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Maui chefs team up for Project Kokua for Hawaii Island

By Staff | Sep 4, 2014

“Hawaii is a unique place; though not connected by land, we are connected in our aloha, our desire to want to help one another and our way of life. In a time like this, we all come together to kokua where we are able,” said Chef Lyndon Honda, owner of Laulima Events and Catering.

WAILUKU – Maui chefs are organizing a culinary fundraiser to support Hawaii Island neighbors, friends, family and farmers suffering from damage by Tropical Storm Iselle. Project Kokua for Hawaii Island will take place at Maui Tropical Plantation on Sunday, Sept. 7, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. All proceeds raised will go toward relief efforts distributed through the Rotary District 5000 Foundation.

Project Kokua evolved through the efforts of Chef Lyndon Honda, owner of Laulima Events and Catering, with the support of Chef Marc McDowell of The Millhouse at Maui Tropical Plantation and Chef Jojo Vasquez of Plantation House and Pineapple Grill.

Honda was inspired to action by a Facebook post from Chef Kyle Kawakami of Maui Fresh Streatery, calling attention to the need to generate awareness and support.

With so many Maui residents having friends and family on Hawaii Island, and his own daughter living in Hilo, Honda knew he wanted to do something to help – and he wanted to do it immediately.

“I realized we needed to pull together as one community, one ‘ohana, because if that happened to Maui, we would need all the help we could get,” Honda said.

Project Kokua for Hawaii Island will give guests a delicious sampling of dishes by top chefs and restaurants from across Maui.

The menu items include Thai Beef Coconut Curry, Kalua Pork Gyozas, Filipino Sweet Pork, Beef Rendang with Fresh Grilled Roti, Lilikoi Key Lime Tartlettes and much more, all prepared with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.

Participating chefs, owners and businesses include: Honda; Vasquez; McDowell; Kawakami; Sheldon Simeon of Migrant and Mala Wailea; Elizabeth McDonald of B3, A Beach Bunny Bakery; Chris Schobel of Fat Daddy’s; James Simpliciano of Simpli-Fresh; Anton Haines of Pacific’O; Belia Paul of Aloha Events Catering; Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Maui; Adrian Aina (for Eric Faivre) of Grand Wailea; Les Tomita and Mariah Brown of Da Kitchen; Jake Belmonte of Maui Culinary Academy; Chris Mahon of Shark Pit Food Truck; Wes Holder of Pulehu, an Italian Grill at Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas; Emma Lee Larsen of Cake Fanatics; Joey Macadangdang of Roy’s Kaanapali; Ryan Luckey of Leilani’s on the Beach; Ivan Pahk of Na Hoaloha Ekolu; Kaipo Nakata of Sansei Kapalua; Travis Morrin of Three’s Bar and Grill; Tom Muromoto of Kaanapali Beach Hotel; Tylun Pang of Fairmont Kea Lani; John Cadman of Maui Breadfruit Company; Mitzi Toro of Maui Cookie Lady; Sugar Beach Bake Shop; Monica Bogar of Napili FLO Farms; and Todd Casselberry of Wow Wow Lemonade.

The evening also features entertainment and a silent auction. Guests may bid on gift certificates to favorite Maui restaurants, including Plantation House, Pineapple Grill, Roy’s Kaanapali, Mama’s Fish House, and Da Kitchen, as well as specialty items like a cheese knife from Cutco Closing Gifts.

When Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall on Aug. 7, it ravaged the Puna District and other areas of Hawaii Island, destroying homes, forests and farms. Thousands of people were left without power and water for days, even weeks. Farmers of coffee, macadamia nuts, flowers and plants suffered huge losses of crops, building and equipment. Papaya farmers were especially hard hit, with estimated losses of $53 million.

Although Iselle has passed and attention reduced, many families and businesses remain desperately in need of financial assistance in order to begin the process of recovery and rebuilding.

Event organizers and participants hope to raise more than $20,000. Tickets are $50 per person (includes food and beverages) and are available for purchase at both Da Kitchen restaurant locations in Kihei and Kahului. Event parking is free.

Checks can be made out to Rotary D5000 Foundation, memo: Project Kokua. Donations may be sent directly to Chef Sheldon Simeon, P.O. Box 10984, Lahaina, HI 96761, or contact Janice Simeon at sjsimeon@gmail.com or (808) 276-5258 to arrange for pick-up.

For more information, contact Honda at cheflyndonhonda@gmail.com or (808) 989-4733. n