The starfruit, or Carambola is a tropical fruit that has a waxy, golden or green skin and mild, yet complicated flavors that seem to pair well with many other fruits. Originally from SriLanka and Moluccas, the starfruit thrives in the Hawaiian Islands due to the warm environment. The starfruit has no fat or cholesterol, and is a great source of Vitamin C.

They are great in fruit salads, chutneys and salsas, but they make a refreshing and impressive garnish to almost any dish or drink. With the amount of free starfruit we now have access to, bet that …

Random Dinner Photos From Chaine Des Rotisseurs


Outdoor Events, Oceanside

During this particular event, we had 4 action stations, plating appetizer sized, yet well designed dishes for our friends with the local Chaine Des Rotisseurs. Often times the outdoors can somewhat limit how you prepare food, what dishes you are able to use, and can set the mood, good or bad. This particular event was defiantly an exception. We served whole Kalua Pig sliders, the meat carved right off the pig. We carved roasted New York sirloin to order. We seared a duet of Diver Scallops and Jumbo tiger prawns. And pictured here, we wok fried a whole red snapper, pulling the crisp skin and moist meat from the fish to build each petite entree.

Although the food was a great success, the evening was only perfect when all other aspects fell into place (the way they do in Hawaii). As the sun began to set over the ocean, a large group of spinner dolphins gathered between us and the sun. They jumped and spun, entertaining the guests (and staff) to set the mood. The green flash was much awa…

Fishing the Hawaiian Islands

When one goes fishing late at night, with only 2 people on board a fishing boat, what else could happen? These local boys went out for an evening looking for a big catch. I would call a 740 pound Marlin exactly that. Although I was not fortunate enough to be part of this catch, I thought I would share some photos taken by a co-worker who was. After a couple hours of fighting the fish, the fishermen realized this one was too big to pull aboard. So, making a slow trip home, they phoned several friends to meet them at the harbor shortly after midnight. Nobody knew, until the fish was hoist with a crane and weighed, exactly how big of a catch they actually had. You can see the comparison of the people surrounding the fish, and how much bigger he is to any of them. The fish in the longbed of a pick-up also shows its size. The bill of the massive fish easily goes past the end of the open tailgate of the 8 foot bed of the truck. With several friends into fishing, many with their own boats I a…

Maui Calls! Fundraiser Event For the MACC

This year marked the 15th annual Maui Calls! fundraising event for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). Pictured above is our booth for this years event. We were serving two dishes this year. One hot, one cold. Many of our event guests said that our booths food was No Ka 'Oi (the best). I didn't get much of a chance to taste the other Chefs' food, it was just too busy to leave the booth. There was some nice looking food out there, don't get me wrong, but I think we had a couple crowd pleasers to showcase. Our hot dish was a traditionally roasted Kalua Pork Slider. It was traditional in the sense that we used the meat from the luau show pig, which we cook underground, wrapped in banana and ti leaf over hot coals. Once the pig was done, it was shredded and tossed in a honey-macadamia nut BBQ sauce. A zesty stewed tomato-scallion relish was a nice addition to the sandwich that we served on a steamed Kau Yuk bun. It was delicious. The cold dish was a simple ahisash…

Todays Pick

Here is what I was able to pick from the back yard before work today. On top is a honey tangerine. Left is a very nice mango. The spiny green one on the right is soursop. Right in front is a very much unripened orange (picked by accident). And perhaps the most interesting one is the small yellowish caramay in the front left. This little one is apparently very sour, and great for pickling (according to my Filipino friends). I look forward to collecting them and pickling a jar or two.

The Mango Man

I always like the roadside stands in Maui with fresh flowers, on one side of the road and the "Mango man" on the other. Its great to have all these fresh items so readily available. Today however, I no longer need to purchase mangos. We have a huge, beautiful mango tree in the yard that produces an abundant amount of fruit. I picked a really nice one this morning for my wife and little boy to enjoy. It seems that there are always a couple ripe. They haven't seemed to ripen so fast that you can't eat them, but there is almost always one or two to pick. It is really nice to have right out back.

The Soursop

Here's one that took a little investigating to figure out for sure what I had. The home owners that we currently rent from thought this was prickly pear. Well, that is incorrect.
Although prickly pear does grow on Maui, it is a cactus, not a fruit from a tree. Anyway. What we have here is a Soursop. Although trying the soursop is on today's agenda, I have yet to try this interesting fruit. After some Internet investigating, I found that its flavor is described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple with sour citrus notes contrasting with an underlying creamy flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana. Either way, many of the people familiar with the soursop say it makes great drink, specifically smoothies. Others say it is really good alone. I figure I will try both. I am very excited about this one.

Fresh Juices, Margaritas, Citrus Snacks

In the left photo is a new favorite of mine, the honey tangerine. These sweet citrussy fruit are perfect for a Hawaiian summer day. The right photo is your standard lime tree, which can produce a mean margarita mix when the pickens are good. Not pictured, the back yard also has the other new favorite, the calamansi lime. They are quite sour, have an orange flesh, and are much smaller than traditional limes. I really enjoy them in an ice tea or cold Corona. Also, available soon, another tree will have ripe Hawaiian oranges. I have not yet figured out which variety of orange it is, but they are common on Maui.

Going Bananas!

Looking out my kitchen, there are about 10 Apple Banana trees that seem to have a perfect harvesting rotation going. There is one tree ready to be picked about every 2 weeks. Each bunch produces several apple bananas to keep the family full. Although they are terrific by themselves, we have enjoyed them in other applications such as smoothies, and plan to use them for banana-macadamia nut bread soon.

The Young Avocado Tree

Avocado trees are pretty common here in Hawaii. This little guy has not yet produced any avocados, but it will be worth the wait. In the mean time, many neighbors are more than willing to share avocados from their over productive, much larger avocado trees. In fact, some of the trees are producing avocados that reach up to 10" in length. Holy Guacamole!!! There is something comforting about being able to make enough guacamole from 1 avocado to feed a football team.

Antipasto Amenity

This is our new antipasto amenity. With every plate, every amenity, and every step, we are trying to improve overall presentation and quality as we go. This is an example of one of our new standard amenities for our VIP guests.

Pork and Shrimp Gyozas

tohoku gyozas 17
pork and shrimp pot stickers, sesame soy sauce, asian cabbage slaw

5 Peppercorn Crusted Ahi Salad and Appetizer

five peppercorn spiced seared ahi salad 17
roasted bell pepper, shaved maui onion, extra virgin olive oil
rock salt, crisp greens

five peppercorn crusted hawaiianahisashimi 18
seared rare, crisp wonton chips, wasabiaioli, pickled ginger

These are two of the up and coming items for the Zen Zen Restaurant Pacifica. Both using Fresh Hawaiian Ahi Tuna, covered in a blend of white, black, green, pink and Szechwan peppercorns. Simple. Local. Fresh.

Maui News: Makena's Paniolo Rides

This is an article from the Maui news recently. It is a short desctiption of our Paniolo Horeseback rides and BBQ which began in May. You may need to click on the photo to make it larger for easier reading.

Hawaiian Paniolo Horseback Rides and BBQ

Not the greatest perspective, but this should give you some idea of my view while BBQing for our Paniolo horseback ride goers. With great ocean views and a glimpse of Lanai in the picture, its hard not to enjoy this scenery. This spot is the beginning and end of the trail, which takes about 2 hours to finish. When the riders get back, I have the grill fired up for burgers, BBQ chicken sands, fresh corn on the cob and cold beverages. This being a new thing, we have had nothing but a positive response. Plus, it gets me outside a little to enjoy Hawaii's views (not just Hawaii's kitchens).

Relocated to Beautiful Maui

For any readers that I know on a personal level, this comes as no surprise. But, for those of you who know me only through the submissions of events and food from this blog, I apologize for the time it has taken me to get the blog back on track. I have permanently relocated to the beautiful island of Maui. As I wait for my belongings to arrive, I am stuck shooting any photos with the camera in my phone, so I am not fully able to keep the blog rolling. I do fully intend on filling the blog with all the items that I will be working on in the future. Once I have gotten squared away with some issues we face at the new property, I should post on a more regular basis. Rest assured, I have not abandoned the website, its just that I am in the process of relocating. Much Mahalo for your patience and for reading my blog.

Tropical Fruit Sashimi with Shiso Caviar and Coconut Cream Cheese

When your asked to prepare a fresh fruit plate and you want it to stand out, what do you do? I approached this with the mindset that I would give the guest an upgraded version of what they most likely expect when ordering. With a sushi bar in the Pacific Rim Fusion concepted restaurant, I used the sashimi theme for the light fruit desert. You get all your basics of a fresh fruit, including papaya, kula strawberries, mango, honeydew, cantaloupe and pineapple. The exception is, that the presentation is meant to somewhat mirror the sushi plates. I use a whipped coconut creme cheese under the fruit "sashimi", a drizzle of kula strawberry balsamic honey which is served in a Japanese spoon, and shiso caviar for garnish. The shiso leaf is a Japanese leaf that in some ways has mint-like characteristics. Using the sodium alginate/calcium chloride spherefication method, I made the caviar to finish the "sashimi" feel.

Avocado "Fries" with Roasted Tomato Salsa

As we begin the process of updating our Colorado Fusion menu throughout the resort, brainstorming sessions lead to practice runs of potentially new items. With the full room service menu, lunch and dinner in the main dining room, and the resort lounge, there is a lot of planning that goes into each new menu launch. Today I decided to try out an idea for the lounge that I think would go over really well. Avocado "fries". I simple cut fresh avocados similar to the size of a wedge french fry. A simple tempura batter gives them the strength to hold up when dipping, and adds a crunch to the "fries". I tossed the fried avocados in a dry seasoning including mild chili powder, cumin, and a roasted garlic blend. I served the "fries" with a warm roasted tomato salsa and a small quenelle of sour cream that softens with the warmth of the salsa. If this does make the final cut on the menu, I see it being very popular. I let FOH and BOH staff sample the dish, and got …

Oyster Mushroom Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

I began with the tenderloin left after butchering filets for a tasting. I sliced the beef about 1/4" thick and layed it out flat. I then added a generous portion of sauteed oyster mushrooms that had been deglazed with a nice oakyChardonnay. After rolling the beef around the mushrooms, a layer of thinly sliced pancetta bacon was rolled around the whole roullade to ensure it held its shape. I seared the bacon, all the way around and sliced about 1/2 oz portions. I garnished the dish with a roasted garlic hollandaise, tomato oil and some fresh micro-greens we had laying around.

Send a Six-Pack to the Kitchen

Kitchens are hot, sometimes hitting 130 degrees or higher. There are very few cooks who wouldn't struggle through the heat, chaotic atmosphere and madness for the ice cold adult beverage at the end of the shift. It is a known fact that cooks and chefs are a different breed. After all is said and done, being able to poke fun at your co-workers, and sometimes even yourself, for the mundane mishaps and everyday hurdles we faced in the hours leading up to this laid back B.S. session is what its all about. You may be at wits end with the guy next to you on the line all night, but when its time to leave, you know that guy is going to raise his glass and toast to a killer dinner service. There is nothing like that cold refreshing taste to ease the tension that may have built all night.

To get to my point, your kitchen crew works hard. They are behind the scenes running, burning themselves and working through it to get the best tasting and looking plates they can on your table without you…

Sausage Stuffed Oyster Mushroom

With andouille and chorizo both calling my name I made the most rational decision I could. Use Both! I made a blend of chorizo, andouille, corn, scallion, paquillo peppers and garlic. After pulsing them in the food processor, I folded in some cream cheese. I then stuffed some nicely sauteed oyster mushrooms, topped them with manchego cheese, and baked them. They turned out nice, and were very well complimented by an andouille-BBQ aioli. Its that time of year again, and I just hope to see enough guests so that I am able to share this delicious starter with them.

Iron Chef Competition

Here is a dish that Lucas came up with during the 1 hour competition. The secret ingredient was fennel, and he did a nice job with it. Lucas caramelized the fennel which brought out a really nice sweet-licorice type flavor. He grilled some thinly sliced cuts of beef, roasted a couple grape tomatoes, and made a terrific mushroom cream sauce. A simple fennel top garnish was all it took to make the dish pop.
Both competitors today did a terrific job. Bruce and Lucas are both relatively inexperienced in the kitchen, so to see them do such a fantastic job (even under pressure) was really fun to see. This whole thing started when the business level dropped. I think both cooks learned a lot about their own abilities and creativity.

Sopressata Stuffed with Port Braised Onions

For tonight's amuse I decided to use this sopressata sausage. Sopressate is an Itaian dry-cured sausage. Sopressata is a sausage that needs to be sliced nice and thin. I simply stuffed the rolled sopressata with port braised red onions. The sweet onion cuts the fattiness of the sausage nicely and the boursin cheese compliments them both nicely.