Settings rarely get more spectacular than the Hawaii Food & Wine Finale on the beach fronting a Ko Olina lagoon.
Food fiends flocked to the Hawaii Convention Center rooftop. Hawaii Food & Wine Festival co-founder Alan Wong said that they designed the “Taste Our Love For the Land” event to place a “spotlight on our people, our culture, our agriculture and our products.” See some of the evening’s most memorable people and plates.
The white building with “sails” touts ocean blue tinted windows and hosted a multi-station extravaganza.
Sang Yoon, the chef behind Father’s Office and Lukshon, brought culinary lieutenant Ted Hopson to Hawaii to help prepare Modern Lomi Lomi Salmon with tomato water gelée and pickled Maui onion.
Jon Matsubara recently switched from Azure to Japengo at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort And Spa.
Matsubara served Smoked Kona Lobster with preserved dragon fruit, cinnamon, wasabi oil and ulu brandade.
Aziza chef-owner Mourad Lahlou and pastry chef Melissa Chou presented Coconut Panna Cotta with vadouvan, crab & uni, and an ogo garnish.
Chris Kajioka, who previously worked for Aziza, is making culinary waves at Vintage Cave, a high end restaurant in Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center.
Kajioka’s Slow Cooked Egg Yolk featured a stew of abalone and mushrooms, mushroom foam, and decorative sunflower leaf.
Ed Kenney, the chef behind Town, always honors Hawaiian traditions.
Kenney served grilled pa’i’ai in taro leaf alongside dashi crafted with pork bones, shrimp, kombu, and katsuobushi, seasoned with kukui nut and scallion.
Kelly Lam and Eric Railsback of Santa Barbara’s new Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, were in Hawaii to pour Lieu Dit wines, including 2012 Chenin Blanc.
Sheldon Simeon, who moved to Mala Wailea after appearing on “Top Chef,” brought father Reinior Simeon the the festival to serve Big Island Goat Kilawen, a traditional Filipino raw goat “ceviche” with onion, ginger, Kalamansi, lime juice, and bay leaf.
Russell Moore, the chef of Camino in Oakland, also showcased goat in his Grilled Goat-Trumpet Mushroom Kofte Kebab with cucumbers, herbs & chiles.
Nobu Matsuhisa, one of America’s most entrepreneurial chefs, enjoyed this event.
Jim Meehan traveled from PDT in New York to mix cocktails.
Meehan’s Concord Companion combined Beefeater Gin, bonal quinquina, lemon juice, simple syrup, and concord grapes.
Jonathan Waxman of Manhattan’s Barbuto stood front and center.
Waxman’s Hawaii-accented New York Strip Steak featured grilled pineapple and pink Hawaiian sea salt.
Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Honolulu’s Pili Group served Kane’ohe He’e with coconut, olena, ‘akulikuli & hand harvested pa’akai.
Art Smith prepared Southern Fried Hawaiian Fresh Catch (kanpachi, cornmeal crusted like catfish) with sweet potato slaw, yuzu vinaigrette & mango hot sauce, and a corn shoot garnish.
Julie Reiner, another New York bar star (and a Hawaii native), created a Holiday in Jalisco cocktail with Don Julio Blanco, jalapeño, lime, pineapple, and simple syrup.
“GIRLS GOT GAME + 1” ON THE NEXT PAGE