Chefs, please pack your knives and go…to Maui!
It is THE moment Top Chef fans have been waiting for all season. The island of Maui takes center stage as Bravo’s hit culinary competition show crowns its Season 11 champion in the Aloha State in a two-part finale airing Wednesday, Jan. 29 and Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on Bravo. For more information on the new season of Top Chef, please visit www.bravotv.com/top-chef.
Legendary Hawaii Chef Sam Choy (left) joins Top Chef judges Padma Lakshmi (center) and Tom Colicchio for a special welcome reception for the chef’testants on the lawn at the Andaz Maui at Wailea. [Photo credit: Bravo Photo]
Filming of the Hawaii episodes took place last October on the Valley Isle and will showcase Maui’s newest luxury resort, the Andaz Maui at Wailea, the island’s rich bounty of agricultural offerings, aspects of Hawaiian culture, and lots of Maui’s warm tropical weather and stunning natural beauty. Acclaimed Hawaii chefs Sam Choy, chef/owner of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, and Peter Merriman, chef/owner of Merriman’s, will also serve as guest judges.
“We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Bravo and the incredible production team at Magical Elves and look forward to letting Maui’s diversity shine in this season’s Top Chef finale,” said John Monahan, HVCB’s president and CEO. “Television is a fantastic visual medium for storytelling and as a destination currently undergoing an exciting culinary evolution from farm to table, fans across the country are going to experience the essence of the Hawaiian Islands incorporated into the final challenges.”
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) and the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau (MVCB) partnered with the Andaz Maui at Wailea to successfully negotiate the show’s selection of the Hawaiian Islands for the two final episodes.
THE RESORT: ANDAZ MAUI AT WAILEA
Top Chef chose the newly unveiled Andaz Maui at Wailea as the hotel partner and filmed several parts of the show on property. The Hawaii resort offered several picturesque locations to host challenges, as well as the finale episode of the digital companion series, “Last Chance Kitchen,” including scenic Laulea, a lush ocean side lawn with Mokapu Beach and the sparkling blue Pacific as the backdrop.
Another location perfect for Top Chef was the Studio Kitchen, a space providing the warmth of a private home and perfect for interactions with the chefs. One of the final meals was prepared in Kaana Kitchen, the resort’s signature restaurant, where local ingredients from island farmers are incorporated into seasonal menus that celebrate the best of Maui.
“As Maui’s newest resort, the Andaz Maui at Wailea provided the luxurious accommodations, lush scenery and every possible updated amenity that the producers of Top Chef were looking for,” said Michael Stephens, general manager of the Andaz Maui at Wailea.
The chef’testants stayed in one of seven luxury villas, located just steps from Mokapu Beach. The residential-style villas come complete with gourmet kitchens and butler pantries, stylish living rooms and media rooms, as well as spa-like bathrooms with soaking tubs. Wrap-around lanai (balconies) provide unobstructed ocean views, perfect for viewing Maui’s spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
THE DESTINATION: MAUI
Maui’s restaurants, farms and natural attractions share the spotlight with the chef’testants in the Top Chef Season 11 finale. After careful consideration of Maui’s diverse offerings, the producers selected the oceanfront Merriman’s Kapalua for the elimination challenge and Gannon’s Wailea and Kaana Kitchen at Andaz Maui at Wailea for the final challenges. Chefs and owners Peter Merriman and Bev Gannon are founding members of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. They, along with the culinary team at Andaz Maui, worked closely with Bravo and Magical Elves to organize the highly confidential chef challenges filmed at their restaurants with national celebrity judges and hand-selected VIP diners.
Chef’testants harvested fresh ingredients from Maui’s farms and Whole Foods Market, the official Top Chef grocery store, and visited some of the island’s top attractions including Iao Valley and Oo Farm. Maui’s food and spirit producers – Kumu Farms, Surfing Goat Dairy, Maui Gold Pineapple, Maui Brewing Co., Ocean Vodka, and others – also participated in this project. The Lahaina based Hui O Waa Kaulua worked closely with the crew to create a traditional, double-hulled canoe arrival for a dramatic, made-for-television moment.
“In every way, HVCB, MVCB and Andaz worked with Bravo and Magical Elves to showcase Maui and Hawaii,” said Monahan. “Maui gave its unwavering support throughout the production, and this project was truly a team effort and exciting for all involved.”
This is the second time Bravo and Magical Elves have partnered with HVCB and selected Hawaii as the special destination for its Top Chef season finale. The show filmed on Hawaii, the Big Island in 2006 during Season 2 when Ilan Hall beat Marcel Vigneron to take the title.