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Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

If you read Marin Magazine, you’ve surely read about the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. I remember writing about their first event and have been lucky enough to go to an event (Thanks Modern Honolulu!) and tour an ancient fish pond that is being rebuilt and put back into service as a place to sustainably raise fish and seaweed. The event draws chefs from around the country, including the Bay Area, which is how I met and chatted with both Nancy Oakes and Charles Phan. Or maybe I just stood at their booth and stammered on about how much I love their cooking.

This year the organizers are trying something new by kicking off the event a few months ahead of time with the inaugural Connoisseur’s Culinary Journey of Hawaiʻi and Spring Launch Cookout from May 23-27, 2016. This will be an immersive experience featuring five days, five chefs, and five once-in-a- lifetime culinary experiences that showcase the bounty of Hawaiian land and sea.

For me going to the source of the food, (fish pond or farms) in Hawaii is more than learning about the ph of the soil, but these mini journeys come packed with cultural “talk story” moments that add to my own story of why I love this state. The journey will culminate in the 2016 Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival Launch and Hukilau Beach Cookout – presenting culinary creations from ten of the state’s best chefs under the stars on Kahala Beach – to celebrate the complete talent lineup announcement for the sixth annual event this October. Highlights from the Culinary Journey itinerary include:

  • Monday, May 23: Hawaiʻi Culinary Masters Reception at The Kahala Hotel & Resort (Honolulu, HI)
  • Tuesday, May 24: Honolulu Fish Auction and Tamashiro Market Tour with George Mavrothalassitis and Lee Anne Wong (Honolulu, HI)
  • Wednesday, May 25: Kamehameha Schools Presents: Bounty of Heʻeia with Mark Noguchi (Heʻeia, HI) and North Shore/Haleʻiwa Tour with Roy Yamaguchi (Haleʻiwa, HI)
  • Thursday, May 26: Kamehameha Schools presents The Breadbasket of Our Islands with Alan Wong (Hawaiʻi Island) 
  • Friday, May 27: 2016 Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival Launch and Hukilau Beach Cookout (Honolulu, HI)

I’ve been to a hukilau at The Kahala Resort, and it’s the ideal setting. I asked the organizers about this final event and got not only what will be served by their observations on what to expect at a hukilau.

Alan Wong, “Think simply a village or family goes out, lays a net. Next morning haul it in and participate in the share of fish,” and Roy Yamaguchi adds “We’re going to have everyone there to bring their soul and connect and to do a bigger, better thing for Hawai‘i.”

Hukilau Menu:

  • Lee Anne Wong – Huli-huli Chicken 
  • Michelle Karr-Uyeoka – Strawberry Sangria Shaved Ice, MW Ice Cream Sandwich, Pina Colada “Push Pops"
  • Wayne Hirabayashi – Carved Whole Roasted Royal Hawaiian Tropical Gold Pineapple
  • Ed Kenney – Roasted Local Sausage and Pickled Vegetables 
  • Mark Noguchi – Squid Luau
  • Andrew Le – Roasted Pig in a China Box 
  • Elmer Guzman– Raw Poke Bar (including Kimchee Torched Salmon Poke Bowl, Pulehu Local Tako Poke, Kapakahi Poke, & Oio Poke)
  • Vikram Garg – Paella
  • George Mavrothalassitis- Bouillabaisse
  • Alan Wong – Seafood Boil
  • Roy Yamaguchi – Pulehu Hawaii Ranchers Rib Eye with Thai Basil Chimichurri

If You Go:

The Connoisseur’s Culinary Journey of Hawaiʻi is limited to 15 couples (30 guests total). Priced at $6,995.00 plus tax, the journey includes a five-night stay at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, daily tours, ground transportation and airfare, and most meals with chef hosts. Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival is providing a special rate of $5,995.00 plus tax if booked before April 30, 2016. For additional information and to view the complete itinerary, please visit: HFWF.me.

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