It’s known as the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific, an annual festival co-founded by Chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong.
The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival started with an event on Maui last weekend and has been going on all week long, with wine tastings, cooking demos, and field trips.
They’re some of the biggest names in food world.
19 celebrity chefs from Hawaii, the mainland, and around the globe are here in Hawaii to create gastronomic delights showcasing local ingredients.
“Lobsters from the Big Island, tomatoes from here, all my herbs are from the island,” Chef Chris Cosentino Said.
“The true essence of what we do is to cook with what we have, and that’s what cooking is about,” says Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi.
“Mr. Kenney cooked this amazing sandwich with nori and poi. It was just amazing, and tasted like a desert and savory, just delicious,” attendee Sherrie Straus Fogel said.
At $200 a ticket, folks could eat to their hearts content, sampling not only food but also wine.
When Daniel Anthony first tried selling fresh, traditionally prepared paiai two years ago, he found out that pounding the taro was the easy part.
It was much more difficult to sell it.
Anthony said that before the Department of Health shut down his small business, he was pounding and selling almost 10,000 pounds of taro a year, with another 15,000 a year used in his educational workshops. Now he can’t sell any of it.
“The (Department of Health) told me I couldn’t sell poi off the board,” Anthony said. “It’s not poi, though. It’s paiai.”
Paiai — young, unfermented and undiluted taro ground with a traditional lava rock and wooden board — first came under scrutiny by the Hawaii Department of Health in late 2009 when Anthony was cited for using traditional porous implements that could not be completely sanitized.
But a pair of proposals now before the state Legislature could make Hawaii’s food code compatible with this traditional Hawaiian food preparation practice. The bills would create an exemption for cultural practitioners like Anthony to sell their paiai, provided they sell directly to consumers, attend a food safety class, maintain hand-washing facilities and label their products as traditionally made.
» Where: Haleiwa Farmers Market, at Kamehameha Highway and Leong Bypass near Haleiwa Beach Park
» When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
» Call: 388-9696 or e-mail HaleiwaFarmersMarket@gmail.com
Recipe contest (call or e-mail for details), poi-pounding demonstration, talk story with North Shore kupuna, taro farm tours, dishes by Hawaii chefs, makahiki activities and entertainment. Plus, taro submissions to break the Guinness world record (call or e-mail for details).”
In a Hawaiian genesis story, a stillborn baby’s grave site grows the first taro plant, which feeds his younger brother, the first Hawaiian. The tale is at the root of the culture’s reverence for taro, called kalo in Hawaiian.
“Poi and family are one and the same,” says Aunty Betty Jenkins, a North Shore kupuna who is one of the guiding forces behind Haleiwa Farmers Market’s taro festival on Sunday. “Kalo connects us to all Hawaiians, to all of our neighborhood, to all community. It’s very spiritual.”
A new generation is now standing alongside elders like Jenkins to perpetuate taro’s cultural relevance. For Daniel Anthony of the organization Mana Ai, that effort centers on eating. “First and foremost, Mana Ai promotes the eating of taro in any way, shape or form,”