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

    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.


  2. 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!


  3. 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)


  4. 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 🙂


  5. 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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