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Hawaii’s top chefs to gather at Whalers Village for Maui Onion Festival

By Staff | Apr 29, 2010

Keiki and adults will face off in Raw Maui Onion Eating Contests.

KAANAPALI — Held in honor of the island’s most famous agricultural export, sweet Maui Onions, the 21st annual Maui Onion Festival will be held on Saturday, May 1, at Whalers Village.

Set for 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., this fun, family event will feature a full day of celebrity chefs demonstrating cooking techniques (followed by food samplings for the audience), best onion recipe contest, keiki and adult raw onion eating contests, food and product booths, island music and entertainment and FREE parking.

Special shopping promotions start April 26 at the more than 90 shops and restaurants at Whalers Village.

Reporters Tannya Joaquin and Lisa Kubota from KGMB-TV will serve as emcees.

Chef Russell Siu of 3660 on the Rise in Honolulu will take Center Stage at 10 a.m. for the first of five cooking demonstrations planned throughout the day. He will be followed by Chef D.K. Kodama of Sansei Restaurants and Cane & Taro at 11 a.m., 2009 Maui Onion Festival Chefs Recipe Contest winner Chef David Paul Johnson of David Paul’s Island Grill in Lahaina at 1 p.m., Chef James McDonald of Pacific’O and I’o at 5 p.m., and Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurants at 6 p.m. 

During the Maui Onion Festival, events will run on two stages: Center Stage and the Beach Front Lawn.

Kicking off the fun at the Beach Front Lawn is cooking with TV celebrity Cutty Cutler at 11 a.m. Keiki and their parents can learn how to make fresh Hawaiian smoothies.    

Cutty will be followed by the Air Force Band of the Pacific at 1 p.m., Jazz by the Beach with Benoit Jazz Works at 3 p.m. and Versatile at 5:30 p.m. 

At Center Stage at noon, young and adventurous keiki will compete in the Raw Maui Onion Eating Contest, Keiki Division. A Polynesian Hula Show will start at 2 p.m. 

At 3 p.m., participating chefs will come together for the Best Maui Onion Recipe competition. This year’s judges include Chris Speere, Carla Tracy, Shannon Wianecki and Dave Eckert.

At 4 p.m., the Raw Maui Onion Eating Contest, Adult Division will begin at Center Stage. The festival will conclude with a Polynesian Hula Show, Air Force Band of the Pacific concert and Tahitian Dance Show.

Slice right into this year’s Maui Onion Festival at Hula Grill’s third annual Beer Pairings Guest Chef Dinner on Friday, April 30, at 6 p.m. hosted by Executive Chef Scott McGill.

Chef David Paul Johnson will help create a scrumptious, five-course dinner featuring Maui Onions that will be paired with specialty beers from Maui Brewing Co. and Hula Grill’s own Barefoot Brew.

The five-course dinner and beer pairings cost $69.95 per person. The event will be aloha attire. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended; call 667-6636 or visit www.hulagrill.com.

Visit www.whalersvillage.com for more information on Whalers Village.