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Hawaii Food & Wine Festival brings in top culinary guns

August 27, 2013 - Carla Tracy

Everybody who is anybody in Hawaii’s culinary world knows who Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi are. The two James Beard Award-winning chefs, both with famous restaurants on Maui and elsewhere, are founders and co-chairs of Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, which will launch Monday on Maui and continue on Oahu through Sept. 9.

Hawaii’s premier epicurian gathering features more than 75 of the world’s best known chefs, all using the freshest of island ingredients.

This year’s festival is bigger and better than ever. With five signature evening events and educational daytime culinary experiences on both O‘ahu and Maui, the festival comes to life with a “who’s who” of internationally acclaimed master chefs, four master sommeliers, five mixologists, and more than ten top-tier winemakers from Hawai‘i, the mainland U.S., Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, and Australia.

Last year, my husband and I attended numerous events on Oahu and had a grand old time. We started at Morimoto’s at The Modern, mixed it up at Halekulani, watched fireworks and indulged in festival food at the Hilton Waikiki, and had a stellar brunch at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki with top chefs cooking signature dishes.

“In partnership with the tourism industry, we created this festival to give travelers to Hawai‘i and residents alike an exciting and educational food festival featuring great chefs, winemakers, and event experiences that really capture the essence of the islands,” says Yamaguchi. “Our participants are required to use local ingredients found here in the Hawaiian Islands in the creation of their dishes. It’s a key element that sets our event apart from others across the country.”

Malama Maui will kick it all off on Sunday at Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Kaanapali. Word has it the festival may expand to other locations on Maui next year.

The gala will feature six top chefs from Hawaii and the Mainland and will be held under the stars on Maui’s “Dig Me Beach,” aka Kaanapali Beach.

It will be an unforgettable evening with delicious food and incredible wines. Those who attend will enjoy reserved seating and much more.

Bravo channel’s 2012 “Top Chef” finalist Sheldon Simeon will among the participants. He’ll do chow fun noodles with pork belly, pipinola squash and achiote spice.

Other featured chefs will include Rick Tramonto, of Tramonto Steak & Seafood in Wheeling, Ill., who will wow with Hawaiian shrimp and corn cappuccino with ceviche and coconut crema.

Hiroyuki Sakai, of La Rochelle in Tokyo will roast beef with, fried pate-brick wrapped vegetables in miso sauce

Chef Marcel Vigneron of Modern Global Tasting in Los Angeles will do masago fried onaga and hearts of palm salad.

From Maui, Host Executive Chef Gregory Grohowski of the Hyatt will sear Big Island kampachi and serve with lavender sea urchin cream; and Beverly Gannon of Bev Gannon Restaurants will do two desserts, including goat-cheese panna cotta and Hawaiian-chili pepper chocolate tart.

Cost is $250 per person. For tickets, visit Hawaii Food and Wine Festival Website.


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Co founders Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong