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Maui chefs cook up content for ABC/Disney concept in San Francisco


    Maui chefs, from left, Charlie Owen of Hula Grill, Gevin Utrillo of Japengo and Ikaika Manaku of Westin Nanea Ocean Villas posed with Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Association Executive Director Shelley Kekuna in front of the famed Mister Jiu’s restaurant in San Francisco during a recent media blitz.


    Desiree “Madame Donut” Parada of Donut Dynamite in Wailuku shopped at the San Francisco Farmers Market.


    Executive chef Jennifer Evetushick of the Westin Maui Resort & Spa was filmed in San Francisco for a segment of “Foodie Calls.” Parada and Taylor Ponte of The Mill House in Waikapu also will appear on the Disney digital show.

Maui is on the move: Chefs from the Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Association recently traveled to San Francisco, where they filmed segments for the new ABC/Disney digital concept “Foodie Calls.” (Hmm … Disney certainly didn’t Mickey Mouse around with the name; kind of makes you want to engage in a midnight rendezvous with the refrigerator!)

“We filmed all day with Charlie Owen of Hula Grill, Ikaika Manaku of Westin Nanea Ocean Villas and Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa,” said KBRA Executive Director Shelley Kekuna.

Manaku made his signature Pork & Ahi with Maui onion jam, Yamasa caramel and sriracha honey. Utrillo mixed his famous Japengo poke packed with ahi, lobster, avocado, ogo and spices. Owen wowed with coconut grits smothered with Pacific seafood and green curry. The Kaanapali shows will air in three segments Dec. 2, 9 and 16, Kekuna said.

The Ka‘anapali Resort chefs were filmed in the city’s famed Chinatown, in studio and at three acclaimed restaurants owned by chefs participating in this year’s Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival Ka‘anapali from Oct. 18 to 20. The restaurants are the Slanted Door, Cockscomb and Mister Jiu’s with repeat festival chef Brandon Jew, whose attention detail starts with the first craft cocktail. While in the Bay Area, KBRA reps met with travel and food media and influencers.

Maui Visitors Bureau also sponsored three chefs for “Foodie Calls”: Jennifer Evetushick of Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali, Desiree “Madame Donut” Parada of Donut Dynamite in Wailuku and Taylor Ponte of The Mill House in Waikapu.

“We filmed at the Farmers Market outside the San Francisco Ferry Building and in the same kitchen studios where Shelley’s three chefs filmed,” said Leanne Pletcher, director of public relations and marketing for MVB. “Our segments will air Nov. 4, 11 and 18. We’re also doing a 30-minute TV program here on Maui in the chefs’ respective locations as well as around the island. The film crew is coming out in October to film for that.”

Willie K hits high seas

Willie K & the Warehouse Blues Band recently packed houses in Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Folsom, Calif. Next month they will hop aboard Holland America’s Eurodam for the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise along the Mexican Riviera, with fellow performers Taj Mahal, Los Lobos and Keb’ Mo’.

Willie K appears Wednesdays in September at his dinner shows at Mulligans on the Blue in Wailea. Speaking of Mulligans, it will present its Full Moon Reggae Party on Sept. 13. Doors open at 7 p.m. Maui’s reggae ambassador, Marty Dread, will headline. If anyone can get you to “Stir It Up” on the dance floor, it’s Mr. Dreadlocks himself. This one-man sensation has released at least 17 albums.

“The Full Moon party kicks off with singer-songwriter SEDA on the stage at 7:30, and cover is $20 at the door, with proceeds benefiting Maui’s No. 1 listener-powered radio station, Mana‘o Radio,” said Mulligans owner Mike O’Dwyer. For dinner reservations (outside tables only), call 874-1131.

Focus on Filipino food

Two-time “Top Chef” fan favorite and finalist Sheldon Simeon just got back from the Los Angeles Food & Wine 2019 festival. The owner of Tin Roof in Kahului and Lineage in The Shops at Wailea, Simeon appeared in an Epic Collaboration dinner series at L.A.’s phenom Ma’am Sir restaurant with chef Charles Olalia and in the Epic Burger Throwdown with Alvin Cailan on “The Burger Show.”

Coming up Oct. 12, Simeon will compete in the Master P Noy Chef Cook-Off against West Mauians Joey Macadangdang and Gemsley Balagso at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center in Kahului as part of the Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival. Come and buy food from Maui’s top Filipino restaurants, watch back-to-back entertainment and enter the Speedy Balut Eating Contest, if you dare.

There never seems to be more than six degrees of separation from anything here on Maui: Macadangdang’s Napili restaurant, Joey’s Kitchen, will host the next Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner affair at 6 p.m. Sept. 14. Leave your tuxedos and ball gowns at home; this one is aloha attire.

“Joey is such an excellent chef and has promised a wonderful Chaine evening,” said Adele Rugg, who runs the Maui arm of the international culinary organization, which is the oldest in the world and open to newcomers. “This means fine food, fine wine and fine fellowship. Viva la Chaine!” Anyone interested in attending may call 879-9964.

Hana hou makes 6

Keli‘i Kaneali‘i and Barry Flanagan, the original members of Hapa, continue past their run of five sold-out concerts at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. A sixth show is set for Sept. 29. Tickets go on sale Wednesday.

“This continues to be an unprecedented run,” noted Art Vento, MACC president and CEO. “The public’s demand for these shows just continues to swell. We have a new wave of ticket buyers for every show as well as those who proclaim that they must see it again.” For tickets, visit

Veteran journalist Carla Tracy pops the cork on Maui’s dining and entertainment scene in her weekly column. Email her at

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