A Class Act: Gourmet Dining in Maui  

The restaurant at Maui Community College is a class act. I say that not because its name is The Class Act, but because it's an enjoyable dining experience. 

Mid-day on Monday and Wednesday, September through April, students in the Advanced Cooking class of the Culinary Arts program plan, prepare and serve four-course gourmet meals on campus. The program is so popular among the local island residents that some guests come every week and tables are often booked several weeks in advance.

The menu changes weekly and normally revolves around a theme. My husband and I visited Thanksgiving week and were treated to Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Duck Hash, Seared Shrimp Gallette with Basil Citrus Oil, Smoked Beef Filet with Mushroom Polenta and Iced Cranberry Parfait and Cinnamon Crisps.

Each dish was perfectly prepared using the highest quality ingredients. There were also fresh baked rolls, made from French baguette dough, served with a colorful presentation of olive oil and balsamic vinegar that accompanied the meal. Guests have their choice of coffee or a tropical iced tea. We noticed that many of the guests brought their own wine. They were discreetly bought wine glasses. 

Seating times are staggered between 11:00 and 12:15, seating is inside as well as on an outside, but covered, balcony. It overlooks the campus, but we still found it a treat to dine outside in November and gaze at palm trees. The service was meticulous and unrushed. 

The students, of all ages by the way, take turns in the restaurant duties: recipe selection, hosting, cooking and waiting tables. Because they are so involved in all aspects of the operation, I found them very willing and interested in discussing the food with you, in an unobtrusive way of course, and then, only if you initiated the discussion. 

The campus is located just outside downtown Kahului on the northern side of the island, just less than an hour's drive from the popular Kaanapali coast.

Cost per person is a reasonable $15.00 (cash only). There's no specific tipping policy, but there is a jar at the door. It's my understanding that the funds are pooled for class activities related to culinary education. They did ask that each table fill out a short comment card before leaving. 

I highly recommend a visit to The Class Act on your next trip to Maui. The number to call for reservations is 808-984-3210 on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 808-984-3480 on Wednesday and Friday, but you must call between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. (Hawaii time, of course).

Bon App
étit et Bon Voyage!