This Week in Food News: Maui Brewing Goes Off the Grid; LA Times Hires New Critics; New Orleans Culinary Institute Opens


Maui, Hawaii []

Maui Brewing Goes Grid-Free

Pacific Business News reported this week that Maui Brewing Company is aiming to become the first grid-independent brewery of its size in the US by the end of 2019. According to energy reporter HJ Mai, the Hawaiian island brewer has invested more than nine million dollars over the last six years to make the conversion to solar and biofuel, and hopes to have it complete by the third quarter. Beneficial for both sustainability and marketing purposes, co-founder Garrett Marrero also considers the investment to be one that will ensure profits long-term.

“I look at it as protection for the company. My first and ultimate responsibility is to take care of my team, to make sure we’re profitable and that our paychecks cash,” he said. “I look at this as a way to help protect and insulate our company from any sort of market changes, namely, energy.”


LA Times Hires New Critics

Six months after beloved food critic Jonathan Gold passed, the Los Angeles Times announced the assignments of two new restaurant reviewers. Writer Lucas Kwan Peterson spoke with Patricia Escárcega, a Southern California native who has been leading The Arizona Republic and the Phoenix New Times as critic and reporter, respectively, while Andrea Chang sat down for a Q&A with Bill Addison, most recently the National Critic for Eater.

Says Addison, “I really take pride in trying to understand where a restaurant is coming from in all aspects: in its cooking, in its staffing, in its atmosphere, in its style of service.”



  • Whole Foods is officially scrapping their Whole Foods 365 store expansion. The brand, which merged with Amazon last year, noted that the existing twelve brick-and-mortar stores will continue to operate as-is.
  • Spirits writer Camper English dropped his roundup of beverages featured at the Winter Fancy Food Show held this week in San Francisco, including Pappy Van Winkle syrups, Jack Daniels Whiskey Cake, and “weird waters.”
  • The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute, or NOCHI for short, opened its doors earlier this month to local students pursuing careers in cooking and hospitality. Led by a board of philanthropists and restaurateurs, including Ti Martin and Dickie Brennan, children of the late Ella Brennan of Commander’s Palace fame, the school is focused on offering accelerated culinary courses, designed to offer students a bevy of professional kitchen skills without the often-hefty price of larger culinary schools.


~Jennifer Matthewson