Paris Nabavi, Chef & Owner

Recipient of the 2015 ‘Aipono Lifetime Achievement Award, as voted by the readers of Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi Magazine, Chef Paris Nabavi studied culinary arts in classic French tradition—in London. Travelling the world, cooking and tasting many different cuisines, he eventually worked his way up the corporate ladder with Fairmont Hotels, arriving in West Maui—by way of Texas—in 1989 to serve as Director of Food and Beverage for Kapalua Bay Hotel. Four years later, Nabavi was ready for a new challenge and left the corporate world to open his first restaurant. The award-winning Pizza Paradiso Mediterranean Grill opened in 1995 and relocated to Honokowai Marketplace in 1998, serving Maui with the freshest Italian, Greek and Middle Eastern comfort food.

A deep passion for fresh, nutritious food at reasonable prices drives all of Chef Nabavi’s business ventures. In 2004, he opened the award-winning Cilantro Mexican Grill, which quickly garnered so many faithful patrons that the space could no longer accommodate the demand. Most recently, Chef Nabavi expanded his menu and space into another award-winning Mexican Restaurant, Sangrita Grill + Cantina, winner of Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine’s 2015 ‘Aipono Gold Award for “Best Mexican Restaurant,” Hawaii Magazine 2015 “Best New Restaurant” and MauiTime Weekly 2014 “Best New Bar.” Chef Nabavi was also awarded Exceptional Small Businessman of the year for Maui County.

Busy as he is running two establishments and catering operations, Chef Nabavi makes it a priority to give back to his community. Every few months, he and his wife, Donna, open their home to a group of 20 and cook a traditional Persian menu and share a few secrets from his family recipes. In lieu of payment, every guest donates to Grow Some Good—a Maui-based nonprofit that establishes edible classrooms to support curriculum, connect students and families to their food sources and inspire better nutrition choices. Chef Nabavi also funds the purchase of organic seeds for 52 school gardens in Maui County through Maui School Garden Network. Paris Nabavi is the Founder of Nabavi Legacy Fund—which promotes a yearly dine-around program called RSVP Maui, which stands for Restaurants Supporting Vital Programs. The collaborative effort recruits restaurants, food and beverage establishments into Maui’s healthy kids and local food movement.

Benefiting organizations include Maui Culinary Academy, Imua Family Services, Grow Some Good, Maui School Garden Network, Book Trust and Maui Academy of Performing Arts. Chef Nabavi recently partnered with American Heart Association to assist with the Kids and Teens Cook with Heart program for Lahaina four public schools.  This program will bring hands- on healthy cooking and nutrition with cardiovascular health education and promotes generation of student leaders inspired to study and pursue careers in science, technology, medicine and mathematics that spans elementary through high school ages.

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