A Maui Chefs Perspective of Kaanapali Fresh Food Festival Events

A Maui Chefs Perspective of Kaanapali Fresh Food Festival Events

Catered dessert station with chocolate strawberries and coffee chocolate mousse.Unlike many weekends when we are around Maui catering wedding receptions or cooking a barbecue for a catered family reunion, last weekend we were fortunate to work very close to home in and around the Kaanapali Resort! In only the second year, the Kaanapali Fresh Food Festival has already acquired an impressive following of loyalists and returning guests. If you are planning to attend next year, I recommend getting tickets early as the events are likely to sell out in advance.

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in Kaanapali Fresh as it was exciting to make new friends and get re-acquainted with friends from the past. Not only did the festival provide me with opportunity to learn about a few new local farmers and talk story with other chefs, equally pleasing were the discussions with the sommeliers on hand from numerous wine makers. My favorite part of the event was the opportunity to meet and talk about food, discuss cooking techniques to utilizing farm fresh products and share my love of cooking with so many visitors to Maui and local Maui residents, some who don’t visit West Maui often!

Kaanapali Coffee Farm tour guests discusion with Maui Chef Christian Jorgensen.Though only a few fortunate attendees were able to attend the coffee farm lunch above my restaurant, CJ’s Deli and Diner, those who did expressed compliments about the lunch my staff and I prepared. Keeping with the theme for the year, our lunch A display of custom cheese prepared by Maui chef Christian Jorgensen.menu was created to celebrate coffee being grown in Hawaii for more than 200 years. Take a look at the menu below and the images from the gourmet lunch:

Chef Prepared Gourmet Lunch for Kaanapali Coffee Farm Tour
Coffee Cured Salmon with Mustard-Dill Glaze
Citrus Coated Calamari with Fennel Salad
Antipasto Platter (Meats, Peppers, Olives, Artichoke)
Old-Style Tomato and Buffalo Cheese Stacks
Grilled Asparagus and Root Vegetables
Home Made Cheese Display with Fruits & Crackers
Farm Breads with Olive Oil and Pesto Aioli
CJ’s Infused Ice Tea & Lemonade in Dispensers and Ice Coffee to Order

For more Kaanapali Coffee Farm gourmet lunch images and more descriptions of the menu we served, head over to the Kaanapali Fresh ‘Living on the Farm has its Coffee Perks’ after you scroll down to see the amazing desserts we created and served at the Kaanapali Fresh Food and Wine Dinner on Saturday evening.

ocean view catered lunch maui IMG 4286

Catering themes like this one featuring a pineapple field with strawberries and dragon fruit growing in Kaanapali, Maui.For the Saturday evening Kaanapali 5-0 Food and Wine Festival Dinner, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Kaanapali Resort, guests were treated to live entertainment with performance from acclaimed recording artists Makana and Amy Hanalali’I Gilliom. Next to the stage, guests didn’t need to go far to indulge in the selection of desserts my staff and I prepared for the event. Accompanied by the red Kaanapali Coffee Farms truck along with a farm field ‘growing’ strawberries, pineapple and dragon fruit nearby, my dessert stations were a big hit at the event. Thanks to the Maui Culinary Maui Culinary Academy serving at Kaanapali Fresh Festival.Academy student chefs for complementing our team and staff! I also want to express gratitude to Roselani Ice Cream for the use of their facility and assistance working together to perfect the Vanilla Basil Coffee ice cream for the Kaanapali Fresh dinner. Not only did we use natural Tahitian vanilla and locally grown fresh basil, we also infused roasted coffee into the premium Roselani ice cream. Had we polled for favorite dessert, it would have been a very difficult decision selecting a winner. From comments, it would’ve been a tie between the Strawberries with Vanilla Basil Coffee Ice Cream and the Hana Bar & Haupia Sandwich with Pineapple Flambe. Since we were out of both the coffee infused Taramisu and chocolate coffee mouse at the end of the event, I don’t think anybody went home with an unfulfilled sweet tooth. To relive the dessert experience or for ideas to use in your own catered menu dessert stations, take a look at the menu from the event:

Kaanapali Fresh Food & Wine Festival, Kaanapali 5’0

“Kaanpali Romanoff”
Kula Strawberries Macerated with Maui Ocean Golden Vodka with Polynesian Peppercorn and Roselani Vanilla Basil Coffee Ice Cream

Dessert Truck (Live-Chef serve)
CJ’s Hana Bar & Haupia Sandwich with Maui Gold Pineapple Flambe

Dessert Buffet (self serve)
Coffee infused Tiramisu, Cookies, Parfait and Chocolate Coffee Mousse

Kaanapali Coffee Station
3 Flavors of locally grown Maui coffee

Maui chef prepared strawberries with basil coffee vanilla ice cream.

Are you ready to serve one of these menus to your guests at a private catered event on Maui? We include as much or as little help as you need or want, from complimentary wedding planning service with full service catered reception to the most affordable catering option for DIY wedding planners with chafing dishes and tables included, you can count on Comfort Zone Maui Catering. Start planning now by requesting a no obligation Maui catering quote:


Not ready for a catering quote but want to stay in touch? Then subscribe to our blog to receive more Maui Chef Christian’s recipes, cooking tips and details of upcoming private cooking events on Maui!A dessert station at the Kaanapali Fresh Foodie Festival in West Maui.

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CJ’s Kaanapali Diner Review

My daughter and I visited Maui a couple of weeks ago and came to your restaurant 3 times. I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to meet our gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free requirements. We loved being able to eat out safely and wish we had a CJ’s at home! I just wrote you a stellar review on Trip Advisor. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the summer!

Kelley MacCabe
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Review

Wonderful for a Sunday Brunch since you can order breakfast until 11:00am! Had a ‘custom’ 3 ingredient omelette (I chose mushrooms, feta and spinach) with nicely crunchy on the outside and soft inside home potatoes, yummy. Hubby had the pancakes with fresh fruit! These are light fluffy slightly sweet batter pancakes, not those heavy bland ones (OK I admit it, I had to have a few bites of his breakfast…) Service was fast and friendly :0). The menu is EXTENSIVE, we live here and love it!

Kathy, Lahaina, Maui
CJ’s Deli and Diner Maui Restaurant Review

Fact: CJ’s Maui onion soup will melt your face off it’s so good. Best I’ve ever had. It gets 20 stars.
Alas, it’s not on the menu every day… But when my fiancee and I went this past summer and were lucky to meet Chef CJ in person and mentioned that we had been thinking about the onion soup since the last time we visited two years earlier, he was kind enough to put it on the next day’s menu. We went back the following day and ordered it, and it was amazing, just as we had remembered. Another fact: the onion soup at CJ’s is better than the onion soup at Mama’s Fish House (and at like 1/4th of the price). Really. It’s that good. Part of me wants to reverse engineer CJ’s onion soup recipe, quit my job, and make millions selling onion soup to the mainland masses! (or: CJ, wanna make a deal?)
I think that the loco moco gravy is made from the same goodness. So that’s great too. The potato salad is tasty as well.
The to-go lunch plate is respectable.

Jonny S, San Diego, CA
Maui Chef CJ Prepares Mushroom Soup for Kaanapali Restaurant Guest

On a previous visit to Maui, I had the most delicious mushroom soup at CJ’s Deli and Diner in Kaanapali. When I arrived in Maui this week, I emailed the restaurant and asked what day they might have the soup. The owner and chef, Christian Jorgensen (CJ), promptly replied even though he was on vacation in Vegas. He gave me a number to call to check on the soup of the day. Then when he returned to Maui on Friday, he emailed me to let me know he would have the soup for me on Saturday. When I got there, he was so friendly and the soup was even more scrumptious than I had remembered. I really appreciated how valued he made me feel as a customer.

Linda D.
CJs Maui Restaurant Customer

Good Morning, My wife and I spent last week in Maui. Your early bird special was the best. After we found you, we ate breakfast there every morning. You had two regular coffees that we just loved.

James T Wilson Jr
Maui Restaurant Customer

The best burger I ever had! Great Service! Fantastic Food!! Simply Awesome.

Pat Janostin, Champlin MN
Kaanapali Restaurant Customer Comment

Thanks for all the Good Food. Best we have ad since we hit the island 5 days ago!

Jeff and Myra V., Ontario, Ohio

CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comments on CJ’s Private Luau in her Blog

Aloha, Just wanted to let you know that this post was up last Friday and it will be included (linked) with all of our Hawaii properties. Thank you both for excellent service. You made our trip to Maui very memorable! Feel free to comment on the post. It’s always good to have additional information and your input.


Nancy Solomon, Travel Writer
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

Aloha, We were in to see you many times during our stay last month in Ka’anapali, couple of things for you:
Need to order some more of your CJ’s roasted Kona Coffee. I see it’s not yet on your website, only the Maui Coffee Co. stuff. We ran out last weekend and are having withdrawls, please help!! Need 2 bags urgently!!
Secondly, your claim about having the best corned beef hash on the island. I think you’ve understated this because it’s the best I’ve had any where in the world! And that covers a lot of ground as I’ve been to every continent multiple times. Just the best anywhere, period!! Don’t suppose you would have that for delivery to Indiana would you? Maybe by the pound(s)?
Great people and even better food, Mahalo CJ’s. Seriously though, please let me know about that coffee. How do we get some ordered and shipped to Indiana?

Bill Clark, Valparaiso, In.
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

​CJ’s Deli & Diner Rocks! Been here several times while visiting Maui – each time we tried different meals and each time we LOVED the food, service and atmosphere. Only suggestion would be to provide regular dinner napkins along with this paper type – because we’re messy!

Aloha and Mahalo from Detroit