Culinary Curiosities: Behind Maui’s ‘Taste of Summer’ Film Fest Opening Night with Chef Ryan Urig

Chef Ryan Urig Grand Wailea

Chef Ryan Urig Will Make Bright, Delicious Magic at the Taste of Summer, Wed. June 3rd, 5pm – 7pm at the Grand Waiela

With all of the buzz about the Maui Film Festival’s brand-new Taste of Summer Opening Night Party (Wed., June 3rd at 5pm at the Grand Wailea), we decided ask Chef Ryan Urig – the much talked about Executive Chef at the Grand Wailea and the mastermind behind this event’s menu – to share his inspirations and tempt is with what to expect from the menu.

Launching a new event at a 16 year-old annual signature event on Maui is no small task, but Chef Ryan is approaching it with ease and a fresh, innovative style. Read on to get a hint of what’s behind the excellent dishes you’ll be savoring tomorrow night.

Insider tip: festival passes and ticket prices jump up to $190 tomorrow, so if you like what you hear, you’ll want to get your passes tonight! (Full access to the celebrity tributes and double feature at Celestial Cinema are included in the price of your Taste of Summer ticket!)

1.  Are you excited about being involved in the Maui Film Festival? Is this your first time? What are you most looking forward to?

Very excited.  It is a great time to showcase Maui and all that the Maui Film Festival has to offer and we are happy to be hosting the opening night reception at the Grand Wailea.  This is my first time having the opportunity to be a part of the events and I am most looking forward to Wednesday’s nights Taste of Summer and creating a Beach Boys inspired theme.  It will be interactive, high energy and feature Maui’s fresh local ingredients and cool cocktails made by the team at the resort.

2. What is the main thing that inspired the creation of the Taste of Summer menu?

The team was inspired by showcasing Hawaii and the fresh seafood such as Hawaiian tako Carpaccio, fresh oysters, Hamachi tartare and poke bar

3. When you are making up the menu for an event like this, what are some of the things you have to consider? 

When we create menus we always think about local ingredients that are in season first, then incorporating them into the theme of the event in an innovative way. 

4. From a culinary perspective, what’s the most exciting thing about this year’s event? What do Taste of Summer attendees have to look forward to?

The menu is full of bright flavors and fresh seafood which is one of my favorite combinations. Guests have to try the Onaga Ceviche with finger limes and a yellow bell pepper ponzu splash.  It really wakes up your pallet and feels like summer.  

5. What is your approach to pairing the food and drink at Taste of Summer? Of all of the possibilities on the menu, which are the two you’d most likely try together?

We approached both the food and the beverage thinking about fresh Summer flavors that would be creative and most of all, delicious.  Just as we used our fresh local ingredients on our plates we used Maui’s Pau Vodka for some of our signature cocktails. The Summer–Thyme cocktail with Pau vodka, Watermelon, Lime, Rose Syrup, Mint and Thyme will be great with the Ahi with a Kaffir Lime gremolata with sunchoke puree and wild ramps.


Don’t miss out on the culinary opportunity that will be talked about for the rest of the year! Pick up your Taste of Summer tickets, and get ready to savor all of the flavors of Summer beachside at the Grand Wailea! We’re looking forward to seeing you at the 2015 Maui Film Festival!