Archive for the ‘Fusion’ Category

HFW festival off to a memorable start

September 30th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

Justin Quek of Sky on 57, Singapore, presented spiced lobster, one of the hits of Day 1 of the inaugural Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival.

The Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival got off to a great start on Sept. 29, Day 1 of the three-day inaugural event chaired by chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, who made the most of their James Beard connections.

For those accustomed to attending the many culinary festivals around this food-loving town, this one was a step above, thanks in part to the participation of several stellar international chefs.

For the “Streets of Asia: Morimoto and Friends” event presented by Hawaiian Airlines, the Sunrise Pool at the Modern Honolulu was dressed with red lanterns and stations were marked by red banners marked by characters designating such positive aims as “good health,” “abundance” and “good fortune.”

The theme may have been street food but for this crowd it was elevated street fare presented by hosts Roy and Masaharu Morimoto and fellow local chefs Chai Chaowasaree of  Chai’s Island Bistro; Hiroshi Fukui of Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas; Scott Toner of The Modern Honolulu; and international chefs Edward Kwon of LAB XXIV, Korea; Mourad Lahlou of Aziza, San Francisco; Charles Phan of The Slanted Door, San Francisco; Justin Quek of Sky on 57, Singapore; and Guy Rubino of Ame, Canada.

The setting for Thursday night’s event, bathed in red light.

Tonight’s sold-out Master Chefs gala dinner at Halekulani promises to be the highlight of the festival  with its $1,000 ticket price and fare from Halekulani’s Vikram Garg plus Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys, San Francisco; Robin Lee of Nobu Waikiki; Yoshihiro Murata of Kikunoi, Japan; Nancy Silverton from Mozza, Los Angeles; Alessandro Stratta of Stratta, Las Vegas; and Tetsuya Wakuda of Tetsuya’s, Australia.

You may still be able to pick up $200 tickets to Saturday’s “From Mauka to Makai: Hawaii’s Sustainable Future,” taking place 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Ahupua‘a on the Great Lawn. Visit

Many I spoke to at Thursday’s event were so pleased they said they would be back for more on Saturday. The lineup:

John Besh, John Besh Restaurants, New Orleans
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Celestino Drago, Celestino Drago Restaurant Group, Los Angeles
Dean Fearing, Fearing’s, Dallas
Michael Ginor, Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Lola, New York
Ed Kenney, Town, Hawaii
George Mavrothalassitis, Chef Mavro, Hawaii
Peter Merriman, Merriman’s, Hawaii
Rick Moonen, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood, Las Vegas
Michel Nischan, Dressing Room, Connecticut
Philippe Padovani, Padovani’s Grill, Hawaii
Jeffrey Vigilla, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hawaii
Marcel Vigneron, “Top Chef Bravo,” Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen TV, Los Angeles
Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s, Hawaii
Roy Yamaguchi, Roy’s Restaurants, Hawaii

Let’s hope they bring this festival back next year!

They had me at first bite of Mourad Lahlou’s spiced Kauai prawn with ogo, sea asparagus and ikura.

A display of chef Edward Kwon’s shortrib with apple, pepper and kim chee. So tender, we could cut it with the papery forks that were provided. Below, the LAB XXIV chef with his display.

Sheraton Waikiki senior executive sous chef Colin Hazama, right, with Slanted Door’s Charles Phan who was serving Alaskan halibut with pineapple sauce, below.


On the plate: ‘Ama’Ama

September 21st, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

The entry to ‘Ama’Ama, Aulani A Disney Resort & Spa’s new contemporary restaurant.

What a treat it was to venture out to out to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, last week. It may have been work, but it felt like a vacation to wander the newly open resort at Ko Olina.

A team of us went out for a first look regarding our respective beats of dining, art, entertainment and travel. By late afternoon, I was starving, having skipped lunch, so a couple of us stayed to check out lunch at the resort’s contemporary restaurant ‘Ama’Ama.

It was a hot lazy day, and so relaxing to look out over the ocean during the late lunch that started at about 2:30 p.m.

Food—just a burger, chicken sandwich and kalua pig buns—took a long time to come out of the kitchen, so by the time we were finished it was 4:30 p.m., which is OK if you’re a tourist and have all the time in the world.

What I really wanted to do was return for dinner, and my review appears in the paper on Sept. 21, 2011. Essentially, the quality’s high, but I couldn’t help thinking it was created to Disney taste, with all the middle-of-the-road sweetness that implies. Here’s the pictorial version.

Stepping through the entryway to a world of relaxation and leisure. Can’t you feel yourself breathing deeper and your shoulders relaxing already?

The room by day.

On the lunch menu, pulled pork, local-style, $14.

A starter of Hamakua mushroom “tart,” really more like an elaborate crostini also topped with arugula, coriander creme fraiche and Parmesan, turned out to be one of the better dishes I tried, at $16.

Head-on grilled jumbo shrimp ($18) was painted with sweet barbecue sauce, too much for my taste, but good for those with a sweet tooth, who like to bury their food in sauce.

This side of souffle potato (I was expecting it to be mashed) was fun. I like potatoes anyway, and these were deep-fried to puff up like balloons. The trick is to eat ‘em while they’re hot without filling up before you’ve touched your entree. (more…)