Foodie Fest

September 5, 2014 | By Nadine Kam

Celebrate food, wine and the culinary arts with top chefs from Hawai‘i and around the world at this world-class food and wine festival.

In just four years, the annual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival has earned a coveted spot on globe trekkers’ calendar of culinary destinations.

The event welcomes foodies to taste palate-pleasing dishes and libations created by a “who’s who” of over 80 Hawai‘i-based and internationally acclaimed chefs, master sommeliers, mixologists and winemakers from Hawai‘i, the U.S. mainland, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Australia.

New chefs this year include Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s (Miami), Cat Cora (“Iron Chef America”), Tom Douglas of Tom Douglas Restaurants (Seattle), Jose Garces of Garces Group (Philadelphia) and Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant (Portland).

Returning celebrity chefs include “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto of Morimoto, Nobu Matsuhisa of Nobu, Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger (Wellesley, Massachusetts), Charles Phan of The Slanted Door (San Francisco), Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys (San Francisco), Nancy Silverton of Mozza (Los Angeles), Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar (New York), Celestino Drago of Drago Restaurant Group (Los Angeles), Floyd Cardoz (New York), Art Smith of Table 52 (Chicago) and more.

This year, the event started by two of Hawai‘i’s James Beard award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, will take place August 29 through September 7, with various signature evening events and daytime culinary adventures.

The festival, born on O‘ahu, will also offer events on Maui and Hawai‘i Island.

HFWF started with a cause. Both Yamaguchi and Wong have been long-time supporters of Hawai‘i agriculture, sustainability and cultivation of the next generation of island chefs. In two years, the chefs have raised over $700,000 for such educationand agriculture-oriented organizations as Kapi‘olani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific, the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation, Leeward Community College Culinary Program, Paepae o He‘eia, Papahana Kualoa, Hawaii Seafood Council, Maui Culinary Academy and Maui County Farm Bureau.

Wong said the festival was intended to put the spotlight on Hawai‘i, bringing in international media to focus on farmers and “get people thinking and talking about Hawai‘i,” and most importantly, “to make the kind of sustainable decisions today so our grandchildren’s children can also enjoy the pleasures we enjoy today.”

Beyond culinary events, HFWF’s mission is to familiarize visiting celebrity chefs with island ingredients through tours of local farms, which they then put to practical use. Among festival highlights this year is a September 5 “Laulima” lunch at a He‘eia, the site of a historic fishpond and lo‘i (taro field) on O‘ahu’s Windward coast, where participants learn to keep the sustainable culinary practices of ancient Hawaiians alive in the field and on the table.

“Our participants are required to use local ingredients found here in the Hawaiian Islands in the creation of their dishes,” Yamaguchi said. “It’s a key element that sets our event apart from others across the country.”

Tickets are available at


Sept. 4 “A Lucky MODERN Buddha Belly”: Savor East meets West dishes prepared by 14 national and international chefs from Asia and the Pacific, led by “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto, 6 p.m. at The Modern Honolulu. Tickets start at $200 per person.

Sept. 5 “Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Series: Chefs Who Cook to Compete hosted by Adam Richman“: This lavish and exclusive six-course meal with wine pairings starts at 6 p.m. in the Halekulani Ballroom. Tickets start at $1,000 per person with reserved seating.

Sept. 6 “Hawaiian Airlines Presents Corks & Forks”: This event features 20 world-renown celebrity chefs and 20 of the Napa Valley’s greatest wine estates. This event also pays tribute to island abundance, featuring the freshest local ingredients available in Hawai‘i. The event is at the Rooftop Garden at Hawai‘i Convention Center, entry starts at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $225 per person.

Sept. 7 “Battle of the Brunch Showdown hosted by Adam Richman”: Enjoy Sunday brunch with a battle of the chef duos—three female master chefs get paired with three male counterparts to present creative and tasty brunch dishes. Guests will be asked to judge and determine the winning duo. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at SHOR at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. Tickets start at $95 per person.