Archive for the ‘Farm-to-table’ Category

Hyatt Regency's SHOR launches Chef's Table

March 11th, 2014

hyattjarAquarium in a mason jar at SHOR's Chef's Table at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa.Nadine Kam photos

SHOR American Seafood Grill in Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, hosted an introduction March 6 to its new Chef’s Table menu available Thursdays through Sundays, with reservations 48 hours in advance.

The exclusive event puts the services of chef Jake Andrews team at your service to create a five-course menu highlighted by fresh island ingredients purchased from the Hyatt's Thursday Farmers Market, downstairs in the Grand Atrium from 4  to 8 p.m. Five wines are also paired with the dishes and chef will discuss each course and selection throughout the meal.

The aim was to create something special for anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions when people are looking for a combination of memorable venue, food and company.

The cost is $500 for four people, and $150 for each additional person up to 12 people.  Reservations may be made by calling (808) 237-6145.

SHOR is known for offering sustainable seafood and shellfish, as well as beef from the Big Island and many other locally sourced ingredients.

This particular press event started with a handful of pupu at Japengo, before moving on to SHOR.
SHOR American Seafood Grill is in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, 2424 Kalakaua Ave.

hshooterWe started out with a few appetizers at Japengo that are not on the regular menu, such as this seafood shooter with Kumamoto oyster.

hyattSpicy Singapore crab omelette.

hyattchipSalmon skin rice cracker topped with seafood salad.

hyattbeesAfter the warmup, we were able to visit the Hyatt's beehives, tended by Michael Kliks, owner of Manoa Honey Co. and president of the Hawai'i Beekeepers' Association. While we were safely behind glass, he pointed out the queen bee and didn't care how many times he got stung. Ouch!

hyatttableSHOR's Chef's Table is set in casual, fun style, as if you were setting up a spur-of-the-moment dinner party for friends at home.

hyattplatingJon Matsubara plates the ahi portion of the crudo dish, presented on brown paper in keeping with the casual vibe of the event.

hyattcrudoIsland crudo with smoked bonito and sesame granola. A dollop of avocado and wasabi gelato was added prior to serving. (more…)

First course: Goofy Cafe embraces local

February 6th, 2014

goofyfishGrilled mahimahi with chardonnay butter and local vegetables. — Nadine Kam photos

In the old model of national invasions, the conquerors would plow over native cultures and instill their own set of values and traditions. The current tide of Japanese investment in our islands is much more respectful. It would seem they like us, they really do, and many, like Goofy Cafe—which I reviewed Feb. 5 in the Star-Advertiser—are doing what they can to help us negotiate a changing world to preserve what we can of our land, sea and culture.

I feel a similar protective instinct toward China. If I had the proper global standing, I would have told their leaders 20 years ago, look at us and learn from our mistakes. Don't promote the automobile. Don't build super highways. Keep your bikes; promote public transportation. They did the opposite to the detriment of their air and quality of life.

At the front of executive chef Keigo Yoshimoto's menu is Goofy's Traceability Report, as well as its food policy, which is "Local first, organic whenever possible." About 80 percent of its food and condiments are sourced locally, from the basics of Kunia tomatoes, Ewa onions and Big Island Kulana Ranch beef, to rum from Lahaina, and honey and vanilla from the Big Island.

The surf-themed cafe is very comfy, done up in rustic style with a warm wood interior. "Goofy" is a surf/skate/board sport reference to that small proportion of goofy-footed boarders who lead with their right, instead of more common left, foot.

These right-footed folks are viewed as being more artistic and rebellious, terms that reflect nicely on the cafe. Here's a look at a few of the dishes.
Goofy Cafe is at 1831 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 201, in front of the Grand Waikikian Hotel. Call 808.943.0077. Open 7 to 11 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch, and 4 to 11 p.m. for dinner. Also

goofykaleKale namul.

goofyajilloA special of Big Island abalone ajillo, with plenty of garlic cloves. There is also a Hamakua mushroom version available daily. The textures are similar.

goofycornKahuku corn penne with cream sauce. (more…)

2's company, 3's@ brilliant collaboration

October 23rd, 2012


Nadine Kam photos
Root fall vegetables (carrots, turnips, radish and winter squash) from Otsuji and MA'O Farms, prepared and plated by Prima, on earthenware by artist Steve Martin, was among the dishes served at the 3@the Table event at Fishcake.

How much more beautiful would your table and meal be if you were able to eat off works of art? That was the question proposed by architect Wendy Tsuji, the woman behind "3@the Table," which aims to bring together artist, farmer and chef. It's her hope that more restaurants, especially those in Waikiki, will pick up on the idea to enhance the visitor dining experience and promote more of Hawaii's talent.

We already know what can happen when farmers and chefs collaborate, and at an introductory event that took place Oct. 18 at Fishcake, an art and furnishings gallery, chef Peter Merriman said 3@the Table reminds him of the start of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement that began more than two decades ago, in which he was also involved.

Those who came of dining age after that time probably don't remember a time when chefs were held hostage to the handful of ingredients farmers knew how to grow. It took a group of about a dozen chefs to take their requests to farmers, suggesting produce they would like to introduce to their tables, which led to the explosion of flavors we have today.

He said that chefs believed people would pay more for locally sourced products, not just because they want to help support farmers, but also because the ingredients taste better, and people just may want to see art at the table because a beautiful visual aesthetic can also enhance a meal.

3onatableArtist Mary Mitsuda, left, with Wendy Tsuji, architect of 3@the Table.

This is something already seen at the Japanese table, most strongly at Nanzan Giro Giro on Piikoi St., a collaboration between a restaurant company and the artist Nanzan, who creates all the earthenware that provides the backdrop for the restaurant's seasonal and nature-inspired kaiseki. The artist  is rooted in the way of tea, rituals encompassing all of tea's history, philosophy and implements. The restaurant also houses a mini ceramic museum.

If diners are to become more mindful of what they are eating, this is one path. It is easy to get caught up in the flavors, intensity and beauty of a meal in a place like Nanzan Giro Giro, which encourages focus.

Honestly, at Fishcake, where the mood was celebratory, such focus was in short supply. It was hard to get people to stop socializing for a while and listen to what Tsuji was saying.

Toward that end,  3@the Table brought together three teams, each with a potter, a chef and a farmer, for a collaboration that mixes food with art. Daven Hee was paired with MA‘O Organic Farms and chef Ed Kenney of town, while ceramist Steve Martin teamed with Otsuji Farms and Prima. Big Island artist Clayton Amemiya teamed with Hirabara Farms and chef Peter Merriman. Also featured was work by artists Jered Nelson, Trent Burkett and Scott Parady.

Then the beauty of dishes prepared that night, and the scent of pork cooked up by Ed Kenney, encased in clay by Hee, was too irresistible to focus on the plates and platters beneath them. It's only when I got home and looked at the pictures I'd taken that I experienced that aha! moment.

Funds raised from ticket sales and ceramic sales will benefit Hawaii Potters' Guild's youth ceramics program at Palama Settlement, to help bring the concept to a new generation and the community.

Fishcake is at 307c Kamani St. Call 808.593.1231.


Ed Kenney's kiln-fired Shinsato Farms pork, prepared with the help of ceramist Daven Hee, below, with the pork encased in clayware. The process wasn't easy, and also included a scary, stinky moment as you can read in a story by Joleen Oshiro that appeared in the paper.


3heeMore of Daven Hee's work for the table.

3octoGrilled local octopus with lima beans and citrus, in ceramic-plated version above, and self-serve portion on aqua platter, below.

3aquaThe same octopus dish served for mass consuption on an aqua platter evoking the ocean. (more…)

HFWF Day 3: From farm to table at the Hilton

September 12th, 2012

hfwfabaloneNadine Kam photos
A tray of abalone—prepared by Mélisse, Lemon Moon Café and Sure Thing Burger's Josiah Citrin—ready for deliver to one of the VIP tables at the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival's Day 3 "From Farm to Table: A Makahiki Festival," that took place at Hilton Hawaiian Village Sept. 8.

It may have been raining elsewhere on Oahu, but the sun shined down on Waikiki and evening three of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Sept. 8 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, where more than a thousand guests dined in the open air.

The event was themed "From Farm to Table: A Makahiki Festival," paying tribute to the Hawaiian  harvest season, and highlighting  a sustainable future for Hawaii, with 22 celebrity chefs—many noted for promoting “farm to table” sustainable sourcing and cooking practices—enlisted to turn their talents to local produce, seafood, poultry and meat products.

While last year's food was a little meh to me, perhaps a little more familiarity this year was helpful. Many of the dishes were stellar, and when people asked me which was my favorite, I really couldn't pick one. So many were delicious. And unfortunately, with the scope of the selections, I was only able to sample about a third of what was offered.

You would think I would head to the visiting chefs stations first, but with our local chefs offering such dazzling selections near the entrance, I filled up fast. And silly me, the goal is variety, trying as many different dishes as possible, but I liked Hiroshi Fukui's monchong so much that when servers brought a batch to our table, I had a second helping!

For chef groupies, the event is a dream come true. You'd have to make many trips to San Francisco, L.A. and New York to hit up each of the chef's restaurants in person, and even then, the main man may not be around. But here, they were all heavily involved in preparation and giving attention to anyone who wanted to talk food and get a snapshot with these culinary stars.

It was definitely an amazing night to remember!

Non-flash video link

hfwflobsterJon Matsubara's roasted Kona lobster was one of the many delectables offered up near the entrance to the event, where most of the local chefs were positioned.

hfwfmatsubaraMatsubara, of Azure restaurant at The Royal Hawaiian, offers up his roasted Kona lobster with anchovy and marrow butter, topped with sea asparagus, Ewa corn, Ho Farms tomato and baby rocket.

hfwffenigerSusan Feniger of Susan Feniger's Street, and Border Grill, served up chilled Korean noodles with grilled skirt steak.

hfwfleeanneLee Anne Wong shared two dishes incorporating pa'i'ai, not dissimilar, but 250 years apart in terms of preparation, as she explained in the video near top of page. I particularly loved the way the pa'i'ai picked up the flavor of the smoked marlin in the old-style preparation. Chances are, you'll be seeing more of her soon. She's pulling up stakes from New York and will be moving to Hawaii by next summer.

hfwfpaiaiWong worked with Daniel Anthony of Mana 'Ai, who was making more pa'i ai on the spot.

hfwfwaxmanJonathan Waxman of Barbuto, New York, does some heavy lifting, removing fish from a grill.

hfwfjosiahAll the chefs, including Josiah Citrin, of Mélisse in Santa Monica, obliged fans who wanted to have their photos taken with them. (more…)

App aims to make search for local produce a breeze

July 31st, 2012

leimNadine Kam photos
From left, YWCA of Oahu CEO Kimberly Miyazawa Frank, Café Julia chef Lance Kosaka and app developer Melanie Kosaka, at the beta launch of Lei Fresh.

The YWCA's new Café Julia was the setting for the beta launch of Melanie Kosaka's latest app venture, Lei Fresh.

The Hawaii-grown, interactive mobile app will help conscientious shoppers find and share local products as they pop up in grocery stores and farmer's markets throughout the islands.

The app will be available Aug. 15 as a free download in Apple's App store. In the meantime, you can take a look at a video posted at

It was a no-brainer that the event take place at the cafe, where Melanie's brother Lance is the chef, who also represents Laniakea Catering. He was offering an array of artisan pizzas including one with butter, tomatoes and arugula, and others topped with smoked pork, and another with adobo and chicharrón.

Neighboring restaurants also serving their specialties included 'Umeke Market, Mix Cafe and Brasserie Du Vin.

leisNatalie Aczon of Whole Foods Market, with Stephanie Chang of Design Ink, who created the logo for Lei Fresh.

leipizzaLaniakea Catering's adobo and chicharrón pizza.

leimeatloaf'Umeke Market's kimchee meatloaf made with Big Island grass-fed beef.

leibrunoMix Cafe and Bruno's Forno chef Bruno Iezzi mixes his lemon rigatoni, with Wu Qin He.

carrot1The Whole Foods display included some of the misshapen carrots you don't get to see in their perfect in-store displays. This one looks like a claw or the bottom half of a grotesque doll. Natalie Aczon said the employees pull odd ones all the time that look downright pornographic.

carrot2This one looks like a pig's foot. After the event, the produce was available for the taking. I don't know who got these carrots.

leicAmong the guests, Sean Morris and a homecoming Candice Kraughto, briefly back from Shanghai.