One might compare the ‘Aipono awards on April 26th, 2015 to the grandeur of the Oscars, with the best of the best rubbing shoulders and egos.

The Sheraton Maui Resort hosted this luxurious evening for the island’s most fabulous chefs from the finest restaurants on Maui.  Rarely does one see a gathering of such greatness, which is why these tickets sold faster than you can say “amuse bouche”. While this may be enough to wow the apron off of any foodie, that isn’t what makes this star-studded event revered.

The ‘aipono awards are hosted each year by Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine and in true aloha spirit, they donate all proceeds from this event to the Maui Culinary Academy.  This tremendous offering allows worthy students a first-rate education from this highly acclaimed academy.  The ‘aipono awards aren’t the only evening that the Maui Culinary Academy gets recognition, real-world education or funding.  Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine also hosts a ‘Aipono Winemaker’s Dinner Series.  These intimate dinners are held at ‘Aipono Award-winning restaurants, directed by Advanced Sommelier Charles Fredy of Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants.  There are personal appearances by the winery owners or representatives at each dinner.  These tickets are available for purchase, but because of the intimate setting, you’ll want to snag one as soon as possible!


At the awards shows and the winemaker’s dinners, the students of the academy become a part of the hosting and culinary team, and these experiences are invaluable.  They work alongside the best chefs on the island, being mentored to the standards of these world-class restaurants.  This insight and experience better prepares them for the day-to-day experience of their chosen career.  And on the night of this awards show, these lucky students got to shake hands with some of their culinary heros and potential future employers.


The event is named after the Hawaiian word ‘ai, which means “to eat,” and pono which means “excellence.” And that definition couldn’t be more evident, from the exceptional quality of wine and spirits that were provided by the Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants to the gourmet three course dinner hosted by Starwood Maui Culinary team.  And the culinary students contributed to the excellence with their spectacular pupus.


There is a beauty and honesty to the ‘Aipono Awards, as these impressive accolades are determined by the readers of the Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine, the residents and the visitors of the island.  However, the prestigious Chef of the Year title is decided by peer review, voted on exclusively by Maui chefs and industry insiders.  Each year adds another element of greatness as these honored chefs step it up and increase their accomplishments in the culinary world.

To call one person the Chef of the Year is to showcase their transcendence into true excellence.  Their passion to their craft and their ability to enchant each guest with their culinary expertise has to be evident to the panel of skilled culinary experts giving the award.  So, it is an absolute honor to announce Chef Jeff Scheer as the 2015 Chef of the Year.  This small-town Buckeye from Ohio has taken Maui by storm.  Jeff is a Maui Culinary Academy graduate, and put his prodigious skills to work when he started Maui Executive Catering almost a decade ago.  Chef Scheer has a genuine respect for our island, and sources his ingredients from all local purveyors and farms.  Supporting local sustainability makes him easily loved and his wicked ways with these farm fresh ingredients has made his 5-star catering company and exclusive chef’s table dining experience one for the books.


Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine said everyone walked away a winner, and we definitely agree.  But we also applaud those that took their game to the next level, and Chef Jeff Scheer deserves a standing ovation for his accomplishments in the competitive world of food!


For more information on Chef Jeff Scheer and his company, Maui Executive Catering, visit his website at

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