Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

When I first saw my itinerary for the Oahu Visitor’s Bureau press trip, one of the events that immediately caught my eye was the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival. The four-day festival features more than 50 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities and wine and spirit producers and members from our press group attended the festival on Saturay night.

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Saturday night’s festival featured 22 celebrity chefs, with many promoting “farm to table” sustainable sourcing and cooking practices.

Some notable chefs who were at the event include Todd English, Jonathan Waxman, Susan Feniger and Lee Ann Wong.

Here’s a little snapshot of Todd English doing his thing.

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Clearly I’m not above creepy paparazzi-style photography.

There was one chef I was particularly interested in meeting and awkwardly approached him after lots of encouragement from our little group.

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Robert Irvine!!!

Ryan and I love his show Restaurant Impossible and were so excited to chat with him. He could not have been more gracious, kind and personable. He was easy to talk to and didn’t seem to mind talking with any fan who came by and requested a picture or handshake. I asked him about his crazy schedule and he said he’s on the road 330+ days a year. Talk about a busy guy! He seemed excited that his beautiful wife Gail was able to join him on Saturday night.

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He’s so hunky. Smile

Robert Irvine’s dish of the evening was a yummy burger made with wild boar.

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The emcee for the night was Adam Richman from Man v. Food and while we didn’t get a chance to chat with him for more than 20 seconds, it was neat to see him in person.

Now that I’m just about done freaking out over celebrity chef sightings, let’s talk about the food and drinks shall we?

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I ate so many fantastic dishes, but one of my favorites of the evening featured burrata, the cheese I tried for the first time at Fleming’s last month that knocked my socks off.

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This dish was made by Chefs Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina and I couldn’t stop talking about it.

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The combination of the creamy cheese with the olive oil and crispy bread was perfection on a plate.

My two other favorite dishes were desserts.

Chef Toshihiko Yoroizuka’s coconut pound cake was topped with the most fantastic Hawaiian salt ice cream and served with fresh pineapple and macadamia nuts.

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The different textures and flavors on this plate complemented each other and made this one of the best dishes of the evening.

I also loved Lappert’s ice cream sandwiches.

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I forgot to snap a close up, but here’s Ryan with his sample of their ice cream sandwiches:

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There was a banana macadamia nut ice cream sandwich that was irresistible. YUM.

The drinks at the event were quite plentiful and fun.

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Here’s the recipe for the Nola Mule that I thought was refreshing:  hawaii food and wine festival 021

If you like ginger beer and lime juice, this drink might be a winner for you, too!

Another drink I liked a lot from the evening was a grapefruit cocktail created by Julie Reiner, dubbed one of the world’s best bartenders.

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The event felt like so much more than a place to eat fantastic food. While I’ve been to food tasting events before, they’ve always highlighted restaurants and I really liked how the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival highlighted the chefs behind the dishes. The food was creative, fun and obviously mouthwatering!

Question of the Day

  • If you could meet one celebrity chef, who would you want to meet?


  1. says

    I would have a hard time saying something to Robert Irvine. I have this thing where I can’t talk to good looking guys. Even if they are old enough to be my parents’ younger sibling. LOL That’s so cool that you guys met him and Gail, though! We watched their wedding when it aired on Food Network last month. Beautiful!


  2. says

    That is awesome you got to meet Robert Irvine, but I’m more excited to know where you got the dress. A lady on TV this weekend had a dress just like that but yellow and I have been looking all over the internet for it. I would be a prefect rehearsal dress for my upcoming wedding!! 🙂


  3. says

    I wish I had a TV so I was better acquainted with celebrity chefs! I think I’d have to go with the chef at my favorite restaurant in Providence (even though he’s not a celebrity) because I’m desperate to know what goes into his beets & frites appetizer that makes french fries and beets taste SO GOOD together.


  4. says

    You are so lucky!! Robert Irvine would be the first celebrity chef who I’d want to meet! His show is awesome…he’s pretty badass, although he seems like he genuinely cares about helping struggling restaurant owners. I can’t imagine how fun this event was for you and Ryan!


  5. says

    What a cool event! I would LOVE to attend something like that. If I could meet any Chef, it would probably be Rachael Ray (who doesn’t consider herself one anyway because I don’t think she’s professionally trained). BUT she is the person who really got me out of my comfort zone and feeling comfortable cooking in the kitchen and trying new things.


  6. says

    OMG! How fun! My #1 would be Bobby Flay. I love his flavorful, down home style and his way of encouraging healthy options without limiting yourself. And he’s a runner! I would also love to shake hands with Jamie Oliver, Ina Garten, Anthony Bourdain, and Giada DeLaurentis.


  7. Jen says

    OMG you are one lucky lady!! Not only did you get to eat incredible food at a beautiful venue with a handsome date but you got to meet Robert Irvine AND Adam Richman?!? Im monster smoothie green with jealousy!!


  8. says

    The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival sounds amazing! I’m glad to hear Robert Ivrine is nice! I bought my husband and I tickets to see his live show next weekend for a wedding gift for my hubby. He absolutely loves him! We are looking forward to meeting him 🙂


  9. says

    He is VERY hunky and HOLY ARMS! J and I love him and his show as well. We also loved him on Worst Cooks in America.
    My favorite celebrity chef is Geoffery Zakarian. He is a new Iron Chef and a judge on chopped! Or Michael Symon. He’s delicious.


  10. SkinnyRunner says

    im not a foodie and surprised i know most of the names you mentioned, guess im just a celeb stalker…

    cute dress btw, LOVE the lace.


  11. HilJo says

    wow that is so awesome you got to meet Robert Irvine!! How cool 🙂 And needless to say, that food looks DELICIOUS. In fact your whole trip looks freaking awesome.


  12. Nikaley Anne says

    I would want to meet Giada. My Husbands family are amazing cooks, and they actually inspired me to look beyond spaghetti and tacos as elegant meals, and how many options there are to make amazing food. They also introduced me into Food Network and Giada De Laurentis is definitely my favorite!!!


  13. says

    That looks like an AMAZING time!! I went to a food festival in Boston, although not nearly as awesome as yours, with local chefs/restaurant owners. I had a blast trying all the dishes and it gave me tons of ideas for my own meals at home! Looks like you had a blast 🙂


  14. says

    That’s so cool that you met Robert Irvine! He’s definitely the celebrity chef that I would want to meet, too, because I love Restaurant Impossible. I like how he turns around the restaurants and doesn’t sugar-coat his advice to the owners. I’m totally jealous of your trip 🙂


  15. says

    Gordon Ramsay is one celeb chef I’d love to meet. Robert Irvine is definitely another. But I think that Cat Cora and Nigella Lawson would be my top two … Especially Nigella, I’d love to hear about how she manages to critique dishes that are exquisite and be able to discern the intricacies.


  16. Kristy says

    You are one lucky girl!! 🙂 I am a fan of Food Network and I would love to meet Rachael Ray and Giada De Laurentiis. I have been wanting to ask…how do you curl your hair? It is always adorable!


  17. says

    I’m jealous that you met Robert Irvine! I’m glad he is a nice guy in real life, he seems like a fun guy on his show 🙂
    Did you plan your trip around the food fest :)? (its ok if you did because with all of those amazing people there, I would too)


  18. says

    If you’re ever in LA you HAVE to go to Mozza!! If you loved Nancy & Matt’s dish you would be in heaven there…the food is really stellar.

    p.s. I love Robert Irvine too – he’s outrageous but seems so good-hearted 🙂


  19. says

    I just came across your blog… How exciting that you got to go to the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival! I think the coconut pound cake looked delicious! Hope you can stop by my blog too- I’m a foodie and fitness fanatic as well.



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