Food is our common ground, a universal experience.-James Beard
Recently my brother Jeff (pictured above with my youngest son) made a quick trip to visit us here on Maui. He had been here once before and I was excited to take him back to the beaches, let him see the huge winter waves and perhaps go up to Haleakala. Unfortunately when he arrived it was raining across the entire island! He was okay with that because let’s face it, any vacation on Maui in the winter is a good vacation. Since his trip was last minute I didn’t have a lot on our schedule, but I was hoping something fun would come up that we could enjoy together…and it did!
We were invited to join the table of Bridgett Parker of Bridgett Loves Maui and Marilyn Lopes of Maui Country Farm Tours, along with their spouses for the Saturday Night Maui Chef’s Table at the beautiful Maui Tropical Plantation. My brother is a “foodie” (shh, don’t tell him I said that…maybe he just really loves all kinds of food, like a manly man and not some hipster, or whatever) and I had a feeling this unique dining experience would be something he would truly savor, pun intended.
Thankfully, the rain had cleared out for the most part, and I wanted to arrive a little early to enjoy the sunset. Part of the Maui Chef’s Table experience is to soak in the surroundings, and what better place than the tropical plantation to do just that! Palm tree lined roads, fields of produce, peaceful ponds, rustic buildings and the backdrop of the West Maui Mountains all contribute to a sense of island nostalgia.
I love styling homes and the special touches of fresh plumeria on each place setting, as well as the fresh tropical florals and the rustic wood table created a feeling of warmth, beauty and aloha. Every sense is employed at the Chef’s Table, and it starts upon your arrival. We had the pleasure of meeting friendly General Manager, Francesco Greco, and enjoyed his laidback, fun attitude! His excitement for all that the Maui Tropical Plantation is doing is evident in his conversations.
My brother Jeff and I enjoyed the unique aspect of participating in the meal, by watching the wonderful Chef Jeff Scheer (pictured above) work his magic on each element of the meal, as well as by asking questions about the foods. Chef Jeff was a pro, handling all of the picture-taking and conversation with ease as he made each creative course!
We delighted in 7 courses that night, each one crafted by Chef Jeff, using the plantation’s fresh produce, as well as a few other locally sourced items (like the Kauai shrimp – hello! So amazing!!!).
Maui Chef’s Table is not simply farm-to-table…the table relies on their own farm for the majority of their foods. Each week the chef create a new menu, dictated by what the farm has available and in season.
While those seated at our table all live on Maui, it was evident that people from all over the world were participating in this amazing evening. The open-air environment and cool breezes, coupled with the laughter and conversation of guests made it feel like we were all at home, gathered around the kitchen table, sharing food and stories, all united by those two gifts.
Along with the amazing food, I was ecstatic that my brother could meet my dear Maui friends, Bridgett and Josh, as well as new Maui friends Marilyn and her husband Ricky.
And boy did Ricky have some “old Maui” stories for us, having been born and raised on this beautiful island. While we’d only just met, it felt like we were all old friends.
Meeting Ricky and Marilyn was such a great surprise, and the whole experience was just great! Very unique and fun…getting to see the food prepped right there and getting to talk with the chef.
-Jeff (my brother)
Maui continues to gift me with experiences of a lifetime, that I will cherish forever. I’m grateful my brother and I could share this special meal together, with friends, in a gorgeous location and with fresh, local food. If you are looking for more than just a meal, but an entire dining experience look no further than the Maui Chef’s Table on Friday and Saturday nights at the Maui Tropical Plantation. You will receive more than food…you will receive cherished memories.
Livin’ la vida aloha,
Note: While I was invited to participate in the Chef’s Table in exchange of an honest review, we paid 100% of our gratuity and received no financial compensation. All opinions and photos are my own.