Photo by Brendan Smith

An enclave of five-star hotels, golf courses and powdery beaches in South Maui, Wailea is a quintessential resort community. It’s also where award-winning chef Sheldon Simeon chose to open Lineage, his newest restaurant.

Launched in October 2018, Lineage plays homage to Simeon’s Filipino roots and is all about breaking the rules. The 80-seat restaurant is located in The Shops at Wailea, an upscale outdoor mall that features more than 70 stores—think Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton—restaurants and art galleries. Missing are the sunset or ocean views you would expect from a Hawaiian restaurant. Instead, you get to experience what it might be like to eat at a friend or relative’s home.

“We wanted to showcase that, even in a resort area, we can be proud of where we come from,” says Simeon. “It’s honest food, from the heart, and there’s nothing I love more than plating up pig’s foot while staring out of our kitchen window and into Louis Vuitton.”

Growing up in Hilo, Simeon was surrounded by a large family full of enthusiastic cooks. “This is the Filipino food I grew up with, but through the lens of Hawaii and our mix of different ethnicities,” says Simeon, who twice won fan favourite on TV’s Top Chef. “All the recipes are sourced from my community and family.”

With more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, dishes vary dramatically, from the flavourful smoked etag—sun-dried salted pork—in the north, to the south’s pastil, a dish made with sautéed chicken and rice wrapped in banana leaves. Notes of sour flavours permeate Filipino cuisine, and vinegar is a common ingredient. Adobo is a type of cooking process involving meat, seafood or vegetables marinated in vinegar, garlic and black peppercorn and then braised in oil and soy sauce. The resulting stew, which is widely considered to be the country’s national dish, goes by the same name. Simeon’s take on this classic features melt-in-your-mouth turkey tails that are marinated in cane-sugar vinegar, a nod to his Hawaiian upbringing.

The essence of Lineage, however, is best showcased by its Pork ’n’ Peas, the Simeon family’s interpretation of the classic Filipino dish pork guisantes—a hearty, savoury stew, and a dish well-loved by generations of Simeon’s family. “It’s not the most extravagant dish, but it has the most meaning to me, and I’m proud to share my culture.”

More family moments can be savoured on the dessert menu. Growing up, Simeon and his siblings would float sliced avocados in sugared milk with crumbled pieces of Saloon Pilot—a hardtack sailor’s cracker. Simeon’s Filipino Cereal is a sweet, sophisticated riff on his childhood favourite.
Of note is the restaurant’s cart service, allowing diners a bite within minutes of arriving; carts laden with appetizers, a mix of oxtail marinated peanuts, kimchi dip and sushi cones, are ready once parties are seated.
“In our culture, there’s always food on the table,” says Simeon. “Don’t immediately look at the menu. Relax, take your time and get some food in you.”

Chef Simeon’s Favourite Restaurants in Wailea

Photo by Craig Bixel, courtesy Humble Market Kitchin

1. Ka’ana Kitchen at Andaz Maui

“It’s doing an amazing job of showcasing regional Hawaiian cuisine.”

2. Humble Market Kitchin

“Chef Roy Yamaguchi takes it back to the roots of Hawaiian cuisine.”

3. Monkeypod Kitchen

“I love its cocktail and beer program, and [the] Pumpkin Patch Ravioli.”

[This story appears in the March 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]