I woke up from my food coma post Welcome Reception the next morning and thought it was all a dream. Partially because it was, no joke, the best sleep of my life. I’m fairly certain the beds at the Ritz are enchanted, the bedding is probably woven from unicorn hair and the pillows stuffed with magical cotton candy, because seriously, it was a sleep experience like none other. But then I peeked out the window and saw the view. And was all like, "Pheeew! I’m still in paradise.” Good thing I got my rest because today was going to be a big day. The prior night’s festivities were just a warm up. Things were about to get real at the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival: Grand Tasting.
I was glad to see that the festival moved the grand tasting down by the beach this year. I mean, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, right? The tents were all done up pretty like with glowing lanterns, and we got to enjoy a sunset on the beach while we wined and dined. The dishes for the Grand Tasting were presented by the restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton and Kapalua Resort:
- Kai Sushi, Chef de Cuisine Tadashi Yoshino
- The Banyan Tree, Chef de Cuisine Jojo Vasquez
- Pineapple Grill, Executive Chef Isaac Bancaco
- Merriman’s Kapalua, Executive Chef Neil Murphy
- Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Executive Chef Kaipo Nakata
- The Plantation House, Chef/Partner Alex Stainslaw