Our goal is to always challenge ourselves, in everything we do, to be better chefs, better people, and better hosts. Part of that training process is spending time with masters of their craft. One of our first official events we were lucky enough to partner with Sarah Glover, author of “Wild Kitchen”. We like to think that our style pairs well with hers. The Tasmanian chef brings a raw beauty to her cooking that celebrates very open and straightforward flavors and a visual pallet that looks more like a painting than something edible. We really do eat with our eyes first and it’s a great thing with her cooking. What she brought to life on a sunny day in Makena, Maui was incredible.
Like many of our menu’s it started in the brush. Our primary goal is to create very unique meals like you’ve never tasted before. A close second is to use sustainable practices at every level by cooking with invasive species and using the Kiawe wood that is taking over parts of Maui. As a species that needs controlling, we burn a lot of it with pride, it’s an added bonus that it makes a perfect wood for the type of outdoor cooking we do. It’s a dense, hard wood that gives great flavor to anything places over it to cook. Another near-constant menu feature is Axis Deer. This non-native species is on most of the islands and is notoriously difficult to hunt. Hunters tell stories of these deer disappearing in their sights with a blink. Unlike most deer available, such as the North American White Tail, Axis Deer is much more tender and often does not have much of the grassy flavoring other wild game can contain. Because they are delicious, plentiful, and in need of population control, they are our preferred protein option. Although our own hunting was unsuccessful this time around, the great team at Maui Venison provided us a deer they just harvested and processed for the event. We can’t thank them enough for their support.
The day before we began the cooking process, we joined Chef Mike Lefaro on the water for a day of fishing. Our goal was a couple great fish for the event and we brought up three great sized Yellow Fin Tuna. We hope to tell the story of Hawaii through our cooking and powerful, deep water fish is as much a part of that as the islands themselves. We knew immediately these fish would be perfect as poké. Sarah added her own preparations to create the perfect salt water compliment to our deer and pine apple. The fish heads were also smoked over the fire as an additional delicacy.
Our guests were treated to a multi-course meal, all fire cooked on site, in the late Hawaiian summer air. The evening broke wore on and with all happy and full we welcomed the stars and a little rain shower to cool us all off. Our gratitude to cook in open air using the freshest ingredients over open flame is never lost on us. The opportunity to cook with an incredible chef like Sarah and her team is more than we can ever ask for and we can’t wait until we cook with them again.