Chef Paris Nabavi has launched Maui RSVP (Restaurants Support Vital Programs), a dining promotion to raise money for eight Maui nonprofits that focus on youth in agriculture, arts, education, and wellness. For a 10-day period from May 27 to June 5, 2016 participating restaurants will each offer a 50 percent discount on selected entrees from 5-8pm.
Businesses and individuals, as well as food industry partners such as distributors and wholesalers, may join the program at levels ranging from $1,000 to $1,500; their contributions will be donated directly to the Nabavi Legacy Fund with 60 percent going to Grants Central Station for annual distribution, 25 percent to Endowment and 15 percent for ongoing, annual marketing, administration and grant management by Grants Central Station.
Beneficiaries of the Nabavi Legacy Fund include Book Trust; Grow Some Good; Imua Family Services; Kids Cook/Teens Cook with Heart; Maui Academy of Performing Arts; Maui Culinary Academy; Maui Food Innovation Center; and Maui School Garden Network.
“I believe supporting these eight organizations is truly vital to the Maui community,” Nabavi said. “They share a common thread in that they each provide unique services and opportunities to our children, who are the future of our island. Whether it’s nutrition and cooking, education, arts or support services, these groups are dedicated to enhancing lives and empowering Maui’s youth for generations to come.”
The early participants in the program include Cane & Canoe at Montage Kapalua; Joey’s Kitchen at Whalers Village; Oceanside at Ma`alaea Harbor Shops; Pulehu An Italian Grill; Sangrita Grill & Cantina; Taverna in Kapalua Resort; The Mill House at Maui Tropical Plantation; and Three’s Bar & Grill. Nabavi is encouraging more Maui restaurants and food industry partners to participant in RSVP.
For Nabavi, this legacy is a dream project. Nabavi has always loved the fresh ingredients and spices of his native Persian as well as Mexican food which inspired him to share healthy dining options on Maui. He opened Pizza Paradiso Mediterranean Grill in Honokowai in 1998 and Cilantro Mexican Grill opened in 2004. His newest venture is Sangrita Grill + Cantina in Ka`anapali, which opened in 2014 with an upscale cantina atmosphere and an inventive menu.
In his restaurants, and in his life, Nabavi always promotes the use of locally sourced, organic ingredients. Having dealt with his own health challenges, Nabavi understands the vital importance of nurturing our bodies with “real” food, rather than processed alternatives.
His mission is to change the way children eat through education and engagement in healthy eating habits, starting with their early experiences in school programs. That’s why Nabavi and his wife Donna have personally supported Maui School Garden Network in sponsoring their organic seed needs and teaching students how to grow their own food in sustainable school gardens; they also support Grow Some Good in their efforts to create hands-on, outdoor learning experiences that connect students to their food sources and inspire better nutrition choices.
Now through the broader reach of Maui RSVP, the Nabavi Legacy Fund will benefit a wider range of beneficial programs. By helping these nonprofits educate and nourish Maui’s children, Nabavi hopes to bring healthy eating, sustainable growing practices and pure enjoyment back into the way we eat.
The Maui RSVP program is being marketed through a $20,000 grant made by the Makana Aloha Foundation, through promotions that encourage residents and visitors to take advantage of biannual Maui RSVP dining options.
Maui RSVP will run again in September, from Sept. 23-Oct. 2, 2016.
To participate or donate to Maui RSVP contact Charlene Ka`uhane at Charlene@KauhaneInc.com. For more information, visit MAUI RSVP on Facebook and Instagram.
Photo: Sean M. Hower