HAWAI`I FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL Saturday, October 6 at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Have you ever fantasized about spending a summer in the rolling hills of Tuscany, grazing on panzanella and panino co i’ lampredotto and sipping some Brunello di Montalcino? This year, the Hawai`i Food & Wine Festival transports you to central Italy at Under the Tuscan Sun, unfolding October 6 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The lineup of six star chefs includes Alessandro “Alex” Stratta, whose Las Vegas restaurant Alex earned two Michelin stars. Last year he become culinary director at Match in Phoenix’s FOUND:Re Hotel. We asked him a few questions about his upcoming appearance.
This will be your third time at the HFWF — you’ve participated in events on O`ahu and Maui, and now the Island of Hawai`i. What are you looking forward to?
Alessandro Stratta: I love Hawai`i; the people, culture, landscape, and food! I look forward to seeing my friends Roy [Yamaguchi], Alan [Wong], and many other chefs I’ve known for decades now.
Your father is Italian and your mother French, and you have been critically acclaimed for restaurants serving both cuisines. Do you have a preference for one over the other?
I love them both equally, but for different reasons. Italian cuisine for its reverence for ingredients and regional traditions. French cuisine for its rigorous attention to detail and uncompromising technique and discipline. What to you are the hallmarks of Tuscan cuisine? Like all Italian regions, Tuscany stays very close to its history and tradition. Tuscany has wonderful wines, beautiful vegetables, and the world’s finest olive oil.
Do you have a favorite Tuscan dish?
Yes, tripa a la Fiorentina — Florence-style tripe. I love the depth, simplicity, and uniqueness of the dish as much as the pride restaurants take in always striving to be “the best in town.”
Do you know what you’ll cook at HFWF this year?
I’m going to cook porchetta (roasted pork belly), which is another Tuscan favorite. As the son of a hotelier, you grew up around the world.
What was your favorite food as a 15 year old, and what is your favorite food now?
I loved ceviche and now I love any kind of sushi, poke, or sashimi! I guess I love fresh, light and delicate foods.
What sets HFWF apart from other food festivals?
What sets it apart is the genuine hospitality of not only our hosts, but all the people I come in contact with. You can feel the Aloha love!
INTRIGUED BY UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN?
Tickets are on sale now. For more information and to purchase tickets: https://HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.com/events/under-the-tuscan-sun