September 29th, 2016
Chef Andy Dalan of Wahiawa's Uber Factory dessert shop successfully defended his Riceipe champ title, taking home first place honors for a second consecutive year during the 7th annual Rice Festival's Riceipe cooking contest that took place Sept. 25 on Auahi Street fronting Ward Centre.
Dalan, also a chef consultant at Waimea Valley, was teamed with KITV4's Brandi Higa for the task.
The event featured four chef/TV celebrity teams vying for the top spot, with recipes judged on criteria of taste, creativity, simplicity of preparation and visual appeal. The other teams were Johnny Kai (Treetops Restaurant) and Hawaii News Now's Lacy Deniz, Maile Sengoura (Maile's Thai Bistro) with KHON2's Kelly Simek, and Robbie "Rbz" Acoba (Side Street Inn on Da Strip) with OC16's Tiny Tadani. All three presented variations of fried rice.
Dalan differentiated himself from the pack by presenting a surprising pineapple and rice crème brulée tart. Rice is used as a basis for dessert throughout the world, but not so much in the U.S., so it did get curious audience members coming up to the stage area to see just how good a rice brulée could be.
And that's the whole point of the fest, to see this food staple in a new light, look beyond the basics and appreciate rice in all its forms.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.