It’s been three weeks since the conclusion of the 2014 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival and its finale, It’s A Food World After All. And that’s about how long it took me to recover from it all. At the festival’s final signature event, sixteen master chefs took Hawaii residents on a culinary journey, with the stunning Ko Olina beach and a gorgeous full moon as it’s backdrop.
James Beard Award-winning chefs, and two of the most recognizable master chefs in Hawaii, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, co-chaired the fourth annual event, which featured an impressive lineup of internationally renown chefs and culinary personalities. Featured Chefs Included:
Kevin Chong – ʻAma ʻAma at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Oʻahu
Josiah Citrin – Mélisse, Santa Monica, California
Cat Cora – Iron Chef America
Stephen Durfee – Culinary Institute of America, St. Helena, California
Dean Fearing – Fearing’s, Dallas
Jason Fox – Commonwealth, San Francisco
Jason Kina – JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Oʻahu
Raphael Lunetta – JiRaffe Restaurant, Santa Monica, California
Mark “Gooch” Noguchi – LUNCHBOX, Honolulu
Art Smith – Table 52, Chicago
Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim, California
Vivian Wu – Alan Wong’s, Honolulu
Sang Yoon – Lukshon, Los Angeles
Toshihiko Yoroizuka – Toshi Yoroizuka, Tokyo
Eric Ziebold – CityZen, Washington D.C.
The evening started with eager and curious foodies queuing up in front of the lagoon fronting the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. VIP ticket holders were fortunate to have a 5pm head start, while everyone else had to wait until 6pm. Once the gates opened, we were each given a wine glass and a sturdy wooden fork. From there, it was a foodie free for all. Guests were allowed to visit each celebrity food tent at their leisure, and enjoy the numerous food and wine options.
We devised a system to cut down on line waiting time. We each stood in separate lines and then would take two plates, and then we would trade. This was a great way to taste all of the dishes without having to waste too much time standing in line. There was a lot of good food to be tasted, and by then end, we were extremely full and unbelievably satisfied.
The evening also featured wonderful entertainment, including the music of Hapa’s Barry Flanagan, and the excellent Streetlight Cadence. One of the highlights of the evening for me was getting to see Both Chef Yamaguchi and Chef Wong goofing around near the stage while Streetlight Cadence was playing in the background. They were waiting to give their big speech of the evening. Of course, Streetlight Cadence continued playing after a rousing roar of hana hou filled the beach. Chef Wong was sitting on the stage ramp, chef pants rolled up and Bud Light in his hand. Chef Yamaguchi sat just next to him reviewing his thank you notes. Chef Yamaguchi looked serious and focused. Chef Wong was full of cheer. A photographer asked for them to pose for a photo when Chef Wong quickly leaned over to grab Chef Roy’s head, and then he planted long kiss on the tip of his forehead. Chef Wong was giggling like a little kid the entire time.
The event ended with Chef Yamaguchi and Chef Wong on stage with the full lineup of featured master chefs. It was a bit surreal when the fireworks went off. The 20-minute fireworks show was a spectacular way to end the evening. Our tummy’s were full and our taste bud’s were inspired.
Mahalo to Ko Olina Resorts for the pair of tickets to It’s A Food World After All (and thank you for holding a contest so that we could win them). We thoroughly enjoyed our first Hawaii Food & Wine Festival signature event. We can’t wait for 2015 festivities!