Maui County Agricultural Festival 2012

April 7, 2012
The Maui Tropical Plantation

I've been a follower of the Maui food movement for many years, I was a fan of Mark Ellman's first restaurant...Avalon. When I started cooking professionally, I started to use a lot of what I've learned from Maui, which is a special place for me, it's where my family is from.

The Maui Visitors Bureau invited me to be a judge at this year's Maui County Agricultural Festival, which I thank them for hosting me. I knew this would give me an opportunity to learn more from those inside of this unique food movement, that and to sample some amazing food.

I joined a diverse group of food writers at the judges' table

Let the competition begin...

Grand Taste Education

Presented by

In Partnership with

Here's how the competition worked...

A chef and a farmer (or rancher) are paired together
to create a unique dish using a main Maui ingredient.

Dishes are judged based on taste, originality and plating.

Two awards will be given:
"Judges' Choice Award"
"Fan Favorite Award"

Allez Cuisine!

Chipotle Roasted Yacon and Shrimp Salad

Chef: Jeffrey Heubschman - Whole Foods Market
Farmer: Bill and Marta Greenleaf - GreenLeaf Farm
Main Ingredient: Yacon

Shredded Cabbage and Chicken Salad

Chef: Jennifer Nguyen - A Saigon Cafe
Farmer: Jamie Shishido - J Shishido Farm
Main Ingredient: Head Cabbage

Parmigiana di Melanzane
(Eggplant Parmigiana)

Chef: Wesley Holder - Pulehu at The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort
Farmers: David Horsman and Manu Akana - Ho'opono Farms
Main Ingredient: Eggplant

Pan-Fried Smoked Salmon-'Ulu Cake
with Tapioca Tartar Sauce

Chef: Riko Bartolome - Private Chef - Kapalua
Farmer: Ian Cole - The Breadfruit Institute - Hana
Main Ingredient: Breadfruit ('ulu)

Kona Kampachi Crudo
with Hawaiian Chili Pepper Vinaigrette & Pickled Root

Chef: Joey Macadangdang - Roy's Ka'anapali Beach
Source: Pacific Ocean off the Kona Coast
Main Ingredient: Kona Kampachi

Lots of amazing dishes
and great photo ops...

Kalua Pork Laulau
with Taro Fries and Coconut Taro Sauce
sous vide Taro Stems and Cilantro Oil Drizzle

Chef: Chris Schobel - Hula Grill Ka'anapali Beach
Farmers: Kekai Keahi and Willy Wood - taro lo'i Honokohau
Main Ingredient: Taro (kalo)

Moloka'i Sweet Potato Gnocchi
with Heirloom Tomato and O'o Farm Herb

Chef: James McDonald - i'o Restaurant / pacific 'O Restaurant
Farmers: Lynn and Russell DeCoite - L&R Farm
Main Ingredient: Moloka'i Sweet Potato ('uala)

Pan Roasted Hawaiian Swordfish
with Truffled Rice, Cauliflower Puree, Beluga Lentils with Breakfast
Radish, Hearts of Palm, Kahuku Corn and Big island Hon Shimeji

Chef: Ivan Pahk - Cane and Taro
Source: Northern Pacific
Main Ingredient: Hawaiian Swordfish (A'u)

Ko Style Korean Beef Jun Sushi

Chef: Tylun Pang - Ko Restaurant at The Fairmont Kea Lani
Rancher: Alex Franco - Maui Cattle Company
Main Ingredient: Beef

Ube Macapuno Ice Cream
(Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Coconut)

Chef: Jojo Vasquez - Banyan Tree Restaurant
Farmer: Alika Atay - Maui Sweet Potato Company
Main Ingredient: Sweet Potato ('uala)

to all of the chefs / farmers / ranchers
for making a tough decision for the judges

It tasted as good as it looked

Grand Taste Education Judges*
(Left to Right) Susan Russo - San Diego, Lesa Griffith - Honolulu, Jennifer Heigl - Portland, Ayngelina Brogan - Toronto, Derek Paiva - Honolulu (hiding), Carolyn Jung - San Jose, Jay Terauchi - Los Angeles, Carol Cain - New York and Bonnie Friedman - Maui

But today isn't just about who created the best dish,
it's about learning where our food comes from
and why is it important to eat local.

This was a great opportunity to
meet and talk to Maui farmers/ranchers

Now it's the fans' turn to vote for "Fan Favorite"

Chef James McDonald (i'o Restaurant, pacific 'O Restaurant)*
working on his Moloka'i Sweet Potato Gnocchi
for the fans' tasting

Getting ready for the rush
of fans to sample their dishes

Lynn and Russell DeCoite of L and R Farm - Moloka'i Sweet Potato*
working with the i'o/pacific 'O team.

Farmers and chefs working together,
the end result is a great plate of locally grown food

With Ian Cole of The Breadfruit Institute**

The Institute manages the largest collection of breadfruit in the world, conserving over 120 varieties from throughout the Pacific. There are 280 breadfruit trees in Hana, each tree can produce up to 100 lbs. of fruit.

Is this a great food source or what?

This is the type of information that farmers need help in
educating the public. By working with chefs, great tasting,
healthy dishes can be created.

It's Awards Time!

The envelope please*

And the winner is....

(L to R) Rancher David Fitch, Chef Marc McDowell - Fan Favorite Award
Chef Sheldon Simeon, Farmer Bobby Pahia - Judges' Choice Award

Here's the winning dishes...

Taro Dumplings
"Judges' Choice Award Winner"

Chef: Sheldon Simeon - Star Noodle and Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop
Farmer: Bobby Pahia - Hoaloha Farms
Main Ingredient: Taro (kalo)

Amazing that Chef Sheldon used the
main ingredient in 3 different ways...

Porchetta Mini Slider
with Frisee, Favas, and Fingerlings
"Fan Favorite Award Winner"

Chef: Marc McDowell - Makena Beach & Golf Resort
Rancher: David Fitch - Malama Farm
Main Ingredient: Pork

The judges and fans were both on the same page,
the Top 4 in each category was the same,
just in a different order.

The REAL Winners today,

were the ones who came to learn about the food grown on Maui,
to find out what it tastes like and why it's important.

A HAPA Concert
closed out the festival

I got to participate with 7,000+ people interested in food,
reconnected with chef friends, talked to farmers, had some great food,
met some new friends
saw HAPA Live!

I'd say it was a Great Day!

Here's what some of my colleagues wrote about the #AgFest2012:

Other Links:

All participating chefs, farmers, and ranchers
All of the many volunteers

NOTE: I was a guest of the Maui Visitors Bureau and their partners.
I thank them for the invitation and hospitality.
All comments and opinions are strictly my own.

Photos by Jay Terauchi
*Photos by Aimee Paradise
**Photo by Sugar + Shake
Jay Eats
©Jay Terauchi


Ayngelina said…
What a fun day, let's do it again!
QtheChef said…
This looks like an amazing time! Love the shirts too!

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