Mana Foods and Maui Huliau Foundation, a nonprofit organization offering environmental education programs to Maui youth, will host a farm-to-table benefit dinner and mini-film festival on Saturday, Nov. 9, beginning at 6 p.m. under the stars at the Ocean Vodka Organic Farm.
Local Chefs Susan Teton, Mary Lane, James Simpliciano and Ann-Marie Burtell will go head-to-head in a pupu competition judged by the 150 guests. All dishes will feature ingredients sourced from local farms around the island, including Greenleaf Farm and Maui Nui Farm in Kula, Olivit Farm in Ha'iku and Simplifresh on the West Side.
Makena Resort Executive Chef Mark McDowell will design an innovative menu featuring organic greens from Kumu Farms and the day's local catch.
One of the four chef-student teams participating in the pupu competition as part of the Huliau Food & Film Festival includes (left to right) Danielle Ferrer of the Huliau Youth Leaders program, Jason Schwein and Danica Brown of the Huliau Environmental Filmmaking Club, and Chef Ann-Marie Burtell. The other teams are: Teams Chef James Simpliciano, Isaac Pahulu of the Huliau Youth Leaders program, and Lily Katz and Piers Polinskey of the Huliau Environmental Filmmaking Club; Chef Susan Teton, Hi‘ilei Casco of the Huliau Youth Leaders program, Jacob Harris and Dylan Falces of the Huliau Environmental Filmmaking Club; and Chef Mary Lane, Hannah Shipman of the Huliau Youth Leaders program, Jai Litman and Natalia Polinskey of the Huliau Environmental Filmmaking Club.
Photo: Maui Huliau Foundation
"I like participating in community events, especially an event that works with Maui youth to promote environmental education and sustainability," said Chef McDowell. "We need to think about buying local always and becoming a sustainable island."
Local food and beverage sponsors Whole Foods, Life Foods and Ali'i Kula Lavender will contribute ingredients, Pono Pies will serve up dessert, and Maui Brewing Company, Maui's Winery and Ocean Vodka will stock a 100 percent local bar.
In a unique pairing of food and film, the one-night festival will feature a short documentary video competition of Maui seventh- to 12th-graders' "storytelling" about the creation of each chef's dish.
Maui Huliau Foundation will also screen some of its most popular student films, including "Eat Local Project," and the 10,000-hit Youtube music video, "Barges," to promote its popular after-school environmental education programs.
Amidst the growing demand for local produce, the public may not always realize what is possible with Maui's fruits and vegetables, like taro, green papaya and green bananas, and how to use what is available and freshest, said a press release from the foundation. The chefs intend to craft tasty pupu using some of these more unusual, Maui-grown ingredients that are ripe and ready, and win over guests with the freshest flavors.
"Chefs can help lead the way to educate and inspire the link between the farm and table," said Chef Lane. "Count me in to do my part to help shift cooking fresh food from another daunting chore to a creative adventure. Huliau's Executive Director, Malia Cahill is helping to inspire the younger generation. Our future depends on them."
Tickets are $75 per person for a four-course dinner (cash bar) and are available online at www.huliaufoundation.org/festival. The event is open to guests 21 and over, only.