More than 50 chefs from across the United States and Asia are slated to attend, including James Beard Award winners and Forbes Travel Guide-rated chefs Dean Fearing of Fearing’s, Eric Ziebold of CityZen by Eric Ziebold and Josiah Citrin of Mélisse. Wineries from the West Coast, such as Stag’s Leap, Amapola Creek and Archery Summit, will be in attendance, while renowned mixologists Tony Abou-Ganim and Jim Meehan will create cocktails.
In the birthing of the festival, Roy Yamaguchi, co-chair and owner of Roy’s Restaurants, wanted to give residents and visitors an opportunity to experience world-class chefs and winemakers while spotlighting Hawaiian products at the same time. With the event theme, “Taste our Love for the Land,” Yamaguchi is doing just that.
Throughout the festival, chefs and mixologists will put their spin on Hawaiian-produced products. “We ask our chefs to use local ingredients in the creation of their dishes so that we can showcase Hawaii’s enviable bounty of fresh fish, beef, pork, poultry and produce,” Yamaguchi says. “This is a key component of our event that sets us apart from others across the country, as well as around the world.”
As a well-known proponent of cooking with locally sourced products, Alan Wong, festival co-chair, founder of Hawaii regional cuisine and chef/owner of Alan Wong’s Restaurants, echoes Yamaguchi’s sentiment. Wong also believes there has been a positive progression in the state’s culinary scene, and the festival will further spread this idea both nationally and internationally. “Even though Hawaii is the largest consumer of Spam in the world,” Wong says, “we have evolved and moved on from mahi mahi with macadamia nuts.”
While the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival technically kicked off in Maui on September 1 with the signature event, Under the Modern Moon: Morimoto & Friends, all the delicious fun doesn’t really get going until festivities move to Oahu from September 5 through 9. (No events happen between September 2 and 4.) There, daily drinking demonstrations (Pinot Noir Study: As Taught by Four of California’s Most Celebrated Producers) will mix with nightly signature events (Around the World with Seven Chefs) that showcase culinary and cocktail combinations. A full schedule and details on ticketing are available on the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival’s website.
And when it’s time to finally put down the fork and wine glass for the evening, unwind at Halekulani. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star is offering a Sunrise package that coincides with the festival. It includes a three-night stay, a welcome amenity, nightly turndown service, admission to area cultural attractions, complimentary Wi-Fi and free daily breakfast for two — as if you weren’t already covered in the food department.
Photos Courtesy of Hawaii Food and Wine Festival