Local chefs are starting #MauiEatLocal for Economy and Health: Maui Now


when Seven New fast food businesses opened in Kahului and Wiloko this summer, and local chefs are taking notice. Local chefs banded together, forming #MauiEatLocal, a movement that encourages takeout at local restaurants.

Brian Etheridge, chef/owner of Fresh Fish Maui, Tail’s Up and Cutting Edge Catering, reached out to Dania Novak, website publisher. Edible Hawaiian Islands Journal with his worries.

“When I heard about the recent fast food acquisition, I was concerned,” says Etheridge. “Not only for the health of the people of Maui with this increase in processed and pre-packaged food, but also for the health of the island’s farming community and local economy, which suffer when island-grown goods are set aside in favor of imported products.”

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Etheredge discovered that while Maui was in its early COVID-19 lockdown phase in 2020, some mainland-based fast food companies saw an opportunity to purchase/lease land in central Maui to expand their operations. While the move was not wrong or illegal, it had the effect of reducing sales of many locally owned businesses in Maui, as well as increasingly endangering the health of residents, according to supporters of the movement.

Etheredge knew that Edible Hawaiian Islands She will be worried. The magazine has always championed local food producers, with a mission to share their stories.

“Moving towards sustainability seems so important now in these changing times,” Novak said. “We have to move away from importing 80% of our islands’ food supply, and we can do that by helping people see that they have a choice to eat locally. Making that choice has a real ripple effect, with benefits on so many levels.”

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Novak will devote two full pages in the Winter 2023 issue to a list of 24 local restaurants, along with an editorial about the circular economy directly related to buying food.

Now over two dozen locally owned food companies have joined #MauiEatLocal to see how the simple choice to eat at a locally owned food company helps support local farms, ranchers, and fishing boats – which in turn helps the local economy And population health.

The program participants are: Brian Etheridge, Cutting Edge Catering; Jana McMahon, a private chef in Maui; Noah Schuster, Maui Stew; Hilary Barbesi, a healthy chef in Maui; Janice and Sheldon Simon, Tin Ceiling; Eliza and Jojo Vasquez, Fond; Kyle Kawakami, Maui Fresh Streeter; Katie Bell Elle and Zach Sato-Havens; LeeAnn Wong, Papa’Aina; Travis Morin, Fork and Salad; Natasha Joslyn, Taylor Ponte, and Kamado Maui; Isaac Pancaco, Pacifico; Qiana and Michele DiBari, Sale Pepe; Yvonne and Mark McDowell, SixtyTwoMarcKet; Shun Ikeda, Shikeda Bento and Patisserie; Rob Mason, RJ Gourmet; Joey White, Joey’s Place Live; Jessie Sato, Umi Sushi Maui; Cole Henober, Ketoko; Joy Makadangdang, Joy’s Kitchen; Paulina and Jeremy Solin, Nilus; Kylie and Jeff Scheer, Marlowe’s Restaurant; and Nikki Boskoff, Star Noodle.

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The companies were selected by their peers for inclusion based on certain criteria. The criteria for joining #MauiEatLocal are as follows:

  • It must be locally owned.
  • At least 40% of the produce, protein, etc. must be locally sourced (Two exceptions. For day-to-day operations they do not qualify, but for special events they do.)
  • You must be willing to promote through social media, be a spokesperson, and educate employees, peers and customers.
  • Must commit to participating for one year.

Etheredge and Novak are encouraging more local chefs and producers to participate in the program. To apply or for more information, call [email protected]