Chris Mahon and Luis Fuentes have always wanted to do a big culinary event on Maui. So last November, they hatched a plan to launch Broke da Mouth, an foodie event to highlight the island’s food diversity and culture. They wanted to pick up where old Taste of Lahaina left off, but take it to a new level. It was easier said than done. Mahon says that, at first, everyone he contacted was in.
“Everybody I asked last year was just as excited as me about it,” he says. “But when it came to committing to the event as it got closer, there were a lot of changes.”
Mahon and Fuentes have paid their dues in the culinary arena, working in West Maui’s food and beverage industry for over a decade. Their contacts and enthusiasm for the event created quite a buzz. In fact, The Food Network’s eminent carnivore Rahm Fama, who hosts Meat and Potatoes, will emcee the event. Broke Da Mouth will also host a “Chopped” style cooking competition, which will includes Chef Jaron Blosser from Three’s Bar and Grill, Josh Marten from Sharky’s as well as chefs from Mala and the new Fleetwoods on Front Street.
“Our mission is to go big for the little ones,” says Mahon. “We are doing this event not just for the culinary aspect but to also raise money for a children’s medical fund. Our non-profit is Make My Day Hawaii. We will have a silent auction and we have over 200 donated restaurant and retail gift certificates that will be raising proceeds for Sina Kahaialii and Olivia Bianco.”
Fuentes and Mahon will be manning their own food tent with malasada and coffee, and are excited about the response from other vendors. Restaurants to be featured at the festival include Choice, Maui Kombucha, Bentos and Banquets, Cupies, Bubba Gump, Cool Cat Cafe, Casa Maya, Round Table Pizza, Teddy’s Bigger Burger, Three’s Bar and Grill, Island Froyo, Pulehu Pizza, Crater Dogs, Captain Jack’s, Basil Tomato, Paradise Grill, Olowalu Farms, Nau Luau, Basil Tomato and Tipsy Treats. The festival gives the restaurants a chance to play with dishes outside their menu. Vendors will also be competing for prizes for Best of Show, Most Creative Booth and Soon to be Famous. There will also be a spam and poke recipe contest, with the winner announced Friday night.
The festival’s inaugural year will set up in the Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center. Mahon and Fuentes are really excited about the layout–they say there are great views of the stage from all over the event. Their beer and wine garden will feature wines from Sandwich Isles Cellars and Anheuser-Busch beers on tap: Bud, Bud Light, Stella Artois, Shock Top, Kona Longboard and Limerita cans.
The stage will explode with local entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday headliners are Jordan T, Nuff Sed and Ekolu. Saturday has a completely new lineup with Clay Mortenson, Daniel Alana Trio, Whiskey Pimps and Willie K. Other action on the stage will be a fashion show by Pure Talent.
Fuentes said that making the entry prices low was important to keep the festival family-friendly and accessible to everyone. There will also be a kids’ corner to entertain the keiki. The whole thing starts at 5pm and runs to 10:30pm on Friday and Saturday. They will be hosting a happy hour from 5pm to 6om, and admission will cost just $5 at the door. After 6pm general admission is $7, with students 8-18 priced at $5 and under seven free. The official after-party for the event will be at Longhi’s starting at 10pm (your wristband will get you in with Toben spinning till late night).
“We hope people see our commitment and passion to the culinary arena,” says Mahon. “We are so excited to be presenting this event. We know it is going to be a great success. We are dedicated to bringing more great events like this to Lahaina. The next one we are looking at doing will be a food truck festival; we would like to plan up to four in a year.”