Pastry chef Michael Moorhouse will conduct cooking classes this month. Photos by Dana Edmunds
Culinary team honors Julia Child
By Joan Namkoong
Contributed by Simplicio Paragas
While he no longer has the recipe book thatJulia Child autographed, Michael Moorehouse did keep the page that the legendary bon vivant signed with “Bon Appetit, Michael.” It’s a sweet memory that the Kahala Hotel & Resort’s executive pastry chef has tucked away in his desk, and one that he’s willing to show off during the monthlong “Bon Appetit” festival in celebration of what would have marked Child’s centennial birthday.
“When I lived in New York she came through the kitchen of the James Beard House where I was helping to prepare a meal,” Moorehouse recalls. “She also came to dinner at another restaurant where I was working but I never got the chance to meet her, but at least I got her to sign my book.”
Michael Moorhouse incorporates fresh local ingredients into his desserts.
During August, Moorehouse — along with other members of The Kahala culinary team — will conduct cooking classes that reflect his philosophy when it comes to desserts. Pleasing to the eye, not cloyingly sweet, easy to eat and not too whimsical. The plate should frame each creation, nothing extraneous, nothing inedible. This is the thought process behind a perfect dessert crafted by Moorhouse. His creations are made with fresh island ingredients, and their lively flavors are revealed in rich but light textures that make for mouthwatering spoonful after spoonful. Surely this will bring a wide smile to your face.
His youthful appearance belies the fact that he’s been cooking professionally for more than 25 years. Originally from New Jersey, he attended culinary school in Philadelphia in the early 1980s but learned most of what he knows on the job, honing his craft in Philadelphia, New York and London. Moorhouse moved to Hawai‘i in 2006.
With his staff of eight, Moorhouse prepares all the cakes, pies, pastries and other sweets for The Kahala’s award-winning Hoku’s, as well as the all-day dining Plumeria Beach House and afternoon tea in The Veranda. Banquets, weddings, room amenities, special events and post-dinner bonbons are all part of his sphere of pastries, while breads, rolls, pizza crusts, hamburger and hot dog buns refl ect the savory side of his repertoire.
“We want to do as much as we can in-house,” says Moorhouse of his desire to add to the dining experience of his guests. “I love the alchemy of being a pastry chef. “My favorite food item is the egg. There’s so much that can be done with it for so many diff erent results. Egg,butter, sugar and flour are the building blocks for so many delectable things.”
Desserts are infused with fresh local ingredients.
And what could be more delectable than Kahalasadas, which are Moorhouse’s version of Hawai‘i’s popular malasadas — egg-and-butter-rich, deep-fried, Portuguese-style holeless donuts available daily at the Plumeria brunch buffet.
One of Moorhouse’s dessert passions is ice cream, and you’ll find a dollop on every dessert at Hoku’s. Surprising ingredients like green tea, red wine and olive oil are smoothed into velvety textures, their fl avor essences unexpectedly pronounced, yet delicate. Refreshing sorbets of fresh liliko‘i, mango, guava and pineapple sparkle with zest. “I first made ice cream at Aquavit in New York,” he remembers. “I love to make it and I love to eat it.”
Moorhouse then pairs his frozen concoctions with other luscious recipes. Lavender essence ice cream tops squares of creamy, deep-fried semolina pudding paired with roasted berries in a syrup of orange and lemon juice. Seasonal, fresh lychee ice cream tops cannelloni of perfectly ripe mango purée, sliced to reveal mango cream encased within and accented with brilliant green cilantro syrup. Plates excite the eyes and appetite; every bite sparkles with perfectly balanced flavors.
“When I was young I would watch Child’s ‘French Chef’ on public television and it was such a novelty,” says Moorhouse, who frequents KCC Farmers’ Market in search of seasonal fruits like mango, liliko‘i, lychee, mangosteens, lavender, Meyer lemons and locally-grown chocolate. “She was an icon and introduced French cuisine to American households. She forever changed the way we cook, eat, and think about food. And I’ll never forget her apple pancakes, which I always wanted to be able to make.”
During August, the resort’s culinary team will pay tribute to the 100th birthday of Julia Child during a monthlong celebration of wine, food and French cooking techniques.
James Beard Foundation Dinner
Sun., August 12, 5:30-
10 p.m. – Maile Ballroom
After dinner nightcap, 10 p.m. – midnight
Cost: $325 per person.
(A portion of the proceeds to benefit the James Beard Foundation in support of their efforts to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage.)
The Kahala Wine & Food Festival: A Celebration of France
Sat., August 18, 6 p.m. – Epitome members and VIP preview.
7-10 p.m. — General public.
Cost: Adults $100 in advance or $125 at the gate; $150 with VIP entry (tax and gratuity not included) with advance reservations.
Universite Pattisserie – Better with Butter
Saturdays, 9 – 11.a.m. in Hoku’s.
August 4 – French Pastries.
August 11 – French Desserts
August 25 – Braising and Basting Techniques
Followed by Tea 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. —Veranda lounge
Cost: $85 Adults (includes graduation certificate, apron, and The Veranda Classic Tea experience)
Better with Butter Breakfast Buffet Weekend
Sat. and Sun., August 25 and 26; 6:30 a.m. – noon
Plumeria Beach House
Cost: $45 for adults and $22.50 for children 6-12 years old.
Hoku’s Better with Butter Sunday Brunch
Sun., August 26; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Cost: $60 for adults and $30 for children 6-12 years old
Better with Butter Tea
Sat. and Sun., August 25 and 26. Served 2– 5 p.m. in The Veranda lounge
Tea Service: Classic ($28) and Royal ($42)
Hoku’s Cfef’s Table: A Grand Experience
Thursdays and Sundays, August 2, 5, 9, 16, 19, 23, 26 and 30, from 5:30- 10 p.m. Minimum of 10-14 guests; Menu prices starting at $150 per person; $180 per person with wine pairings (Price may fluctuate with custom menu selections.)
Bounty of The Seven Seas: Tee Regions of France
Plumeria Beach House
Fridays and Saturdays, August 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31, from 5:30 – 10 p.m.
Cost: $55 for adults and $27.50 for keiki 4-12 years old
Offered nightly through August in The Veranda lounge, featuring a late night menu of pastries, macaroons, cheeses, petite salads and small plates. Live entertainment with pianist David Swanson, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30– 11 p.m.
For reservations, call 739-8760; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.