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Chef Lee teaches gourmet cooking for ono results


“Cooking on Maui with Chef Lee,” is a series of cooking classes hosted at Sugar Beach Events estate in Kihei. During the series of classes, you are able to learn new recipes and tips in an industrial kitchen led by Maui’s own, Chef Lee, all while overlooking the landscape in the above picture when you sit down and eat. Really, what more could you ask for from a great cooking class experience? A few weeks ago, I was able to attend Chef Lee’s second class in her cooking series titled, “Tacos, Tapas, and Tequila.”

We learned how to make: Pico De Gallo, Guacamole, Pineapple Rum Ceviche, Cilantro Vinaigrette, Spicy Shrimp with Lime Cream Sauce, Steak Fajitas, Black Beans, Tequila Lime Chicken, Fresh Catch with Cilantro Butter, Flan, and fresh Corn Tortillas. Since we do make everything from scratch the class was divided into two groups with each group making certain dishes but everyone was able to try everything at the end.  In my group, we made: Fish with cilantro butter, beans, guacamole, and shrimp with lime cream sauce.

Making tortillas
Everyone had an individual work area

This was such a great learning experience! Everything is provided from the aprons to all the food.  Not only did I learn new recipes, but I also learned the correct way to cut an onion!  Yes, there is an art to cutting an onion and apparently, for 20 years, I have been doing it wrong.  Bonus: I had no idea that home-made tortillas were so easy to make!  Next time I have guests over for dinner for Taco night we are going to make our own tortillas.

Compound butter made with garlic and cilantro.
Spicy Shrimp Goodness

My favorite dish was the Spicy shrimp with lime cream sauce because it was so savory. I think one of the best things I learned was how to make “compound butter.”  Compound butter is butter mixed with your own spices and herbs.  The compound butter we made was for the fish using garlic and cilantro.  With my newfound knowledge, I now make compound butter with fresh herbs and freeze it until I use it! In my opinion, the best way I use it is on my steak and I would have never have thought of it unless I took this class.


Not only did we learn about food, but we also had a “crash course” in Tequila.  Resident mixologist, Carl Anderson, was on site to explain the differences between popular tequilas and anejo vs reposado.  Again, not only do you learn but you get to sample the tequila in a margarita or straight up (including that 1942 Don Julio).


Our creations of the night!


A little of everything. I was the first to make a plate and I had seconds.. and thirds. No shame!

I would recommend this class for anyone to take.  Go solo and make friends; or get a fun group of friends to go together.  I met a sweet couple visiting from Canada who actually make it a point to take cooking classes wherever they visit.  I find that to be an excellent idea to really learn about a culture- through food!  Maui, we are fortunate that Chef Lee has opened up her kitchen and is willing to share her cooking skills with everyone.  Chef Lee is a great teacher and her enthusiasm for cooking is contagious.  Her next class is THIS weekend!!  Yes, it is pricey, but you just show up, cook, and eat!  You also get a print out of the recipes for future reference so you do not have to take notes as you cook!  The food makes the whole experience worth it!

Mahalo Chef Lee for a wonderful experience. I have never attended a cooking class before, but now I will make it a part of my life especially when I travel.  I was able to learn new tricks and new recipes all while having fun in my dream kitchen!

Chef Lee of and Tara Lee of

If you would like to attend the next class in, “Cooking with Chef Lee,” please see their website for more information:  Their next class involves my personal favorites: prosecco and prusciotto!  I wish I covered that class because for me: Prosciutto is life.


**Picture credits: Jody Yoshida of Mauigirlmedia.



About Tara Lee

Tara Lee is the Las Vegas Editor for MAUIWatch. A self-proclaimed "foodie", Tara loves sharing her food experiences with everyone. Growing up she was a "Military Brat" and has lived all over the world; therefore- her palate for exotic/one-of-a-kind food was developed at a young age. Now she gets a chance to share her passion of eating good food with everyone!

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