Party pics: Le Diner en Blanc

The international dining experience, Le Diner en Blanc, took place Saturday night for the first time in Hawaii. Equal parts pop-up and flash mob, guests are brought to an undisclosed location with instructions to bring, a table, chairs, table settings, and to dress all in white.

For the inaugural event, hosts Maleko McDonnell, Aubrey Akana and Malie Moran brought bus loads of people decked out in their best white outfits to dine on the grounds of the historic Iolani palace.

Le Diner en Blanc

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Did this: 2014 Mangoes at the Moana

Summer brings mango season, which means it’s time for the annual Mangoes at the Moana. Chefs from the Moana Surfrider, Sheraton Waikiki, MW, Town, Koko Head Cafe and more were on hand with mango-themed dishes to celebrate the popular tropical fruit.

Here’s a look:

Mangoes at the Moana 2014

Chef Dave Caldiero of Town Restaurant with his Mexican Street Cones.

Photo by Ed Morita

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Summer foodie films

Summer is usually the time for big action blockbusters. However, three foodie films will be making their way into this year’s mix. One mainstream foodie film is a rarity, so having three will be a treat that should not be missed.

It’s time for the chefs of summer!


Film Summer PreviewNot a stranger to action blockbusters, Jon Favreau decided to open this summer with his film “Chef.” Making its premiere last month, Favreau wrote, directed and stared in the film playing chef Casey Casper.

Stuck in a creatively stifling job, Casper leaves the stability of the restaurant after an altercation with a food reviewer goes viral on the Internet. No doubt, many in the food industry will cheer for his tirade against snarky reviews that go for cheep laughs at the chef’s and restaurant’s expense instead of offering useful commentary on the quality of service and food.

chef 3The unexpected fame or infamy Casper receives as a result of his public blow-up gains him popularity on social media, which aids him on a cross-country road trip in his new food truck with his son, and loyal sous chef played by John Leguizamo.

There’s a lot of industry humor throughout the film. I instantly knew that I was the only cook in the audience when I was the only one laughing at certain visual cues. You’ll never look at cornstarch the same way again.

I also loved the subtle touches that only those who have worked in a kitchen would notice, like a copy of “The Chef’s Companion” on Casper’s desk or the burn scars on his arm from years of working in the kitchen.

“Chef” is currently playing at several theaters in Honolulu, and should not be missed, foodie or otherwise.

“Le Chef”

le chefMaking its official United States debut later this month on June 20 is “Le Chef.”

Jean Reno (“The Professional” and 1998′s “Godzilla”) is chef Alexandre Lagarde, whose restaurant’s new CEO attempts to sabotage his Michelin rating so that he can be replaced with a younger chef.

Assuming that “Le Chef” makes it to Hawaii theaters, and why wouldn’t it given the large foodie population here, this will be the second time the film has screened in the islands. It has already been screened at the Doris Duke Theatre after its original French release in 2012. It’s not to be missed.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey”

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEYOpening August 8 is “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” staring Helen Mirren as Madam Mallory, whose life is disrupted when an Indian family opens a restaurant across the street from her Michelin-rated eatery.

From the moment in the trailer when the young Indian chef, Hassan Haji (played by Manish Dayal) asked to make Mirren’s character a omelet, I knew I had to see this film.

The clash of classic French and Indian cuisines mirrors the conflict between Mirren and Haji’s father. While blending the two cuisines together, Haji serves as a bridge between his father and his would-be mentor.

iichiko tasting @ ARTafterDARK

Just before Friday’s Japanese art-themed ARTafterDark, iichiko debuted its new line of shochu at an invitation-only preview — yuzu- and ume-flavored shochu, Blu (exclusive to Hawaii) and the higher-end Frasco. Fruity cocktail drinkers will love the yuzu and ume “Bar Fruits.” Both feature terrific fruit flavor without being overly sweet. Just on the rocks, most tasters preferred yuzu. It will be interesting to see what local mixologists concoct when both become available in July.

Also due out, though not for purchase until next year, are Blu and Frasco shochu. Both feature high alcohol content at 30 percent, with widely different uses. Created specifically for the Hawaii palate, Blu has a ginjo sake aroma, with a very similar taste to a premium vodka. If Blu was created for cocktail drinkers, then Frasco is for shochu purists. And in my opinion, it’s the one that’s worth the wait.

iichiko tasting

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Hawaii Food and Wine heads to the Target Isle

Photo by Ed Moritaedmorita@me.comAfter last year’s successful inaugural event on the island of Maui, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival will add a one-of-a-kind event to the 2014 lineup.

In addition to events on Maui and Hawaii Island, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival has partnered with the Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources to hold an event on the island of Kaho‘olawe.

The $10,000 per-person benefit event will feature an exemplar group of guest chefs that will be announced later this month, with proceeds going to help removing unexploded ordinance from the former military training grounds and bombing range.

Photo6.sailors-hatHarkening back to Kaho‘olawe’s ranching history, the festival will stretch its commitment to using locally grown products by bringing cattle to the island for the first time since Angus MacPhee did it in 1941.

kahoolawe-isignA secure area that has been cleared of military ordinance has been set up for the cattle to graze. Robert Ferreira of the Maui-based Kaupo Ranch will be one of the people staying on the island to oversee the small herd of cattle that will eventually feed the guests in September.

During a phone interview to discuss this ongoing project, Ferreira joked that he hopes one of the cattle don’t stumble across a missed piece of ordinance to create a new way of making hamburger.

No expense will be spared for this event, which is why it features such a high ticket price. Just before the event, an FDA inspector will be brought to the island to oversee the slaughter and butchering of the cattle, which will be stored at a facility in Hakioawa on the northeastern end of the island—facing Maui.

kahoolawe-and-molokini-from-upcountry-maui-nature-photographerEverything else, including cooking equipment, ingredients, tables, chairs, etc. must be brought to the island from Maui.

Guests will be ferried from Maui and will have the option to participate in ordinance clean up and will be able to camp out on the island over night if they wish.

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival event organizers have yet to make an official comment about this historic dining event because there will be no dinner held on Kaho‘olawe in September.

Happy April Fools Day!!!

Although this event is a hoax, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival has a remarkable week of events planned for September. You can keep up to date on event information and the attending chefs at