2011 Maui Onion Festival - Kaanapali Resort
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2011 Maui Onion Festival

Hawai’i ‘s top chefs gather at Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants in Kaanapli Beach Resort for the 22nd Annual Maui Onion Festival.

KAANAPALI, Maui – On Saturday, May 7, Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants will host the 22nd Annual Maui Onion Festival. The fun kicks off at 9:45 am featuring celebrity chefs and free food samplings, the best Maui onion recipe contest, keiki and adult raw Maui onion eating contests, food and product booths, local music and entertainment, retail offerings, and free parking. These activities continue throughout the day, wrapping up at 9 pm.

New this year is the Maui Onion Challenge. Scheduled from April 22 – May 6, the Maui Onion Challenge has eight Kaanapali restaurants in a friendly competition to see who has the best Maui onion appetizer. During this time, the general public is encouraged to dine at participating Kaanapali restaurants to taste and score as many of the featured appetizers as possible. Participants will be eligible to win a trip for two between Maui and any non-stop destination serviced by Alaska Airlines. The winning Maui onion appetizer and the trip for two will be announced at 3:30 pm at the Maui Onion Festival. Participating restaurants include CJ’s at the Fairway Shops, Black Rock Steak & Seafood at Sheraton Maui, Tiki Terrace at Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Cane & Taro at Whalers Village, Pulehu at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Tropica Restaurant & Bar at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, ‘Umalu at The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa and Royal Lahaina Resort’s Ocean Terrace. With the exception of CJ’s, all of the restaurants will feature the appetizer on their dinner menu. CJ’s will offer it during lunch. The appetizers are one price – $9.99.

This year’s visiting emcee is Manolo Morales of KHON 2.

The chef demonstrations scheduled throughout the Maui Onion Festival begin with Chef James McDonald of Pacific’O and i?o Restaurants at 10 am; Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s at 11 am; Chef D.K. Kodama representing his Maui restaurants – Sansei and Cane & Taro – at 1 pm; Chef Brian Etheredge of Capische at 2 pm; Chef Eric Arbogast of Cuarto at 5 pm; and Chef David Paul Johnson of David Paul’s Island Grill at 6 pm.

In addition, the Maui Onion Festival presents their much-anticipated schedule of events on two stages: Center Stage and the Beach Front Lawn. Kicking off the fun at the Beach Front Lawn is a Tahitian Hula Show at 10 am following that is Cooking with Cutty Cutler at 11 am. There is no better time for keiki and their parents to learn how to make fresh Hawaiian smoothies. At 1 pm the Air Force Band of the Pacific performs followed by Magician Brenton Keith at 2 pm. Benoit Jazz Works is on at 3 pm, Island Sounds with local favorites at 5 pm and Ribbon on Knowledge at 6 pm. The Air Force Band of the Pacific gives an encore performance at 7 pm.

The Center Stage hosts the chef demonstrations along with the keiki raw Maui Onion eating contest. At 3 pm all of the chefs gather for the judging of the Maui Onion Recipe Contest. The 2011 judges include Carla Tracy, dining editor, Maui News; Shannon Wianecki, associate editor, Maui No Ka Oi magazine; Chris Speere, coordinator, Maui Culinary Academy; and Michael Horn, host of What’s Cooking Today on CRN Digital Talk Radio, a radio show that reaches 11 million homes nationwide. During this time, festival organizers will announce the winner of the Maui Onion Challenge and the trip for two from Alaska Airlines. The adult raw Maui Onion eating contest will take place at 4 pm followed by a second performance by the Tahitian Hula Show at 7 pm.

On Friday, May 6, Chef Scott McGill of Hula Grill Kaanapali presents the annual Maui Onion Pairing Dinner featuring a three-course meal featuring the Maui Kula Onion paired with beer by Maui Brewinig Co. Tickets are sold at Hula Grill. Call 667-6636.

Merchants at Whalers Village will offer specials. Shoppers may receive a free Maui Onion Festival bag with purchases of $150 or more.

About the Maui Kula Onion: A golden-pale globe with mild, crunchy flesh, the Maui Kula Onion embodies premium quality, belongs to the sweetest onions in the world, and is grown on about 150 acres in cool, fertile Kula. Its name is trademarked to safeguard authenticity.

About Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants: Recognized as Maui’s premier oceanfront shopping destination, Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants is part of the master-planned, award-winning Kaanapali Beach Resort and hugs the famed three-mile long strip of Kaanapali Beach. Set on 8.5 tropical acres, diverse, carefree, and sophisticated at once, the three-level open-air village comprises 111,857 square feet of retail space with a vibrant variety of shops and restaurants and offers a world- renowned whaling museum, cultural crafts and entertainment, and dynamic annual celebrations. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., it’s the place to shop, dine, and play. Visit www.whalersvillage.com for more information.

MEDIA CONTACT: Charlene Ka’uhane / Ka’uhane Inc. Phone (808) 243-2290 or Email charlene@kauhaneinc.com