A Farm-to-Table Bounty
Building on the enthusiasm generated by Hawai`i Island’s inaugural participation last year, the opening night of the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival is once again taking place at Waikoloa Beach Resort on Saturday, August 29, with the theme “Seven Chefs, One Big Island.” The presenting chefs include both Jayson Kanekoa from the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and Hans Lentz of Hilton Waikoloa Village. They will be joined by Floyd Cardoz (White Street, New York, NY), Michael Meredith (Meredith’s Restaurant, Auckland, NZ), Paul Qui (qui, Austin, TX), Richard Rosendale (U.S. Representative Bocuse d’Or 2013), and Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger, Wellesley, MA).
“With more than half of the agricultural lands in the state on Hawai`i Island, there is a diversity of local products for our chefs to choose from,” says the Festival’s co-founder Alan Wong. “With local beef, coffee, abalone, and kampachi sourced from Hawai`i Island, we look forward to seeing some great innovation and creativity from our guest chefs.”
But it is not only the visiting Food & Wine Festival chefs who have this bounty of ingredients from which to choose, but local chefs and home cooks also. In addition to the products Chef Wong lists, farmers on Hawai`i Island grow heirloom tomatoes, several varieties of lettuce and mushrooms, strawberries, all types of root vegetables, breadfruit, many herbs and spices, macadamia nuts, and much more. Specialty products include local honey, gourmet ice cream, sea salt, and chocolate. Mangos and avocados the size of softballs grow wild and can be bought on the side of the road in some places for as little as 50 cents. The island’s cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and food products is all on display at a number of popular weekly farmers markets. For starters, Waikoloa Beach Resort guests need look no further than Kings’ Shops, where a Wednesday farmers market takes place. Up the hill in Waikoloa Village, a new Saturday market recently started; and in Waimea, a Wednesday market and two Saturday markets are popular with visitors and locals alike.