Here at Maui Craft Tours, we’re always looking for new insight, inspiration and information concerning our favorite topic: craft food, craft drinks and local ingredients on Maui.
This time around, we present our fourth Take 5 Interview with Executive Chef Jeff Scheer, the culinary genius behind The Mill House at Maui Tropical Plantation, a gorgeous local dining space focusing on innovative, farm-driven dining and handcrafted cocktails. Get an inside look at what it takes to keep things fresh in an award-winning restaurant in tropical paradise, and keep that #ScheerMagic going strong.
Take 5 with: Jeff Scheer of The Mill House at Maui Tropical Plantation
Q: What are the advantages of living in Hawaii when it comes to the craft food business?
JEFF: “I think the biggest advantage is the weather and temperature here in Hawaii, and the fact that we have a year-round growing season and are able to work so closely with farmers all year long.”
Q: What is your philosophy when it comes to farm-to-table cuisine?
JEFF: “Our philosophy here at The Mill House is to try to receive the products grown locally as quickly as possible, and I think that’s something we have been successful with because we work really closely with the farmers. We have developed a personal relationship with them; we talk to them often, and I’ll even visit the farms multiple times during the week and pick up the produce a couple of days a week. We get to work right alongside of them, and I think when you visit the farms and you’re that active with the farmers, that is what farm-to-table is all about.”
Q: Who (or where) do you look to for inspiration for your company?
JEFF: “I have a lot of really good friends in the industry. Some of my best friends are chefs, and I know lots of chefs on the mainland, so I try to always look for advice from friends. I think that’s something that continues, you know… continuing to look to friends for inspiration. You can’t get too stagnant doing what you do every single day, so you have to reach out and talk to people.”
Q: What, if any, special projects do you have planned for the coming year?
JEFF: “We are currently going through some menu changes in the restaurant and striving to change the menu seasonally, and overall just know what is available in different parts of the year. We are also kind of reigning in our Chef’s Table and have come up with a new format, and I think it has been really successful. We are a little bit more active with the guests at the table now, and I think that has been a big change. It’s been really great.”
Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of the business?
JEFF: “Definitely when you see guests love what you do, respect what you do and have fun. This business has grown so much since day one, and now when I walk out into the restaurant and see a packed dining room and lots of people there, and I see people having fun and really excited about what we’re doing, there’s no better reward than that.”
Q: Give us two cool facts about yourself or your business. Go!
JEFF: “One fact is I personally love to garden and farm, so I think that’s something that builds my passion toward food. I like to get my hands dirty, and always kind of stage and go hang out at the farms when I can. I’m even doing a little farming project at my house. Another fact about myself is I have a 4 month old son who has changed everything in my life, and that’s been the biggest reward. Everything that I’m doing now, I think about him in the background.”
All photos courtesy of The Mill House.
Mighty mahalos to the talented Jeff Scheer for participating! Reserve a spot on our Taste of Upcountry, Taste of Maui, Ultimate Craft Adventure or Pineapple Express Tour for a visit to The Mill House restaurant to sample Chef Jeff’s farm-to-table creations while enjoying a stunning view of the West Maui Mountains. You’re guaranteed to love it as much as we do.