The People behind Kō
Chef Pang sources from over 16 island farmers for Kō restaurant. In fact, over 85% of all produce served is from Maui, Moloka΄i, Hawai’i and Oahu. Many farmers are old friends, allowing him access to the best produce the islands have to offer. Moloka΄i purple sweet potato, sea asparagus, hearts of palms, even upcountry blueberries frequent the Kō menu. Chef Pang was recently recognized for his outstanding efforts to support Maui Agriculture with the 2012 Friend 0f Agriculture Award, presented by Mayor Alan Arakawa.
At Kō, Maui fishermen aren’t considered vendors, but rather as partners who share the respect for the ocean as a vital, self-sustaining resource. The 10-15 fishermen that catch for Kō support a sustainable fishery, while at the same time providing some of the most delectable fish found anywhere in the world. The abundance and variety allows Chef Pang to select the species, size and quality of the fish on a daily basis, in order to have it prepared and served at dinner that evening.
Paniolo, or cowboys, have been an important part of Maui’s culture for decades. The cattle raised upcountry is grass-fed and completely hormone, stimulant, and steroid free. Kō is proud to serve Maui Cattle Company beef and support local ranchers.
Kō’s menu encompasses generations of family recipes from various backgrounds and cultures. The Kare-Kare, a traditional Filipino Oxtail Stew served in savory Peanut Sauce, has been in local Chef Aris Aurelio’s family for years, but now graces the menu at Kō. To islanders who were raised on dishes like poke and lumpia, the menu offers comfort food. To visitors, the menu offers new and unusual flavors and a taste of cuisine that has frequented the tables of island families for generations.
Maui Culinary Students
Walk into the kitchen at Kō and you’re likely to run into at least nine graduates from the Maui Culinary Academy (MCA). Executive Chef Tylun Pang is also a member of MCA’s Advisory Board and donates 100% of the proceeds from his award-winning cookbook to the school for supplies and scholarships. The Fairmont Kea Lani has a long history of supporting MCA through ongoing work study programs, as well as being host to the annual fundraising event, Noble Chef each year.