Tastes 2

Published on October 7th, 2011 | by Rita


1st Annual Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival: Broke Da Mouf!

We recently had the honor of attending the opening night of the first annual Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival, at “The Modern Honolulu in Waikiki”:http://www.aquaresorts.com/oahu/modern-honolulu/home/. Streets of Asia: Morrimoto and Friends, which was sponsored by “Hawaiian Airlines”:http://www.hawaiianair.com/, showcased street foods from many different Asian cultures. Chefs Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi helped to organize the event that benefited the Hawai’i Agricultural foundation and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific.

The evening kicked off with a beautiful sunset–and in true local style, everything slows down for a moment as the sun sets. The whole evening, and the whole weekend, was a tribute to local agriculture, local food, and local customs. Red lanterns and red satin flags adorned the pool area of the hotel and ornately costumed women–including one who was our fountain for the evening, from the Iona Dance Troupe–made the entire place feel magical. But the chefs were the ones who made the night taste magical.

Both the first and third evenings of the festival were tasting or grazing, meaning each chef had a station for guests to visit (no reserved seating or menus). The fear with events like this is that a station will run out of food, or there will be long lines for one particular place, but nothing like that happened to us. We didn’t wait in line for more than a few minutes in any given place, and many of the chefs were gracious enough to pose for photos, or even sign shirts for fans.

We sampled food from “Masaharu Morrimoto, Justin Quek, Charles Phan, Guy Rubino, Chai Chaowasaree, Hiroshi Fukui, Edward Kwon, Douglas Rodriguez, Scott Toner, Mourad Lahlou and Chris Kajioka”:http://www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com/meet-the-chefs/. A few of our favorites were the shortrib with apple, pepper, and kim chee from Chef Kwon, and the Big Island abalone from Chef Hiroshi Fukui. Chef Guy Rubino had sashimi that was worth going back for twice, and the evening concluded with halo halo from Chef Roy Yamaguchi and panna cotta flavored with orange and cardamom from The Modern Honolulu.

Upstairs near “the beach,” drinks from Julie Reiner (who currently lives in New York but is from Kailua) and Christian Self could be found flowing freely. Of course, there was an exceptional wine selection, as well as beers from “Stella Artois”:http://www.stellaartois.com/.

The motto for the entire festival was “Taste our love for the land.” That love shone bright all weekend long, and we sincerely hope that the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival becomes an O’ahu tradition.

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About the Author

Professionally in healthcare, and semi-professionally a photographer, former student at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, and full-time student of human nature, Rita has been writing for Truly Net for many years. Born and raised in the Midwest, she spent years on Oahu, and has formed some very strong opinions about all things knitting, pie, and the best places to climb. She really enjoys good food, music and friends, and is perfectly willing to write about, and photograph any or all of those things.

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