David and I are big fans of the Hawaiian island Maui, We are longtime Starwood Vacation Property owners at the Westin Kaanapali, and we try to visit at least once a year. While many people who visit Maui hang out on the beach or enjoy the multitude of water sports, we like to venture upcountry around the slopes of Haleakula and beyond to visit the local farms, hike and explore the cowboy town of Makawao.
A trip to upcountry often includes a visit to Beverly and Joe Gannon’s Hali’imaile General Store for lunch or a drink at the bar (voted the best Mai Tai on the island). It is a “must stop” on Maui’s culinary trail. Just a 15 minute drive to Maui’s airport, we try to make an early dinner at Hali’imaile General Store before boarding the late night flight home.
So how did a nice Jewish girl from Dallas, Texas, and a former road manager for Liza Minelli, Joey Heatherton and Ben Vereen end up cooking “eclectic American cuisine with Asian overtones” in a former pineapple plantation country store in upcountry Maui? And what does the word “Hali’imaile” mean?
Aloha! from beautiful Maui where we celebrated the New Year and Melanie’s birthday in Hana on Maui’s lush eastern coast. Given our beautiful setting, we’re featuring two individuals whose lives have been influenced by Hawaii. One is a native Hawaiian who moved to the East Coast where she made her mark in the world of mixology. French-born chef who made his culinary mark in Philadelphia and now runs a restaurant in Maui.
Julie Reiner has been elevating the cocktail scene in NYC for fifteen years, most notably with the opening of the Flatiron Lounge (2003), the Pegu Club (2005), Brooklyn’s Clover Club(2008), and Lani Kai (2010). As co-owner and beverage director of the Flatiron Lounge, Reiner drew much of her inspiration from growing up in Hawaii by utilizing the freshest fruits and premier quality spices & spirits available in her original cocktails. Julie’s beverage program at the Clover Club is highly focused on classics, and furthers her signature style of superior quality and green market ingredients. Lani Kai (recently sold), featured a modern tropical décor, Pacific Rim plates, and a more tropical interpretation of Julie’s cocktail styling. Julie’s consulting company, Mixtress Consulting, helps to create top-notch beverage programs and cocktails for restaurants, bars, resorts, and spirits companies.
Flatiron, Pegu and Clover opened to rave reviews and have enjoyed a top ranking among the best bars in the world. In 2009, Clover Club was honored with the award for “Best New Cocktail Lounge in the World” at Tales of the Cocktail and last year, took home the award for “Best American Cocktail Bar”, “Best High Volume Bar”, and Julie was personally awarded “Best Bar Mentor”. Clover Club has also been listed in Drinks Internationals 50 best bars in the world two years in a row.
Julie’s recipes have been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Food & Wine, Imbibe, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Playboy, Gourmet Magazine, Food Arts, Bon Appetit, GQ, Fortune, Wine Enthusiast, O Magazine, Crains, Time Out NY and Time Out London, The London Times & Wine & Spirits. Julie has also been featured on The Today Show, The Food Network, the Cooking Channel, Martha Stewart Radio, CNBC, LXTV, and the Fine Living network. In 2011, Julie was honored with a James Beard nomination for spirits professional of the year.
James Beard Award-Winning French Master Chef Philippe Chin is one of early pioneers of fusion cooking refining his skills in some of the world’s best restaurants. While in Washington DC, Philippe was fortunate to cook for President Barack Obama as well as various world leaders on a regular basis. Prior to Washington DC, Philippe was Chef-Owner of the highly acclaimed Chanterelle in Philadelphia where he became known for his eclectic style and ability to marry the indigenous flavors of the region. He now calls the Hawaiian island of Maui his home,
Over looking the beautiful Pacific Ocean in the heart of Lahaina Town, Philippe’s Sugar Cane Hawaiian Contemporary Restaurant and Bar marries the flavors of the islands utilizing fresh line caught fish, Hawaiian Ranchers Beef, Haleakala Vegetables and Herbs found in remote areas of the island.
Born and raised in France, Philippe can trace his culinary influences to being raised in a melting pot household to his Chinese father and his French mother. He graduated L’Ecole Hoteliere de Paris, Rue Mederic and worked in some of France’s finest dining establishments, refining his culinary skills and then became chef de cuisine at Le Santal in Saint Martin (at the time the Caribbean’s only Five Star restaurant).
In 1986 Philippe moved to the United States, where he joined the staff at La Cocotte in West Chester, PA. Three years later he moved to Philadelphia and became embedded in the city’s growing restaurant scene. He opened Founders at the Bellevue Hotel, 210 at the Rittenhouse Hotel, becoming Executive Chef/Owner of the nationally renowned and award-winning Chanterelles restaurant, and then Chef-owner of the acclaimed Philippe on Locust, Chin-Chin, and Philippe Bistro, of which would receive national and local honors and top rankings.
Join Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom, the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple, each Wednesday, 2pm ET/11am PT on The Connected Table LIVE! Each week we feature the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scene in food, fine beverage and hospitality.