Credit: Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort Big Island Hawaii

5 Reasons We’re Headed to Hawaii’s Mauna Lani Culinary Classic This Labor Day Weekend

With World-Class Chefs and Sea-to-Table Cuisine, This Event Is Sure to Be One for the Books

While there’s plenty to do on Labor Day Weekend in Southern California, there’s nothing quite like hopping a plane to Hawai’i for an epicurean vacation. For the second year in a row, the Mauna Lani Culinary Classic is taking over the luxurious Mauna Lani resort on the Island of Hawai’i. Taking place from August 29 to Sept. 1, this festival invites celebrity chefs and master mixologists to celebrate the agricultural heritage of the islands with master classes, beachside tastings, late-night parties and more. Inspired by the legacy of CanoeHouse, Mauna Lani’s signature restaurant, the four-day event stands to become a classic of its own. Here are five reasons why we’re headed to the Mauna Lani Culinary Classic this Labor Day Weekend! 

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1 | An Unmatched Line-up in Paradise

Mauna Lani Culinary Events
Credit: Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort Big Island Hawaii

You don’t have to be a gastronome to recognize the names of chefs who will be attending this year’s Mauna Lani Culinary Classic. Top billing goes to culinary pioneers who all share something in common: one or more James Beard Awards. Share food and cocktails with award-winning chefs like Nancy Silverton, the beloved Mozza Restaurant Group owner and best-selling author; Stephanie Izard, executive chef and owner of Girl & the Goat; and Andrew Zimmern, TV personality, chef, writer and social justice advocate. All in all, there are 16 renowned culinary masters who will host 11 gourmet events over the four-day festival. This is a rare opportunity to share space with culinary stars who know how to craft the perfect oceanside bites. It all starts with a lu’au on the first night and proceeds, course by course and under the stars, to highlight the bounty of Hawai’i throughout the weekend.


​2 | All for a Good Cause: Māla`ai

Credit: Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort Big Island Hawaii

At this year’s Mauna Lani Culinary Classic, you’ll find yourself eating, drinking and ideating in intimate settings on the Hawai’i resort’s grounds while also honoring local traditions. The weekend is presented in partnership with Māla`ai, the culinary garden school of Waimea Middle School. This garden is central to the community, offering after-school programs and summer internships that teach students and alumni life lessons through garden stewardship. On Thursday, August 29, chefs will be welcomed to Mauna Lani with a tour of the Māla`ai garden in preparation for the kick-off lu’au to follow that night. Visiting chefs will join forces with local chefs to present the Pa’ina Mauna Lani Lu’au, a kick-off event that will also feature a silent auction to benefit the school garden. Last year’s inaugural festival raised over $20,000 for Māla`ai!


​3 | Spotlighting Hawai’i’s Culinary Scene

Credit: Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection

Mauna Lani has long been a culinary destination on the Island of Hawai’i thanks to the influence of CanoeHouse. What once stood as an iconic canoe storage site—on a beach where Duke Kahanamoku and Babe Ruth were known to seek respite—opened its doors as a restaurant in 1989. Over the years, CanoeHouse became a gathering place for the community to celebrate the beauty of Hawai’i—not only for its surroundings but also for its agricultural abundance. This year’s festival is also brought in partnership with Blue Ribbon Restaurants, a powerhouse dining group from the Bromberg Bros. Also on Thursday, August 29, the Blue Ribbon Sushi team will guide guests through a 17-course tasting menu that makes Hawai’i’s coastal bounty shine. This special omakase experience will be staged for two intimate seatings in the Francis H. I’i Brown Suite on the grounds of this Hawai’i resort —get tickets here!



​4 | From Sea to Land, Hawai’i-Style

Credit: Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort Big Island Hawaii

While the Mauna Lani Culinary Classic is no doubt a destination for culinary indulgence, the ethos behind the event stems from a place of honor. After all, Mauna Lani means “mountain reaching heaven,” and the resort itself embodies a sense of luxurious spirituality—one you might expect from an Auberge Resorts Collection property. The food, too, pays homage to its surroundings—with local farms and fisheries playing an integral role. A sponsor of the festival, Blue Ocean Mariculture, stands as the only open-ocean fish farm in the U.S. and raises the outstanding Hawaiian kanpachi that will be featured by chefs in dishes throughout the weekend. With a focus on locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients and with its unrivaled setting among a vibrant reef, the Mauna Lani Culinary Classic is already solidifying itself as an annual event not to be missed.


​5 | A Beautiful Location + The Beach Club

Credit: Mauna Lani, Auberge Resort Big Island Hawaii

Part of the exclusive Auberge Resorts Collection portfolio, this Big Island resort is situated along the legendary Kohala Coast and within the spiritual center of five great mountains. From cultural workshops and activities, art and lei-making and even live music at twilight—not to mention daytime adventures like canoeing and snorkeling—Mauna Launi goes beyond destination dining to help curate an unforgettable experience for guests. Summer bliss is a resort promise, especially when you visit The Beach Club, where a vast lawn meets turquoise waters, always ready to greet surfers and sun-seekers alike. Wade into a nearby cove to witness tropical marine life. Or, peer out into the ocean to peek at a sea turtle or spot a whale on the surface. A day on resort grounds will assuredly prepare you for the island feast that awaits you at this year’s Mauna Lani Culinary Classic.


Mauna Lani
681400 Mauna Lani Dr
Waimea, HI 96743




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