Andaz at Maui executive chef shares his day.
As the adage goes, you can take the boy out of the islands but you can never take the islands out of the boy. No truer is this than for Isaac Bancaco, who spent more than a decade honing his culinary skills on the mainland. We caught up with the Maui native to discuss the latest culinary trends.
How has the Maui food scene changed since you returned in 2010?
Speaking from a chef’s point of view, things have gelled among the other chefs. There’s a real camaraderie here and we’re all supportive of one another. The bonds are healthy and prevalent, and we’re better chefs because of these relationships.
Having traveled as a guest chef, what is it that you seek to do when you first visit a new city?
Eat! I try to get in as many restaurants as possible. Even though I went to culinary school in Portland, Ore., I haven’t been back and the food scene there has really exploded. I would say it’s the most improved dining scene in the past 15 years.
How would you describe your cuisine?
It’s table to farm. We want the ingredients to speak for themselves. We don’t like to use a lot of sauces and we try to keep flavors light. We have a mantra around here and it’s, “Thoughtfully sourced. Carefully served.”
What advice would you give Maui visitors?
Don’t plan an agenda. You can try to pack in all the sights and attractions, but you won’t fully experience the island. They say there’s no place like home. I say there’s no place like Maui.