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Saturday Night’s Alright (for a Knife Fight)

By: Jacqueline Kapu

Combine an ideal location, homegrown ingredients, two renowned chefs and three judges, and you have the recipe for Maui’s own adaption of “Chopped,” known as the Knife Fight.
It was an exciting evening at the Cow Pig Bun restaurant on Saturday, March 14, with two of the Valley Isle’s most admired chefs competing at the restaurant’s monthly event, sponsored by Hali‘imaile Distilling Company. The ambiance was fierce, with supporters for both chefs making noise, waving banners and holding up their personalized signs with pictures of their favorite culinary master.
Cow Pig Bun opened in September 2014. The restaurant is located in Kihei at the Maui Research & Technology Park and is the host venue for this well-attended community event. Knives are sharpened the second Saturday of each month. Mirroring Food Network’s popular “Chopped” series, two local culinary artists create a specialty or signature dish using one common ingredient. Competing chefs are judged and scored by three local judges on presentation, taste and innovation.
“We charge attendees a $10 donation at the door, which benefits UHMC’s Culinary Academy Program,” said Mariah Archer, server at Cow Pig Bun. The event also supports local restaurants and promotes Maui’s homegrown ingredients and recipes.
“The owner of Cow Pig Bun, Greg Shepherd, created the Knife Fight with the desire to encourage and promote Maui’s culinary talent, showcase their skills while having the Knife Fights be the platform between the island’s local chefs, restaurateurs and the culinary community,” said Archer. Patrons can enjoy a wonderful evening out on the town while making a difference in their own community.
“It’s so nice to have a place on Maui to watch talented chefs show off their skill while enjoying a drink with your friends,” said Caitlyn Gregg from Hali‘imaile Distilling Company. “The atmosphere is really great here.”
The Knife Fight starts late, around 11 p.m. For the best seating, patrons are advised to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the start of the cooking competition. The Cow Pig Bun family greets customers at the door, collects the $10 donation and escorts them to available seats in the restaurant area and around the bar, which encompasses the actual prep and cooking area for the night’s competition. Cameras will be out and flashing while GoPros are recording. A big screen monitor displays all of the action for those who can’t see it from their seats.
On March 14, Chef Justin Pardo of Market Fresh Bistro and Chef Gary Johnson of Joe’s Nuevo Latino and Ka‘ana Kitchen battled it out using an ocean-fresh Sea Bass. Sea bass is a white, flaky, perch-like fish and is a signature dish on many local menus. As the griddles were heating and the smells of the evening filled the air, the judges prepared their pens and voting ballots, occasionally taking questions from the audience. The judges for the evening were Maui Culinary Academy External Coordinator Chris Speere, Brandy Donovan, a local Realtor, and Tom Lelli, chef instructor at UH Maui College. They were happy to share their comments with the onlookers. Chef Gary created a ceviche dish that left Judge Speere saying: “That was pretty good! Can I lick the plate?”
It looked like this competition was going to be tough.
And it was.
After the three dishes were deliciously prepared and devoured, the scores were tied—which meant a tiebreaker was inevitable.
The chefs had to make a burger with Cow Pig Bun’s ingredients to break the tied score of 111 to 111. And the winner was—by a fish scale—Justin Pardo of Market Fresh Bistro, who barely beat Chef Gary of Joe’s Nuevo Latino. “This calls for a rematch,” said Kainoa Horjaco, who emceed the event.
Congratulations to Chef Justin and Chef Gary and to the Cow Pig Bun ‘ohana for a unique evening of entertainment, grinds and spirits. Cow Pig Bun is open daily, from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. To make reservations or for more information about the next Knife Fight event, call (808) 875-8100 or visit https://www.facebook.com/cowpigbun.


Chino LaForge: A Stand-Up Kind of Guy


Maui comedian gets serious about his craft.

By: Jacqueline Kapu

Looking for a good laugh? You don’t have to look any further: Curtis “Chino” LaForge, recently voted “Maui’s Best Local Comedian” by Maui Time and its readers, headlines a variety of comedy shows here on Maui and stars in many of our local theatre productions.
Chino, known as one of Maui’s most dedicated and versatile performers, has made a name for himself throughout Hawai‘i, but calls Maui his home. In an interview with Ho‘oulu prior to his “Tuesday Open Mic Night” at Three’s Bar & Grill, Chino took time to discuss his comedy lifestyle and what he believes to be his idea of success. “Success is having the ability to balance childhood dreams with adult responsibilities,” he said.
Chino was born in Torrance, Calif., a West Coast beach town, just outside of Los Angeles. He boasts of a multicultural background of Hawaiian, Korean, German, French, Irish, Polish and Native American ancestries. His father, who passed away when Chino was a young boy, called O‘ahu home. Chino always felt that his roots and heart were in Hawai‘i, so he was happy to move with his mom to Maui when he was just 13 years old. “Moving to Hawai‘i was more of a homecoming than anything else,” he said. “Hawai‘i has—and forever will be—my home.”
Growing up, Chino considered himself to be more on the shy side, especially when he was a student at Maui High School. “I was always more of a listener and it wasn’t until about the middle of high school when I came out of my shell,” he said. “What I thought was funny, other people thought was just weird.”
Chino graduated from Maui High School in 2005 and went on to continue his education at the University of Southern Oregon (USO). While concentrating his energies on drama and acting classes, he also enjoyed participating in extracurricular activities like learning sign language, auditioning for college productions and performing in local shows. While attending USO, Chino participated in a variety of Shakespeare festivals. He chuckled as he reminisced about the experience. “I loved getting my hands dirty with intern work,” he said. As he continued to reach for the stars, he took on many of the challenges associated with show business, including stage production, lighting, stage combatting and acting technique courses.
Chino returned to Maui after college and realized his true love and vision was to bring laughter to Maui. “It is an escape for me,” he explained. “Comedy allows me to accept the bold truths that would otherwise be really heavy.” He sees comedy as a business that seems to choose the people that are in it. “It is a passion that manifests itself,” he said. With this idea in mind, Chino used his passion to become the CEO and founder of Power Up Comedy, a full-service Hawaiian entertainment company specializing in entertainment services for restaurants, special events and corporate functions. Power Up Comedy brought together a group of local comedians and entertainers who were determined to bring their talents to Hawai‘i’s venues. With many hours committed to writing and rehearsing, Chino’s hard work and determination led to the recent celebration of his eighth year of stand-up comedy—with many more to come.
Chino found that throughout his career, being a producer was tough because it did not allow much time for him to focus on his own development and performance. “The biggest obstacle with comedy on Maui is the necessity to become the producer of shows opposed to just doing performances,” he said. “[But] it’s an obstacle that is a growth, as well as a challenge.”
There are many elements that contribute to a show’s success: from selecting the comedians and finding the right venue to scheduling rehearsals and promoting the event. Chino said his past experiences have helped him overcome the challenges of producing, hosting and being a headlining performer for his productions. His dedication and success led him to be an opening headliner on three national and international comedy tours.
As of now, Chino has been busy planning many upcoming comedy events. He continues to host Tuesday’s Open Mic Night at Three’s Bar & Grill, while planning a bimonthly show for Wednesdays at Kihei’s very own Ambrosia Martini Lounge.
He will also be racking up some frequent flyer miles next month. “I will be on tour this May bringing laughter and sharing my talent with Los Angeles, Washington and Oregon,” he said.
When he’s not on stage performing comedy, Chino is making a difference in the community by partnering with nonprofit agencies he truly believes enhances the life of others here on Maui. He serves on the board of Hale Makua and most recently was the master of ceremonies at St. Theresa’s Hale Kau Kau’s annual fundraiser, which raised money to continue Hale Kau Kau’s meal program for Maui’s homeless, homebound seniors (Meals on Wheels) and families in need. He also partners with the Maui AIDS Foundation, Pacific Cancer Foundation, Mental Health Kokua, Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations.
“My ultimate goal is to better my community by simply doing what I love,” Chino said. “I want to offer the same opportunities to others, without having them work as hard as I have had to in order for me to make a difference and accomplish my dreams.”


Miss Hawaii Teen USA 2015

Aloha and a BIG MAHALO to all of you who have been supporting my dreams and my journey to the Miss Hawaii Teen USA 2015 crown. We want to thank all of my amazing sponsors, friends and family for believing in me, supporting me and helping me get as far as I have today. I would be nowhere without you! If you could please click on the link below and hit the “like” button on Jacqueline Makena, Miss Makena Teen USA 2015’s picture, that will bring me one step closer to receiving the Social Media Award on stage. Thank you so much and I hope to make you all proud!


Since a young age, I have had the dream of working in the media and television broadcasting industry.  I have focused my energy on my education and participated in extracurricular activities and internships, which gave me the knowledge and experience to work on achieving my career dreams.

My goal for the Hawaii broadcast industry would be to graduate with a journalism degree, with an emphasis on broadcasting and a minor in criminal justice. My dream is to use the knowledge I have gained to create a news station and share it with my Maui community. I would love to study and train in the field of communications, with the hopes of bringing a live newscast and a major television network to the island of Maui.  The people of Maui deserve to hear Maui’s news with highlights of the day, sports and weather and I would love to be the one to deliver that to them!

WOW! All I have to say is hard work really does pay off and my dreams seem to be coming closer to my reach. In the past month, I traveled to Oahu for an interview with the Hawaii Association of Broadcaster’s panel of judges.  I was questioned about my college choices, career path and my dream for the future.  It was a very successful interview to say the least.

Right before I boarded my plane to California, I was notified that I was selected as an awardee for the Hawaii Association of Broadcaster’s 2014 Scholarship. I can’t begin to explain how much this will help me and how thankful I am for this award.  As we all know, college can be a financial burden, but without that burden, it allows me to focus more on my education.  Thank you so much Hawaii Association of Broadcaster’s and I will make you proud!


Once A Wet Seal, Always A Wet Seal!

Wet Seal 2014 Wet Seal Instagram2

It has been quite a year representing Wet Seal as one of their Model Search winners.  Modeling is not just a job, it is my passion. Wet Seal’s mission statement is “We use the power of fashion and fun to help our girl express her individuality and fit in- while standing out. We always listen closely, keep it real and offer our product at a great price.” They certainly do!

I was invited back to Wet Seal’s corporate headquarters on my recent vacation to Los Angeles. The new model search winners had just been selected and there was lots of hustle and bustle at the headquarters this past Tuesday.  They have close to 500 stores and are proud to be continuously expanding.  I reflected on how excited I was this time last year on my initial visit to Wet Seal and I was so excited for the new winners to meet the dynamic people behind all of the magic.

It was a short ride from where we were staying in Los Angeles.  We took the freeway using the FasTrak pass and we were there in no time.  After getting my morning fuel at Juice It Up, we found ourselves in the Wet Seal lobby and were ready for the day ahead of us.  I am always so fascinated when I enter their lobby.  Just picture it- walking into a major fashion headquarters.  There are mannequins in each corner with the latest season trends and everything was displayed with perfection.  The lovely Megan took us back and showed us their new offices and gave us a tour of what has changed in headquarters over the past year.  She was very excited to tell us about Wet Seal’s upcoming promotions with the group Fifth Harmony. You would not believe how much goes on behind the scenes.  Then, we hit the studio!

I got started with hair and make-up with the one and only Lauren.  I was transformed from an island girl to a fashion model with the help of their wonderful stylist team.  I was photographed in some of Wet Seal’s Fall line in the studio, then taken outside to the beautiful courtyard for some Instagram photos. We can’t forget about social media.  Throughout all of the wardrobe changes, I kept thinking to myself “Can I just have it all?” My favorite thing to look for in everyday clothing is for it to be cute, comfy and fashionable.  Let’s just say, I felt like I was in fashion heaven! Once the shoot was over, my Wet Seal ohana generously filled my arms with the cutest clothing to take home.  I was just so happy to be there in the first place and I felt so incredibly grateful!

After my shoot, my mom and I enjoyed a very yummy, healthy lunch with Megan and Lauren.  We went to Urban Grill.  We were able to catch up with one another and have lots of girl talk!  It was so good to be back.  I missed them SOOO much! Eventually, we all had to get back to reality and head our separate ways.  Next time, hopefully they will come and visit me on Maui! ♥



Miss Maui Teen USA Returns to the Playboy Mansion!

I just got back from an amazing trip to California with my family.  I traveled to the city of angels to look at colleges, internships and modeling opportunities.  We were so happy to get in touch with many of our Los Angeles friends and family. This past Thursday evening, my mom (or should I say partner in crime) and I received a very exciting e-mail from a friend. We were invited back to the Playboy Mansion for dinner and a movie! What a fabulous time. I have gotten butterflies each time I’ve been a guest. We were so excited and honored to be invited back. The grounds are beautifully manicured and we even had a quick look at the infamous Grotto. Plans were being made for the annual Summer Bash on August 16th, which just happens to be my birthday! The Summer Bash is one of the highlights of the year at the Playboy Mansion.  There is lots of food and drinks, but not too much clothing.

We arrived and entered through the gates and proceeded up the long driveway. My mom and I were greeted upon arrival with refreshments and pictures by the mansion photographer. We had a delicious dinner with some of Hollywood’s most famous characters. As we finished eating, Hugh called us to the parlor for a few pictures!  I was pinching myself at how fortunate I was.  How could we say no to that?  He is such an icon and we feel so honored to be in his and Crystal’s company. We had a little bit of time before the movie, so we walked around and viewed the beautiful property. While walking around, we were able to say hello to Gene Kelly’s wife! Everyone there makes you feel very welcome and like you are part of their family. After dinner, we enjoyed a western flick with some very delicious popcorn in the movie room. It was an exciting evening and we are looking forward to our next visit ♥.


Best Wishes Colleen Hanabusa!

I had the honor of meeting Colleen Hanabusa and her team last Saturday at Kalama Heights Retirement Community. Colleen Hanabusa is a candidate for the US Senate.  She has served as U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 1st congressional district since January 2011.  Colleen visited with the residents of Kalama Heights and heard their concerns. I was able to talk with Rod Tanonaka, Chief of Staff, about an internship.  I have always had an interest in politics and making a difference in my community.  I had the opportunity to visit and take pictures at Senator Akaka’s Washington D.C. Office in 2012.  It was very impressive!  Best wishes to all of the candidates during this upcoming election.  Don’t forget to vote!!


Kihei Teen to Represent Maui in D.C. Pageant

From MauiTVNews:

Maui resident, Jacqueline Makena Kapu, will represent the equally beautiful island of Maui as she heads to Washington, D.C. in July to represent the State of Hawaii to compete in the 2012 Miss Teen United States Pageant. Jacqueline Makena holds the current title of Miss T.E.E.N. Maui 2012. She also won the title of Miss Teen Maui United States 2012 and went to Oahu and won the title Miss Teen Hawaii United States.

She will be one of 50 contestants competing for this title. Kapu, an honor roll student and recent recipient of Kihei Charter High School’s 2012 High Achiever Award, also received the Samantha Iha-Preece Pageant Award for the contestant with the most promise in life and for her future at the Miss Teen Hawaii United States Pageant which was held on Oahu in May.

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Kihei Teen Crowned Miss T.E.E.N. Maui 2012

From Maui Now:

Kihei Charter School student, Jacqueline Makena Kapu, was crowned Miss T.E.E.N. 2012 during a weekend pageant at the Hotel Wailea.

The title was the inaugural event for the pageant on Maui, featuring young ladies competing for their own individual purpose.  The Miss T.E.E.N. organization stands for: Teenagers Exemplifying Excellence Nationally.

The event’s Maui Executive Director, Doug De Cambra said, “It is our hope that our program will assist the contestants in achieving their professional and personal goals through education , and the importance of making a difference in our community.”

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