Friends, family and foodies paid tribute Sunday to “Supermensch” Shep Gordon as part of the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival’s second signature Maui event at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Ka‘anapali.
Gordon, who was featured in the Mike Meyers documentary, “Supermensch: Legend of Shep Gordon,” is well known for managing the careers of such stars as Alice Cooper and Emeril Lagasse. But since moving to Wailea in 1974, he’s also been a powerful, behind-the-scenes force in shaping Hawaii’s food scene.
Along with such chefs as Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi and several others, Gordon was one of the founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, bringing together the original group of about a dozen local chefs to then shape what became the islands’ signature cuisine.
“Shep was integral in creating the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement,” Yamaguchi said prior to Sunday’s event. “He was able to translate the success he achieved as a talent manager for many of the legends in the entertainment and music industry, such as Alice Cooper, Blondie, Teddy Pendergrass, etc. to the culinary world. (Hawaii Regional Cuisine) became well known because of Shep. He was the marketing genius, as well as the well-liked ‘mensch’ that brought people together.”
As part of Sunday’s celebration, six of Gordon’s chef friends collaborated to create a memorable six-course dinner, including everything from wild boar tacos to barbecued Niihau lamb. The chefs included Dean Fearing, Robert Del Grande, Nancy Silverton, Mark Tarbell, Gregory Grohowski and Celestino Drago.
Scenes from dinner:
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa’s Chef Gregory Grohowski created a dish comprised of smoked Kona abalone with kabocha, Surfing Goat Dairy goat cheese, Okinawan spinach and herbs, yuzu and Old Hawaiian Factory chocolate. This was paired with sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley in France.
Wild caught ama rbi with ceccalucali puttanesca by Chef Celestino Drago of the Drago Restaurant Group. This was paired with 2013 punta crema “mataossu” from Liguria, Italy.
Wild caught big eye ahi nicoise tartare with cucumber, haricot vert and grape tomato by Chef Mark Tarbell of Tarbell’s Restaurant in Arizona. This was paired with 2014 Chateau d’Esclan “Rock Angel” cotes de Provence rose from France.
“Pit BBQ” Ni’ihau lamb with slow roasted eggplant and red chile curry sauce by Chef Robert Del Grand of RDG + Bar Annie in Texas. This was paired with 2012 Domaine de la Roquete Chateauneuf du Pape “Piedlong” from the Rhone Valley in France.
BBQ kalua wild boar tacos with smoked tomatillo, avocado salsa with mango and picked red onion salad and spiced macadamia nuts by Chef Dan Fearing of Fearing’s in Texas. This was paired with 2012 Force Majeure Estate Syrah from Walla Walla, WA.
Torta della nonna, Hawaiian Island Goat Cheese Dairy and Naked Cow Dairy goat cheese, pine nuts and honey by Nancy Silverton and Dahlia Narvarez of the Mozza Restaurant Group. This was paired with 2012 Birichino muscat canelli from Santa Cruz, CA.
The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival runs through Sept. 13. After events on Hawai‘i Island and Maui this week, it arrives on Oahu on Wednesday, Sept. 9, For our full coverage of the festival, visit frolichawaii.com/hawaii-food-and-wine-festival.