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Chef Alan Wong’s The Blue Tomato a finalist in upcoming IACP Culinary Awards

March 1, 2012 - Carla Tracy

Everybody I know with a decent palate on Maui is chomping at the bit for Alan Wong’s Amasia to open at the Grand Wailea. I still can’t get a firm date, but I know it will open “this spring.” He’ll also appear at the Maui County Agricultural Festival on Saturday, April 7 on the luau grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu.

The event is free and open to the public. But admission to its Grand Taste Education tent costs $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Watch presentations by top chefs such as Wong, who cooks for President Obama and his family when they come to Oahu, and sample foods from 12 chef and farmer stations.

Can’t wait for Amasia to open or to meet and greet him at Maui Ag Fest? “The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong” is flying off the shevles. So you may get a taste of Wong’s cuisine at home. In fact, the book, which Wong co wrote with Arnold Hiura, is one of three finalists in the 26th Annual International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook Awards in the “Chefs & Restaurants” category.

“The IACP awards program recognizes excellence and innovation in the culinary industry; its Cookbook Awards are among the most prestigious in the industry. Past honorees have included Rick Bayless, Mark Bittman, Dorie Greenspan, Thomas Keller and Julia Child. The 2012 Awards will be given in 18 categories. The Awards Ceremony will take place on Monday, April 2 in New York during a gala event as part of IACP’s annual conference.”

“ ‘The Blue Tomato’ previously received the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Award of Excellence in Cookbooks, the top award in the category, as well as an Honorable Mention for Design from the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association, and was one of three nominees for the 2011 Samuel M. Kamakau Hawai‘i Book of the Year Award.”

As a little background, “A founding chef and renowned master of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, Wong is known the world over for his creative, cutting-edge cuisine. A 1996 winner of the James Beard Award, he is a tireless ambassador for Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine and a leader in America’s farm-to-table movement. Chef Alan worked previously at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Lutece in New York City and The CanoeHouse on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. In 1995 he opened Alan Wong’s Restaurant—now Alan Wong’s Honolulu—and, in 1999, The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong, also in Honolulu. The Blue Tomato is his second cookbook.”

Published by Watermark in Honolulu, the book has a website, a, which includes photo galleries, recipe excerpts and behind-the-scenes videos with Chef Wong.


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