HFWF-14 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Finale
15 Celebrity Chefs took us on a culinary journey connecting the world through food and culture on O’ahu island. Titled ‘It’s A Food World After All’ , the finale was held at Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa on the grounds of beautiful Ko Olina Beach. Did you know that Aulani means ‘messenger of the chief’?
It was an honor to attend the closing event of the 4th Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. Here are some highlights.
We started out by cooling off from the hot afternoon sun with some cocktails by mixologists Daniel & Chandra Lucariello: Garden Variety- with Hawai’s own Organic Ocean Vodka & Strawberry Puree & my favorite, Kiawe Pineapple- with Patron ROCA Reposado & charred pineapple. Perfect for the beach. And who doesn’t like fruit in their cocktails?
Roberto letting us try his Hirsch’s 2007 Gruner Veltliner #1 which we loved. Mostly because Roberto was so friendly.
The Chef’s dishes were creative and fun. Seafood choices from ceviche to shrimp. Pork 3 ways. Venison. It was extremely hard to pick favorites! Here’s a lineup of some incredible offerings:
The bottom right corner was a big hit- Chef Jason Kina’s Pepper seared Ahi with caramelized wasabi aioli, tatsoi & Hamakua Ali’i mushrooms. Bottom left corner was from Aulani’s own Kevin Chong & a top pick-Keahole lobster curry with homemade pasta, pesto and a coconut lime froth.
Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose served up pork tacos (bottom left) with an avocado coconut shake that you drink before eating the taco. A big hit for me was the bottom right dish of Moloka’i venison with pa’i’ai, Namihana shochu & palula. I’d been dying to try some Moloka’i venison and this dish had such great texture and flavor.
I loved the creativity of this dish from Vivian Wu (Alan Wong’s) consisting of a Tahitian Lime Parfait with graham cracker sable & Hawaiian Honey. Palm tree cookie fits in perfectly with the beach theme of the event.
The Aloha spirit was present at King’s Hawaiian Bread (you know that sweet bread you get at the supermarket) their stand had complimentary sunglasses! The hot dog buns are on my list to grab next time I make sandwiches. Just like Three Little Pigs because it was so good.
Music from Barry Flanagan of Hapa was perfect against the backdrop of the setting sun.
The moment I got to meet one of my food idols, Iron Chef Cat Cora. She was very gracious and I meant to tell her how much she inspired me but I got so nervous I just smiled and tried not to cry. Her shrimp was so spicy I almost cried again later!
Getting a taste of some Savignon Blanc!
Beautiful edible flowers. I love how they look so delicately placed on top of the dish.
Chef Alan Wong perfectly captures the feeling of the event. All smiles. Celebrating cultures and coming together through food to inspire us all.
Chef Alan Wong & Co- Founder of the event Roy Yamaguchi & his wife Denise below. The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival has been able to provide over $700,000 in proceeds to local beneficiaries which is fantastic.
After some more music and a beautiful acrobatic show came the finale of fireworks!
Here’s a short video from this special night:
There was a wonderful sense of Ohana (Hawaiian for family) from all of the people working together to put on such a great event. So much pride in the local ingredients and sharing their beautiful dishes made it so special.
We’re looking forward to returning in 2015!
A big Mahalo Nui Loa to Malie & the rest of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival team for putting on such a spectacular event & for inviting us to attend the finale!