After a triumphant stint on the television show America's Top Chef last year, local wunderchef Sheldon Simeon's profile has been elevated to rock star proportions (he made it to third in the finals). I recently was handed proof of Chef's new found celebrity when a niece of mine, visiting from Texas, included on her Must Do On Maui List a trip to the Lahaina dining venue Chef Sheldon helped found and brought him into the spotlight for his innovative take on asian food preparation.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Chef has recently joined forces with another culinary trend-setter, Chef Mark Ellman. Last week, Sheldon announced his newest venture with two evenings of a specially prepared tasting menu at Ellman's two Lahaina restaurants. I had the opportunity to attend the second... a fly (with camera)-on-the-wall, trying my best to stay out of the way, as Chef Sheldon and an assembled team of talented chefs prepared plate after meticulously constructed plate using a diverse and tasty array of ingredients which included popcorn, dragon fruit, watermelon radish, abura-age, pork belly, grilled jumbo shrimp...
Working under a tent in a make-shift kitchen nestled between Ellman's two Lahaina restaurants, Chef Sheldon & team worked like a well-oiled machine, assembling each plate using long tweezers for the room full of hungry diners waiting to see what Chef would, literally, bring to the table in his new collaboration with Ellman. No one left disappointed!
|An intimate section of the dining room at Ellman's Honu venue just before opening. Any closer to the water and you would be wet!|