Archive for April, 2011

Kahala’s feel-good food festival

April 30th, 2011
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Nadine Kam photos

The setting for the first night of The Kahala Wine & Food Classic, under a tent at the Kahala Hotel’s Diamond Head Lawn .

The night was beautiful and the trades were blowing on the first night of The Kahala Wine & Food Classic that took place April 22 on the Diamond Head Lawn of The Kahala Hotel.

The hotel and chef Wayne Hirabayashi were host to Napa Valley and James Beard award-winning chef Cindy Pawlcyn, Suzanne Pride Bryan and Stuart Bryan of Pride Mountain Vineyards, emcee Fred Schrader of Schrader Cellars, cigar expert Michael Herklotts, and 160 food and wine afficionados.

Far from stuffy, the mood at every one of the Kahala’s Food & Wine Classics I’ve been to is always light, casual and fun. This time around, Jimmy Borges drew applause when he got up on stage for an impromptu performance, and when Sean Morris let organizers know that Dr. Alvin Chung was celebrating his birthday, they engaged all the dinner guests in singing “Happy Birthday.”

Afterward I went up to greet the birthday boy, and Diane Ako and her husband Claus Hansen joined us.. It turned out it was his birthday as well!

Food, travel and lifestyle writers Joann Aquino and Simplicio Paragas with Napa Valley icon chef Cindy Pawlcyn.

First course of local octopus salad, topped with Malagueta chile relish. Chef Cindy talked about the fisherman who caught the octopus, and a later speaker mistakenly thought she was talking about the octopus and had named it Warren! Which would have been a bit sick.

A very yummy second course of huge glazed scallop, each about 2 inches in diameter, with almond-caper-golden raisin buttter.

I’m not usually a fan of squab, which can be withered and tough in the wrong hands. Chef Cindy had me wanting seconds of the tender, juicy morsel, served simply with Dijon mustard sauce.

The fourth course was a grilled dry-aged prime NY steak with wild mushroom stroganoff and potato and Asiago gratin.

Jimmy Borges gave an impromptu performance.

After dinner, birthday boy Dr. Alvin Chung enjoyed a cigar with, from left, Carol Brittingham and Kona Carmack.

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Pacific Club’s Elton Nichols newest Advanced Sommelier

April 28th, 2011
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Court of Master Sommeliers photo
The new Advanced Sommeliers celebrate their accomplishment. Hawaii’s Elton Nichols is pictured below.

Elton Nichols, assistant food and beverage director of the Pacific
Club has won the title of Advanced Sommelier, one of only 14 individuals out of 49 to pass the five-day Court of Master
Sommeliers’ recent Advanced Exam, which took place in Anaheim, Calif.

The accomplishment puts him on track to attempt the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam, a test that boasts only 112 passers since the Court’s Americas chapter began offering it about 25 years ago. The test he passed is the third in a series of four increasingly challenging tests of knowledge and skill offered by the Court.

The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in England in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge.

In addition to Nichols, the new Advanced Sommeliers are: Devin Andolsen of Lot18 (Walnut Creek, Calif.); Jeffrey Birkemeier of Casanova Restaurant (Carmel, Calif.); Ryan Brazell of Boulder Wine Merchant (Boulder, Colo.); Derek Engles of MGM Grand Hotel & Casino (Las Vegas); Christopher John of Cyrus (Sonoma, Calif.); Douglas Kim of Aureole Las Vegas (Henderson, Nev.); Gili Lockwood of Boulder Wine Merchant (Boulder, Colo.); Steven McDonald of Ai Fiori (New York, NY); Joshua Orr of Vineagogo (Del Mar, Calif.); June Rodil of Congress Austin Restaurant Group (Austin, Texas); Jordan Salcito of Nick & Toni’s Restaurant (New York, NY); Ole Thompson of Heirloom Wine Group (Seattle, Wash.); Kelly Wooldridge of Alpha Wine Company (Denver, Colo.).

The Court of Master Sommeliers was established in England in 1977 to encourage improved standards of beverage knowledge and service in hotels and restaurants. The first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam to be held in the United States was in 1987. The title Master Sommelier marks the highest recognition of wine and spirits knowledge.

Congratulations all!