Food & Culture

COVID Conversations: Chris Kajioka

COVID Conversations: Chris Kajioka

Despite the various Covid related setbacks that has affected the state of Hawaii, Chef Chris Kajioka remains optimistic in the face of adversity. The week Kajioka was set to open his new restaurant, Miro Kaimuki, a state-wide order forced many businesses to close. Kajioka and his team quickly adapted to the state mandated take-out only regulations, and has, in many ways, been able to thrive.

Olive Oil: Explained

Olive Oil: Explained

As the healthiest fruit juice, olive oil is a high quality “flavor-enhancer,” which can be used on a variety of dishes. Brian Foster, co-owner of Island Olive Oil and certified olive oil sommelier, is an expert on oil from farm to table. Island Olive Oil gathers its oils from orchards in Chile, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey and other places with Mediterranean climates, where olive trees thrive. After the olive oil is pressed, it goes through two stages, sensory analysis and chemical analysis, to determine its quality.

Foie the Win!

Foie the Win!

Before caviar. Before truffles. Before lobster. There was foie gras — a lustrous delicacy most commonly associated with French cuisine. Dating back to an incredible history in Ancient Egypt, foie gras was first appreciated and practiced by the pharaohs. Fast forward through a complicated history through Europe and Jewish cuisine to 1983, to when The New York Times announced the foie gras debut in the United States, where before only cooked foie gras was sold in cans due to import laws.

Connecting Farmers and Chefs

Connecting Farmers and Chefs

HFWF celebrated Paina on the Pier for three years in support of the Festival’s goal of raising awareness about supporting local farmers, ranchers and fishermen to ensure the food security of the Islands. Nearly 85 percent of food in Hawaii is imported.

“Our goal was to connect local farmers with the different chefs and vendors who are part of the Festival,” says Les Apoliona, land asset manager at Kamehameha Schools, which, as the state’s largest private landowner, sponsors this event. “It’s about local agriculture and buying local and creating an impact.”

COVID Conversations: Chris Cosentino

COVID Conversations: Chris Cosentino

Chef Chris Cosentino is a four-year veteran of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, and co-owner of San Francisco’s Cockscomb restaurant, Jackrabbit in Portland, OR, and Acacia House at Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Napa Valley, with partner Oliver Wharton and parent company Delicious MFG & CO. He is a master in the art of hand-crafted cured meats and helps raise awareness about utilizing the entire animal. Cosentino won season four of BRAVO’s “Top Chef Masters,” earning over $140,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and is a member of Chefs Cycle, a 300-mile annual bicycle ride that raises funds and awareness in support of No Kid Hungry.

Donations Through Chocolate

Donations Through Chocolate

Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate “exists solely to give back to the nonprofit community,” said CEO Gunars Valkirs, who, in the absence of profit due to COVID-19 shutdowns, found a new way to give back. Many nonprofit organizations have lost funding due to a lack of gatherings where they could ask for donations. Noticing this, Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate created the Chocolate Laulima cooperative program to ensure that “100% of their net profit goes to the Hawaii nonprofit community.”

Watercress: Explained

Watercress: Explained

Sumida Farm, a watercress farm located in Aiea, grows foot-and-a-half long watercress which locals can taste in restaurants — and even in their own kitchen. Watercress is a versatile, nutrient-dense superfood, which can be used in many different dishes to make healthy and delicious food. Sumida Farm wants to encourage people to pick up watercress when they see it, and many people are experimenting with the unique vegetable.

COVID Conversations: Michelle Bernstein

COVID Conversations: Michelle Bernstein

Chef Michelle Bernstein is a five-year veteran of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. A Miami native of Jewish and Latin descent, she has dazzled HFWF attendees with her sublime cuisine and a personality as bright and vibrant as the Florida sun. Bernstein and her husband/business partner, David Martinez, own and operate MBC Michelle Bernstein Catering Company, a full-service catering company as well as Café La Trova in Little Havana. These days, Bernstein is busier than ever adjusting to the effects that COVID-10 has had on the restaurant industry and independent restaurants.