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Maui dining: Humu at the Grand Wailea

Maui boy Isaac Bancaco returned to Maui to become the chef de cuisine at Grand Wailea’s Humuhumunukunukuapua’a

Posted February 4, 2011 by Melissa Chang

Simplicio Paragas of InsideOut Hawaii magazine recently did a profile on Maui boy Isaac Bancaco, who had been away from Hawaii for more than a decade. He completed his culinary degree in Portland, OR, and had worked at Ming Tsai’s renowned Blue Ginger as well as Roy Yamaguchi’s Los Angeles restaurant.

Right about the time he started getting homesick, the Grand Wailea had an opportunity at their signature restaurant, Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Bancaco returned home in April 2010 and revitalized the menu.

“I didn’t change the menu,” he explained. “I kept what was already there, but added more local ingredients in a modern way. For example, the pohole fern salad is a new side for the sea bass. It’s picked in our forests here on Maui, and a woman named Gladys brings it in her car. You can’t get more local than that!”

Since I was staying at the Grand Wailea, Bancaco invited me and my friend, Julie Yoneyama, to Humuhumunukunukuapua’a for dinner. We tried the tasting menu, but had to tap out before the lamb came because we were just too full. I was a little sad about that because our waiter moaned, “Nooooo! That’s the best thing on the menu!” Well, next time. And now that I’m in love with Bancaco’s food, believe me, there will be a next time.

Maui dining: Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (1 of 20)

Maui dining: Humuhumunukunukuapua'a

Here's the sunset view from the restaurant. Aaaaahhhh...


  1. Ynaku
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Repeat after me, “Mullet” Good! Again, “Mullet”

    Hoo Girl, next time start your sampler from the entree :-) And lay off the bread. Hee hee Or better yet, call me and I’ll take care the rest. Whoo Hoo

  2. Melissa808
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:35 am

    @Ynaku LOL! I don’t know my fish…I thought there would be a more local name for it, but couldn’t place it. hahaha.

    Now that I’m looking at the pictures, I’m SO sad I didn’t eat the lamb! But I know that at the time, I was just too full. Oh well!

  3. nonstopmari
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:58 am

    next time take ME. u wd have made it to the lamb then. and u cd have had all the short rib, i love fish and lamb.

  4. Melissa808
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 1:03 am

    @nonstopmari I know! Had I known….anyway, I know you’ve been busy.

  5. nonstopmari
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 1:06 am

    @melissa808 what was that u were saying abt salad person…?

  6. Melissa808
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 1:17 am

    @nonstopmari you are still a salad person!

  7. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Wine Gurl: I don’t think those are mullet like Ynaku says…my guess based on the photo and where you probably took it, it looks alike Awa Awa…looks like about 2-3 feet for the larger ones.. Fuud pix were awesome…I would have taken the lamb…I too am a lamb freak!

  8. turkfontaine
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 3:16 am

    What? you’ve NEVER been to the GW? that’s what my friends in Marin say to me. I say, i’ve never been to Maui, unless you count the last Superferry trip, crew and friends only and much toasting and weeping. the last i saw of my Serbian crew friend was that trip. next day she’s out of work and going to Peru with the boat and off into the future.

    but i digress.

    those dishes were some of the most elegant looking you’ve ever featured. i know the place by reputation, (What?? you’ve NEVER……?). i hope i can catch up with the Joneses soon.

  9. Posted February 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

    wow, i am totally checking out Humu soon.

  10. Melissa808
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 7:42 am

    @jenrusso Yes! I think Isaac did a good job “renovating” the menu!

  11. Melissa808
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 7:42 am

    @turkfontaine If it makes you feel better, I never even knew what to expect from the Grand Wailea till this trip! I didn’t even look at their website. Now I know.

  12. Melissa808
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 7:43 am

    @Annoddah_Dave I dunno my fish! But I should, yah? And I am a lamb freak, too! I was just too full…..

  13. CindySJ
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    OMG. Everything looks so good! Thanks for your write ups on this trip! I guess I always think of other cities when traveling, and I forgot that we have a lot of great places here in Hawaii. And we also LIVE here. People dream about visiting the islands!

  14. Melissa808
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

    @CindySJ I forget, too! Funny, everything seems so much bigger on Maui. Even the ocean looks bigger.


About Melissa Chang

Melissa has been blogging regularly since 2007 and has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and public relations. She is currently an independent marketing consultant, specializing in social media. 

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