Hawaii Food & Wine Festival attracts top talent for its seventh extravaganza

Calling all foodies: Do mark your calenders for October, when it goes from Maui to Big Island to Oahu

Hawaiian Airlines Presents Uncorked welcomes 20 top chefs and 20 top wines Nov. 3 to the Hawai‘i Convention Center on Oahu. -- Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival photo

There will be a whopping 120 world-class chefs, 50 winemakers and at least a dozen mixologists who will bring their talents together in paradise for the seventh annual Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival spanning three of the islands and attracting 10,000 hungry people to resorts and other venues.

The premier epicurean event in the Pacific will showcase Hawaii cuisine and culture with a star-studded lineup for 12 events, beginning in Maui on Oct. 20, then moving to Hawaii Island and Oahu through Nov. 5.

Pegged #HFWF17 for social media purposes, it boasts first time and returning talent, new event themes, and wines that are rarely poured at festivals with a two-week-long spotlight on Hawaii as a culinary destination.

“The star power from our own backyard and afar for our seventh annual festival will bring visitors and media to Hawaii for a world-class food and wine event,” says the festival’s Chief Executive Officer Denise Yamaguchi. “We know that 25 percent of all Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival ticket buyers come from the U.S. Mainland and abroad. Media exposure of Hawaii’s unique culinary and agricultural experiences attracts visitors who are interested in food as a way to connect to the land, the culture and the people.”

The Festival celebrates the bounty of locally caught, grown or raised ingredients by inviting culinary masters to create dishes from a list of 150 local products.

PBS TV Chef Ming Tsai poses at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa last year. This year’s theme there is Global Street Food on Oct. 21. -- Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival photo

Co-founded by two of Hawaii’s own James Beard award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, #HFWF17 will attract more than 100 internationally-renowned culinary personalities including: Michelle Bernstein, Josiah Citrin, Graham Elliot, Jose Garces, Tim Hollingsworth, Nobu Matsuhisa, Masaharu Morimoto, Niki Nakayama, Nancy Silverton and Ming Tsai.

And #HFWF17 welcomes for the first time Chateau Cos d’Estournel, a coveted French winery that rarely participates in festivals. Other top draws for wine connoisseurs are Opus One and Caymus Vineyards. Featured mixologists include Oahu star Justin Park of Bar Leather Apron and returning festival favorites Tony Abou-Ganim of The Modern Mixologist in Las Vegas) and Julie Reiner of the Clover Club & Leyenda, New York City.

The festival boosts Hawaii’s reputation as a culinary destination with prominent national media coverage valued at $12 million, explains Denise, who is also the wife of acclaimed chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s fame.

In May, Roy as co-founder hosted top media including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Food Network and Eater New York to private dinners while Co-Founder Alan Wong led a culinary cruise from New York City to Iceland.

“Our job is to promote the State of Hawaii to the rest of the world through food,” says the savvy Roy.

Master Sommelier Roberto Viernes pours fine wines to guests. -- Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival photo

Now in its seventh successful year, #HFWF17 has ballooned from a three-day festival with 30 chefs in Waikiki to the state’s largest food and wine event ever.

Maui happenings: Oct. 20-22

The entire festival tees off Oct. 20 in West Maui with Roy’s 20th Annual Golf Classic at Ka’anapali Golf Course, but word as of press time is that spots for players are going, going, almost gone.

Global Street Food brings 13 top chefs to the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali on Oct. 21. According to statistics, street food again tops the 2017 hottest food trends.

“Look no further than right here on Maui for some of the best global tastes by chefs from around the world starring the island’s freshest seafood and meat as well as produce,” says a press release.

The Modern hotel in Waikiki will host Spice Market on Nov. 2 with top chefs from China to Boston cooking with flavors found along the Silk Road connecting the East and West. -- Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival photo

“Savor mouth-watering dishes from around the globe paired with fine wines, craft cocktails and thirst-quenching beer under a shower of fireworks at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa’s Anuenue Lawn. No passport required.”

Featured Chefs include Floyd Cardoz of Paowalla in New York; Gale Gand with Tru in Chicago; the host chef Lyndon Honda of the Sheraton Maui; Chris Kajioka of Senia and Ed Kenney of Mud Hen Water, both in Oahu; David LeFevre of Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach, Calif.; and Spike Mendelsohn of Bearnaise in Washington D.C.

Acclaimed chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in New York will also join the all-star lineup and it will be the only appearance by Masaharu “Iron Chef” Morimoto throughout the entire festival.

Hawaiian Airlines Presents Lucky 7 features seven culinary masters at The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa outdoors on Oct. 22.

It will be a seven-course, wine-pairing dinner featuring “high-rolling” chefs such as Joachim Splichal of Patina Restaurants in Los Angeles to Jason Neroni of Rose Cafe in Venice Beach, Calif.

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits will pour the wines, making for a winning combo that evening.

Hawai’i Island: October 28

The #HFWF17 then moves to Hawai’i Island for The Return of Cuisines of the Sun starring seven master chefs staged at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Kohala Coast on Oct. 28.

Oahu: Nov. 1 to 5

Our Kaka’ako Presents Raw & Wild Marketplace comes to Kaka’ako on Nov. 1 with six chefs who use local items that are either fished, foraged or picked from the mountains to the ocean.

The Modern Honolulu will host Spice Market with 13 global talents on Nov. 2 on the sunset and sunrise pool decks of the resort.

Hawaiian Airlines Presents Uncorked welcomes 20 top chefs and 20 stellar wines on Nov. 3 to Hawai’i Convention Center in Waikiki.

That will be followed by the after-party, 7-Eleven Presents Steamy Bowls, shaking it up at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa.

Weekend events include Taste of the Seasons on Nov. 4 featuring a VIP dinner with five culinary masters and a grazing event on the sands of Ko Olina with 12 top talents hosted by Ko Olina Resort with Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa and Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina. And the Halekulani will also host two wine seminars.

The festival concludes on Nov. 5 with HMAA Presents Keiki in the Kitchen Family Sunday at Bishop Museum; Food Fight & Bloody Marys featuring six top chefs at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort; and the grand finale seven-course dinner Saks Fifth Avenue Presents Halekulani Culinary Masters Gala — all for a festival to remember.



• What: Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is a three-island event starting on Maui Oct. 20, then moving to the Big Island Oct. 28 and Oahu Nov. 1 to 5 at various venues.

• On Maui: Roy’s annual Golf Classic tees off at Ka’anapali Golf Course Oct. 20; Global Street Food rolls to Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on Oct. 21; Hawaiian Airlines Presents Lucky 7 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa outdoors in Kaanapali.

• For more details: Tickets are now on sale and you may view the complete schedule at www.HFWF.me.