Update: This post was made when Maui Chef’s Table was still held in Haiku. To learn more about the new (and in our opinion far superior) location, go to Maui Chef’s Table.
This wasn’t my first time going to the award-winning chef’s table hosted by the Mill House Restaurant and Bar. And while the food was as epic as any meal I have ever had the privilege of inhaling, I was able to slow down enough to notice the most important ingredient in their kitchen. Their sense of aloha was present in every course and on every face.
A beautifully designed 7-course meal that is prepared in your presence by expert executive chefs is no small feat. In fact, it’s a pretty big deal. And these chefs don’t get to hide behind swinging kitchen doors, cursing a mistake or a co-worker. They are on show from the moment their guests arrive to locking the door at the end of the evening. I spent the night watching this balance of talents and egos and was wildly impressed with the friendly, mellow vibe every chef exuded.
The head executive chef, Jeff Scheer, just won “Chef of the Year” at the Aipono Awards and some might aptly place that award on the chip jutting out from their shoulder. However, the pre-award Jeff and the post-award Jeff showed his true home roots. Not only did his genuine sincerity continue to shine with both guests and staff, he has made a few wise additions to the staff. One of the new hires is a very hip chick by the name of Chef Krista Garcia.
I’m not one to be swayed by titles and accolades often, but when I found out she had worked under the tutelage of Thomas Keller (owner of the world-renowned “French Laundry” restaurant), I swayed. Her list of prestigious jobs ran a mile long. And the most wonderful part of all was actually meeting such a woman and finding her personable and delightfully humorous! This kitchen should be overrun with ego, but the kindness and flow was smooth as truffle butter.
Anyone that is looking for a breathtaking meal and a night of memories is wise to sign up for a seat at Maui Chef’s Table. And you will not be disappointed in the 7-courses that are placed before you.
What most don’t bargain for is the electricity of the night. There is an energy in this kitchen the moment you walk in. Everyone is on this culinary journey together and there is magic there. People start to mill about, meeting other guests and talking to the chef while he cooks. The walls in the room start to dissipate and you’re no longer a party of two. It becomes a party of 24 people, joined by a night that no one will ever experience again. This meal is only cooked once, and it’s for you! That VIP feeling makes everyone feel rather jolly!
In order to make this night a success, there are a few things to consider. First of all, you are more than welcome to bring your own drinks. Some opt for beer or wine, and a few savvy souls bring the mixings for a kicking cocktail.
Make a point to mingle. There are no rules or regulations at this dinner, so make a few new friends! There is a good chance you’re going to find a few similarities with the others that choose to dine in such a unique way!
When the food comes, put on your blinders and focus on each course. Take a moment and appreciate the art that these chefs created for your tasting pleasure. The first bite is almost an out-of-body experience, and you’ll want to be present for it.
Once your evening as ended, realize that you have been a part of something truly special. Each dish and person and the environment of that evening is something you will never be able to re-create! Once in a lifetime memories are free of charge at this culinary adventure!