Hungry Hawaii: The Aloha State's Hottest Culinary News

(Photo by magdanatka/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images) Photo by magdanatka/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Got clients who are hungry to visit Hawaii...literally?

From a family-style event featuring some of the hottest Hawaiian chefs to a new pop-up restaurant on Kapalua Bay, Travel Agent breaks down the Aloha State's top culinary news. 

Hawaiian Chefs Interact With Families at Hana Ku 

Ala Kukui, a Hana, Maui-based non-profit organization and retreat center, will host its inaugural fundraiser on July 15.


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The “Hana to Table Culinary Experience” will focus its efforts on the continuation of Hana Ku, a program designed to facilitate the sharing of native Hawaiian family practices with celebrated island chefs.

This year’s event will feature chef Mark Noguchi of The Pili Group, chef Mark Pomaski of Hilo’s Moon & Turtle, chef Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof Maui, chef Isaac Bancaco of Andaz Wailea and chef Bella Toland of Travaasa Hana. The chefs will prepare dishes with locally obtained ingredients, sharing the process and preparation with the evening’s guests.

“The hana (work) of hunter, fisherman and master chef speak to the high level of passion, respect and commitment that each share for their practice,” said Ala Kukui Executive Director Kaui Kanakaole in a written release. “When brought together in the spirit of respect and sharing, only one thing happens: magic – and we want to share that with our community and those who wish to see our practices flourish.”

Hana Ku hopes to expand this program of partnership with additional events scheduled throughout the year, enabling more families, chefs and guests the opportunity to learn from one another, and protect the traditional practices for continued sharing across generations.

The event will be held at Ala Kukui Hana Retreat on Saturday, July 15 with individual tickets selling for $175, and table sponsorship opportunities starting at $2,000. 

Travaasa Hana is offering special room packages with purchase of Hana Ku event tickets. Ala Kukui will also offer an archery tournament for the community on Sunday, July 16. Seating is limited for both events and advance purchase is required.


Montage Kapalua Bay Launches New Pop-Up Bar and Lounge

Montage Kapalua Bay recently unveiled Champagne Hale at Cliff House, a new, pop-up bar and lounge for guests and locals to experience Maui sunsets while enjoying a variety of Champagnes paired with a dining menu.

From now to September 3, Champagne Hale at Cliff House will be open from 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday.

The Champagne Hale, with "hale" being the Hawaiian word for house or home, sits on the cliffs of Namalu Bay. 

Montage Kapalua Bay created a paired menu of Champagnes and light bites for the Champagne Hale. Champagnes featured include Veuve Clicquot Rich, a unique offering from the house available for the first time in the islands, inspired by mixology and best enjoyed over ice with fresh ingredients like pineapple and citrus. 

Additionally, Veuve Clicquot's signature Yellow Label, Rose and La Grande Dame will also be available by the glass and in a special "sunset tasting flight." 

Montage Kapalua Bay's Executive Chef David Viviano's food menu for the Champagne Hale includes classic Tuna Poke with limu, soy, ginger, avocado, ocean salad and taro chips and Oysters on the Half Shell with Champagne mignonette and calamansi.

The 24-acre Montage Kapalua Bay houses 50 residences and six "Grand" residences, ranging from one to four bedrooms. Guests also have access to a multi-tiered lagoon pool, which cascades down the center of the resort.


New Cluster of Restaurants Open at International Market Place in Waikiki

James Beard award-winning chef Michael Mina has officially opened his latest concept and gourmet gathering spot, The Street, A Michael Mina Social House, in the heart of Waikiki.

Occupying 6,900 square feet of the ground floor of Hawaii’s International Market Place, The Street is a collection of culinary experiences curated by Mina to highlight the perspectives and expertise of chefs hailing from the MINA Group and beyond. 

The Street offers a lively gathering place with cuisine for all tastes while celebrating gourmet takes on global street fare served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night festivities.

“The Street is designed as a culinary journey for friends and families to gather for casual meals or festive celebrations,” said Mina in a news release. “It’s the perfect setting for anything from a grab-and-go breakfast to a casual lunch to late night bites and drinks.”

Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night, The Street is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. while each restaurant concept has special hours of operation unique to their menu offerings. Select vendors will have extended hours for late night activities including nightly DJ sets and live musicians.


Kula & Ko Debuts First Store at International Market Place in Waikiki

Kula & Ko Confectionery has announced the opening of its first retail store at International Market Place in Waikiki, Hawaii

The new 550 square-foot space offers the company's signature pineapple filled cake bars. To celebrate, the company will be offering a grand opening weekend special from Saturday, June 10 to Sunday, June 11 with 15 percent off an entire purchase.

“We’re happy to have found our home at International Market Place where we are proudly able to share our beautifully packaged cakebars with kamaaina and the world. Customers are able to take a piece of aloha with them wherever they travel,” said Julianna Paik, co-founder of Kula & Ko Confectionery, in a a written release.

Inspired by the rich history of Hawaii’s plantation era, Kula & Ko takes its name from the Hawaiian words for gold (kula) and sugarcane (ko). The company’s first brick and mortar concept has been two years in the making. 

Since the beginning, Kula & Ko has always used local vendors and locally-grown ingredients including pineapples from Dole Plantation on Oahu. In fact, one whole pineapple goes into each of their six cake boxes. The handmade cake bar is a hybrid between cake and cookie and offers a unique texture and flavor. Each buttery cake bar is handcrafted and baked at the baking headquarters located in Honolulu.


Luxury Maui Resort to Host Barbecue Featuring Top U.S. Chefs, Pit Masters

On July 8, Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort on Maui will host the first annual “Fire It Up!” culinary event, providing guests and locals with a taste of barbecue flavors from around the country. 

A live-fire food, wine, beer and bourbon event, Fire It Up! is curated to showcase Hawaii’s bountiful meats, seafood and produce cooked exclusively with fire. Featuring culinary stars from around the country in an evening of beach-side indulgence, coupled with live entertainment, exciting activities and more, Fire It Up! is looking to become one of Maui’s hottest annual summer events.

Hosted by Grand Wailea’s chef team, Fire It Up! will feature signature dishes from such celebrity chefs as Hubert Keller, and pit masters across the U.S., who will each serve a signature dish cooked by live fire. As attendees enjoy a beautiful beach setting alongside the Pacific Ocean, they’ll also taste such dishes as carnita tacos and Kualoa Ranch Oysters Rockefeller. 

Alongside the cuisine will be cocktails complimenting the fare prepared by John Tiogo, Grand Wailea beverage manager and mixologist. Guests can also enjoy a selection of bourbon and tequila cocktails, wines, and Grand Wailea’s signature Gose beer, brewed exclusively for the resort by Maui Brewing Company.

Live entertainment will accompany the evening, featuring performances by Hawaii talents, including Makana and Cyral Pahinui. Chef Hubert Keller will also demonstrate his DJ skills. Interactive games for children will also be available.

Fire It Up! will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. at Molokini Gardens at Grand Wailea. General admission tickets are priced at $150 per person and includes food and beverage at the event. 

Guests can also purchase VIP admission tickets for $250 per person, which includes 30-minute early entry, a dedicated VIP section and swag bags. 

Tickets for children ages 5-12 are $75, while children under 5 are allowed free admission. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite at

Visit and keep visiting for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260

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