Unique local tastes and international talents will join when world renowned chefs gather in Hawaii next fall to share the tastes of Hawaii. If you can include this in your Hawaii vacation package you’re in for a real treat. The first Hawaii Food and Wine Festival will be on Oahu September 29 – October 1. If you love good food, this date should be on your calendar. The event encourages travelers to “Taste Our Love of the Land.”

The festival is chaired by two of Hawaii’s James Beard award-winning chefs: Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong. They will be joined by local and international master chefs to showcase dishes produced from Hawaii’s local produce, seafood, beef and poultry. A news release announcing the event quotes Yamaguchi as saying visitors love Hawaii’s natural beauty and aloha spirit, so “We want to be sure that Hawaii cuisine — and our philosophy for using the freshest and most prized food ingredients prepared with creative Asian and European culinary techniques – joins this list of attractions.”

Along with Yamaguchi and Wong, chef Masaharu Morimoto will participate in the festival by hosting “Streets of Asia: Morimoto and Friends,” described as interpretations of popular dishes by top chefs from Hawaii, Korea, Singapore, Canada and the United States. The two other major events are the “First Annual Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Dinner Series,” a lavish formal dinner at the Halekulani Hotel with dishes created by chefs from Hawaii, Japan, Australia and the United States, and “From Mauka to Makai: Hawaii’s Sustainable Future,” a grand tasting event prepared by 15 celebrity chefs who promote cuisine made through partnerships with local producers.

Organizers note that the launch of the festival marks the 20th anniversary of what is called the Hawaii Regional Cuisine Movement, “which encourages chefs in Hawaii to utilize local produce, meats and fish at their restaurants and to partner with farmers in the islands to raise local foods. Today, island chefs source locally-grown products like Hamakua tomatoes, Nalo greens, sea asparagus, Kahuku corn, cacao, gobo, breadfruit, hearts of palm, grass-fed beef and Kona abalone, all to create dishes evocative of Hawaii’s unique multicultural heritage.”

The festival website (hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com) does not yet have specifics (like the price), but the list of participating chefs (below) alone should convince you to book a trip to Hawaii if you enjoy fine cuisine. It is sponsored by the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, which will be one of the beneficiaries of the event, as will the Culinary, Hospitality and Tourism Department of Kapiolani Community College. It is supported by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and many other local and international sponsors.

Participating chefs:

Edward Kwon, The Spice, Seoul
Susur Lee, Lee, Toronto
Justin Quek, Sky on 57, Singapore
Douglas Rodriguez, Deseo, Scottsdale
Guy Rubino, Ame, Toronto
Vikram Garg, Halekulani, Honolulu
Hubert Keller, Fleur de Lys, San Francisco
Robin Lee, Nobu Waikiki, Honlulu
Yoshihiro Murata, Kikunoi, Kyoto
Alessandro Stratta, Stratta, Las Vegas
Tetsuya Wakuda, Tetsuya’s, Sydney
Nancy Silverton, Mozza, Los Angeles
John Besh, John Besh Restaurants, New Orleans
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Celestino Drago, Celestino Drago Restaurant Group. Los Angeles
Dean Fearing, Fearing’s, Dallas
Michael Ginor, Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Lola, New York
Ed Kenney, Town, Honolulu
George Mavrothalassitis, Chef Mavro Restaurant, Honolulu
Peter Merriman, Merriman’s, Hawaii
Rick Moonen, rm Seafood, Las Vegas
Michael Nischan, Dressing Room, Westport, Conn.
Philippe Padovani, Padovani’s Grill, Honolulu
Jeffrey Vigilla, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu
Michael Vigneron, Top Chef Bravo TV, Los Angeles
Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s Hawaii
Roy Yamaguchi, Roy’s Restaurants, Hawaii
Masaharu Morimoto, Morimoto Waikiki, Honolulu


  1. First Congratulations on your best blog award! 
    This looks like a fantastic event! I know the prickly things in the first shot are breadfruit. Starchy, kind of sweet and a native staple on the islands.
    The second picture looks like antioxidant rich fiddlehead fern tops, or warabi here in Hawaii. They kind of have a green bean taste.
    The red, spiky fruit are called rambutans. They are sweet and delicious. A perfect summertime treat! The texture is grape-like with a big seed in the middle that you can eat, but you probably won't. 
    The last one is bitter melon. I have never tried one but rumor has it that they are incredibly bitter!

  2. Thanks Marta! While I love the unique flavors of the islands, I'm even happier when someone else cooks and explains them 🙂 I appreciate your cuisine expertise!

  3. MMM I love all of those foods shown, especially the rambutan…think lychee on steroids. :). If you ever get a chance to try the Sea Asparagus definitely go for it!  It is great mixed poke style with tomatoes, onions and dried shrimp.

  4. Looks great, but the venues are missing! This is not to be confused with the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival (on Maui).  Instead, this event will be held on Oahu, at three separate hotels — at least according to a report by Pacific Business News. Cheers!

  5. True, this event is on Oahu. Although the news release didn't specify, I surmised from the event sponsors that the activities would be at different venues. Hopefully, the event website will soon have more details.

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