At the top of my list of what I love the most about Maui life is the abundance of fine dining in a casual atmosphere and collaboration between local farmers and chefs. A few weeks ago I received a tweetvite for a new concept by Kupu Maui. Kupu Maui is a moveable dining event. Starting in April, Kupu Maui is hosting a gathering at a different island farm on the third Saturday of each month. I attended the first event this past Saturday at one of my favorite spots on the Valley Isle, the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm (AKL). The inspiration for this feast was lavender, breakfast & citrus. The brunch was held outdoors on a patio overlooking upcountry Maui. Each course was beautifully presented and ono. The family style feast was prepared with the freshest locally grown ingredients by Chef James (Kimo) Simpliciano and Chef Jenna Haugaard. The third founder of Kupu Maui, Dania Katz, was our gracious hostess.
Their interpretation of the Japanese appetizer, chawanmushi, was flavorful, light and comforting.
The Molokai sweet potato hash with bell pepper, Maui onion and a ginger coconut creme brought oohs and aahs when it was placed on our table and again as we took our first bite.
The red ripe tomato, Maui onion and avocado salad was vibrant and delicious.
My favorite course was the quinoa salad with kale, cranberries and pumpkin. I would love to learn to make this dish on my own, as it was both healthy and satisfying.
We also enjoyed slow roasted pork, mini muffins, fresh fruit and green salad with AKL’s lavender dressing and strawberry pie. Maui Grown Coffee and AKL lavender tea quenched our thirst.
Kupu Maui’s goal is “to gather friends—old and new—for delicious, sustainably sourced food in a dynamic natural setting”. “Kupu Maui emerged out of three friends’ simple desire to feed people, connect with their community, and grow.” They have succeeded. The family style seating kept the conversation flowing between new and old friends who all share a common interest, our desire to support our local farmers and culinary arts.
The next event will be held the evening of May 19th, 2012 at Piliani Kope Farm. The inspiration will be coffee, bbq and views. Follow Kupu Maui on twitter or visit their website for updates and reservation information (signup for the May event is estimated to start around May 2nd).