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Press Release

Introducing the Mauna Lani Culinary Classic 2023

This summer, a new star-studded culinary celebration debuts on the Big Island at Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, featuring intimate chef-led experiences and cultural events that honor Hawaii’s agricultural heritage.


July 13th, 2023 – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, located on Hawai’i Island, is proud to present the inaugural Mauna Lani Culinary Classic — a brand-new epicurean event created in partnership with esteemed culinary trailblazers from across America. 

Debuting August 31st through September 3rd, 2023 over Labor Day weekend, this exciting three-day festival celebrates Hawaii’s unique agricultural heritage, culinary creativity and local bounty through a series of soulful experiences, including chef-led masterclasses, experimental collaborations, grand tastings, social soirees, a philanthropic silent auction, and more.

Inspired by the legacy of CanoeHouse — Mauna Lani’s signature restaurant, where the Hawai’i Regional Cuisine movement was founded over 30 years ago —  the first-ever Culinary Classic will feature six gourmet events hosted in intimate settings across the resort, offering guests the rare opportunity to eat, drink and ideate with an illustrious group of culinary pioneers, including:

    • Bruce & Eric Bromberg — Chefs and Owners of Blue Ribbon Restaurants
    • Tetsu Yagi, Setsuji Mitsui & Hongki Lee — Master Sushi Chefs, Blue Ribbon Restaurants
    • Stephanie Izard — Executive Chef and Owner of Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat, and Cabra; Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner, “Best Chef: Great Lakes” 
    • Andrew Zimmern — Emmy-winning and four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer and social justice advocate
    • Jose Garces — Chef and restaurateur; Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner, “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” 
    • Tiffany Derry James Beard Award finalist, “Best Chef: Texas” and “Best New Restaurant: Roots Southern Table”; Founder of Tiffany Derry Concepts and Co-Founder of T2D Concepts
    • Jonathan Waxman — Chef and Owner of Barbuto; James Beard Award winner, “Best Chef: New York City”; author and restaurateur
    • Shilpa Uskokovic — Pastry Chef and Food Editor at Bon Appétit
    • Mark Libunao — Executive Chef of CanoeHouse
    • Sheldon Simeon — Chef and Owner of Tiffany’s, Tin Roof Maui; “Top Chef” winner
    • Lee Anne Wong — Executive Chef and Owner of Koko Head Café; “Top Chef” semi-finalist and television producer; cookbook author
    • Vitaly Paley Chef and restaurateur of Paley’s Place; cookbook author, Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner, “ Best Chef: Northwest/Hawaii” 
    • Ken Forkish — Chef and Founder of Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Ken’s Artisan Pizza; author of James Beard Award-winning cookbook and New York Times Best Seller, “Flour Water Salt Yeast”
    • Allen Hess — Executive Chef and restaurateur of FORC; Big Island culinary ambassador
    • Sam Choy — Chef and restaurateur of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai; James Beard Award winner, “America’s Classics: Restaurant & Chef”; television personality, Big Island culinary ambassador and cookbook author
    • Allan Nagun — Executive Chef at Mauna Lani
    • Pauline Lam — Executive Pastry Chef at Mauna Lani
    • Manny Hinojosa Master Mixologist; Global Brand Ambassador for Tequila Cazadores
    • Francesco Lafranconi — Master Mixologist; Golden Spirits Award winner 
    • Christopher Ramelb Master Sommelier; Director of Wine Education at Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits

Social purpose remains of utmost importance to Mauna Lani which is embraced through its on-site community garden, Hoʻōla, created in partnership with local non-profit organization Māla‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School. With this value at its core, the Mauna Lani Culinary Classic commences with local farm tours through Waimea for the participating chefs, introducing them to family-run and responsibly-sourced farms, followed by a visit to Māla‘ai, where the chefs will join local students in making a dish prepared with ingredients from their garden.  

Back at the resort, the culinary festivities kick off with “Volcanic Vines and Wines”, a tasting of vintage wines from volcanic vineyards led by Master Sommelier and Hawaii native Christopher Ramelb, followed by a special omakase dinner with Blue Ribbon Restaurants’ founding chefs, Bruce and Eric Bromberg, in celebration of Blue Ribbon’s 30th Anniversary. All-access passholders can also mix and mingle with Culinary Classic chefs at Blue Ribbon’s exclusive after-hours party, featuring one-of-a-kind cocktails by Master Mixologists Manny Hinojosa and Francesco Lafranconi. Other interactive culinary programs include a family-friendly sushi masterclass and a Portland-meets-Big Island collab by James Beard winners Vitaly Paley and Ken Forkish. 

On Friday, September 1st, Mauna Lani invites the community to the ultimate surfside bash, Chefs on the Beach, where local chefs, participating talent and local purveyors will join forces for an exhilarating tasting party on the Surf Shack Lawn. Dedicated to Hawaiian culture, Chefs on the Beach will also present live entertainment, surprise performances, and a silent auction benefiting Māla‘ai.

Three days of gastronomic ingenuity will culminate at the Culinary Classic Dinner featuring Moët & Chandon, Veuve La Grande Dame, Belvedere and Volcan Tequila. Guest gourmands will savor an incredible seven-course dinner at CanoeHouse, along with curated wine pairings, desserts by Pastry Chef Shilpa Uskokovic of Bon Appétit, locally-sourced coffee from Kona and Ka’u, and stunning ocean views.

Guests of the Mauna Lani Culinary Classic can purchase tickets for individual events ($250-$600) or an all-access pass ($3,000) with access to every event. Select programs offer special pricing for industry professionals. Tickets and the complete line-up of events are available online at 


For reservations and ticketing information, please contact: 808.885.6622 

For media inquiries, please contact Bacchus Agency on: 


About Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection

Situated along the sun-drenched Kohala Coast on sacred land marked by royal fishponds, natural lava plains, lush tropical gardens and alluring beaches, Mauna Lani– meaning “mountain reaching heaven”– is an inspiring spiritual haven defining a new era of experiential luxury on the Island of Hawaii. Among Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels in the World as well as Top 15 Beach Resorts in the U.S., Mauna Lani underwent a complete reimagination in January of 2020. Contemporary accommodations, oceanfront dining at CanoeHouse, three distinct pools, a signature spa and wellness haven including an on-site goop store, Kainalu sports and Living Culture programs, and an interactive Holoholo Kids Crew set the tone for enriching and transformational experiences. For more information on Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection please visit