Chef Taylor Ponte
Executive Chef: The Mill House Restaurant
"The Mill House menu is driven by local products that make their way to our kitchen. Among many local suppliers we choose Lopes Farm for pork and beef. We choose to work with Lopes farm because it is a local, small, family run farm. We value our personal relationship with Paul. Our relationship isn't based on ordering emails or delivery invoices, but rather talking about what is happening with the animals and the farm. Learning what he and his family are up to.
The Lopes Farm carries on old traditions set by original Hawaiian butcher shops. They closely manage their products, are incredibly passionate and are excited to tell us about the animals. They let us know how they are incorporating types of feed for various steer and hogs breeds and how the blend will come through. They also work with us to match our needs. We can receive the whole animal or ask them to break it down to different cuts.
Lopes Farm raises animals in small, controlled groups (opposed to other mass production methods) so the product is very consistent. They use the information gained from studying the animals' diet and the final product to make the next delivery of product even better.
The animals' diet is a rich one lending great marbling and fat content to the final product. The beef from Lopes farm is very tender, reminiscent of country-style meats in the flavor. Since it starts off as a great product, we don’t have to do much to it to satisfy our restaurant guests and give them a great value.
Its all about supporting the farming and ranching community in Hawaii. In planning for the next 10 years, we need more local vendors to sustain our restaurant and population growth. Our local businesses can help each other grow. For the several generations of the Lopes Family, this growth will ensure the legacy of the farm lives on."
Chef Taylor Ponte is the Executive Chef at The Mill House in Waikapu, Hawaii. A graduate of Maui Culinary Academy, Chef Ponte has worked alongside Chef Alan Wong, Chef Jonathan Mizukami, and Chef Jeff Scheer. He helped lay the foundation for The Mill House’s signature farm-driven and innovative cuisine. He is passionate about educating chefs, supporting farmers and using the multi-cultural influences found on Maui to craft unique dishes. Born and raised on on-island, he values the relationships with Maui’s farmers and rancher.