Discover the Visionary Creative Director Behind Maui's Most Alluring FEAST
Lush green grass sinks beneath your bare feet as you make your way to a low table draped with a hand-stained cloth. Bright locally-harvested flowers are bursting in a gorgeous table display while plates of tantalizing farm-to-table delicacies await. Find your place and ready your mind and spirit for a day of learning, crafting, and delicious cuisine. This unforgettable reception is part of FEAST, a celebration design company that focuses on gatherings that honor the sacredness of food and creativity. Each FEAST is themed and pairs a farm-to-table dining experience with a hands-on creative workshop.
Founder Amanda Robson explains how this combination of artisanal offerings was created and tells us about her organic transition from pastry cook to model to creative director to mother and founder of this extraordinary company. Read on to learn more…
Raised on Maui, Hawai’i, Amanda set off in pursuit of her dream of being an edgy food artist and completed her studies at both the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising as well as the California Culinary Academy, San Francisco.
During culinary school, she jumped into the kitchen at Ondine, Sausalito under the reign of Chef Seiji Wakabayashi. There, she learned how to distinguish and honor high-quality ingredients, and solidified her palette. Still, the work was brutal, and after two years of being covered in sweat and burns, wearing rubber clogs, chef pants, and a constantly stained coat, Amanda decided that this was not the path for her.
So, the then twenty two-year-old beauty set off to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in modeling and acting. But, after meeting her husband Wade—a choreographer and director—she discovered that his job was far more interesting.
“Being behind the camera seemed so much more appealing than being in front of it. We began dreaming up concepts for his stage and television work together and organically became creative partners,” she explains.
And it was organic. The skills Amanda had learned in the world of Fashion and Culinary Art transferred perfectly to the world of Creative Direction. She just had to understand her audience and know what inspires them.
Now, in her new role, she still uses these skills to craft the aesthetics, tastes, and atmospheres offered by FEAST. She looks to nature, film, editorial work, and fellow artists to stay creative, and often finds that Maui itself is the strongest source of energy and inspiration.
She moved back to the island three years ago and that’s when the idea for FEAST first struck. She was having breakfast with a dear friend, Sara Tekula, and she was overwhelmed with the series of ideas that were swirling around in her head. As Sara lent a helpful ear, the ideas began to narrow and become clearer, and Amanda realized she wanted to create an experience where guests could FEAST on food and creativity at the same time.
A month later, she held her first FEAST at the Millhouse alongside her friend Jeff Scheer.
The events continued and have thrived on the beautiful island. For every FEAST, Amanda is conscious about trying to source as many handmade and locally-grown elements as possible. She admits that it makes the pre-production process much more laborious, but the collective energy, beauty, and uniqueness present when all of that love has been put into the display is truly magical. It is this factor that drives FEAST forward.
“In my opinion, Maui’s natural beauty and our island’s thriving spirit of Aloha is what drives this food culture and artisan scene,” Amanda says of her home, “While some places might have trends and influences lead by individuals or institutions, I think everyone’s main muse on Maui is Maui. From my observation, this gives the talent on our island a visceral sense of reverence, authenticity, and sincerity. I think these qualities make our food and art scene incredibly unique and beautiful.”
It is this same creative spirit that Amanda hopes to pass down to her son, Koa. But she’s careful to let him find it on his own. She always tries her best not to react with any praise or criticism at the sight of something he’s created. Instead, she asks him how he feels about what he’s made, then leaves it at that.
“I want to teach him to have a strong sense of recognizing what excites him and not what excites me or anyone else,” she explains.
Having tried her own hand at a few different careers before discovering what truly makes her happy, it’s easy to see why Amanda wants to encourage her son to do the same. More importantly, she’s showing him that he can do it in his own way. After finding what brought her joy—art, food, creativity, directing—she combined them into a profession that encapsulated them all.
This, of course, does not leave much time in Amanda’s schedule. Between FEAST and her family, she doesn’t have many moments to spare.
“This is where I thank heavens for Hobnob,” she laughs, “Honestly, if it weren’t for the app, we would probably miss so many of Koa’s friends’ birthday parties. The way it organizes our upcoming events for us and offers us so many helpful reminders that they’re coming up is a godsend! I would absolutely recommend it to other creatives and entrepreneurs. The invitation style and layout choices make it really easy to create a killer invite in a snap. I love the direct access to my address book in the app and how streamlined it is when building and editing my guest list. Thus far my usage of Hobnob has been for my personal life, but I’m excited to see how I can pair it with FEAST in 2017!”
In 2017 FEAST will be hosting a series of it’s events on Maui and beyond. If you you’d like to explore a collaboration with FEAST, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also check back here for updates on FEAST and Hobnob in 2017.