5 questions with Art Smith

art smithAs an official media partner of this year’s Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival, we’ll be interviewing several of the noteworthy chefs who be attending this year’s event, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 7.

Chef Art Smith will be returning to the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival and cook at two events — HMAA Presents Keiki in the Kitchen: Food, Fitness & Fun! on Saturday, Sept. 6 and It’s a Food World After All on Sunday, Sept. 7.

Smith is executive chef and co-owner of restaurants that span the country, including Table fifty-two in Chicago; Art and Soul in Washington D.C.; Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Atlanta; Joanne Trattoria in New York; and LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto, Calif. He was Oprah’s personal chef for adecade and has earned the James Beard Foundation’s coveted Humanitarian of the Year award. Now Smith does special appearances and events around the world in an effort to bring people together over food.

We’re excited to have you back at the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival. What gets you excited to be cooking for an entirely different and new set of people each year?

4M0E8139rtHi_resHow could anybody not be excited about cooking on your beautiful island and that amazing aloha spirit? Its fun to cook for nice people.

You’re one of the most decorated chefs ever. What is rewarding about the work you do, and what do you enjoy about the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival?

It makes me happy that I make others happy. Every chef wants people to love his food regardless of awards. The festival is small, but big, on great chefs from across the Pacific Rim and the Mainland. Who doesn’t like being around such greatness? Also, my friendship with Chef Alan Wong goes back over 30 years at the world famous Greenbrier. His stories of his love of the islands made me excited all those years ago. After competing on the first “Top Chef Masters,” when Chef Roy Yamaguchi gave me a chicken, I fell in love with this very kind, sweet man. Both of them have worked hard to make this festival best in the world.

4M0E8235BrtHi_resWhat Hawaii foods do you miss while you’re away?

I love and adore ahi tuna prepared any way. I also love poke and prefer it grilled or made into sushi. The ramen is probably the best in the world. Liliha Bakery’s Coco Puffs take me to another world. Delicious! And who doesn’t love the old diner atmosphere?

What’s on your Hawaii bucket list?

Another tour of the island, including a hop over to Maui. And make sure there are lots of plate lunches.

What do you like to eat while you’re here in Hawaii?

Dinner at Alan Wong’s Restaurant guarantees lots of delicious flavors, multiple courses, and his breads and desserts are the best. I love and adore Roy’s in Waikiki, and I also look forward to a great ramen place because I can never get enough of it. I want to check out Hank’s Haute Dogs. It has Chicago roots and from what I’ve heard, their hot dogs are nothing like anyone else’s in the world.

HFWF14-Keiki-HMAA-WebsiteHMAA Presents Keiki in the Kitchen: Food, Fitness & Fun! Saturday, September 6, 2014. Honolulu Zoo. $5 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Buy tickets

This family culinary outing features celebrity chefs cooking healthy, yet nutritious dishes, food trucks by Street Grindz, fitness and friendly physical challenges and a farmers market.

HFWF14-Food-World-hires_0It’s a Food World After All Sunday, September 7, 2014. Ko Olina Resort with Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, and JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. VIP $500 | General $200. VIP Early Entry & Reserved Seating at 5:00 p.m. | General Entry at 6:00 p.m. Buy tickets

Fifteen celebrity chefs will prepare a feast under the stars at the lagoon fronting Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa and JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa.

Q&As with other Hawaii Food and Wine Festival chefs
5 questions with Adam Richman
5 questions with Jose Garces
5 questions with Christina Tosi
5 questions with Masaharu Morimoto
5 questions with Marcel Vigneron
5 questions with Ming Tsai

5 questions with Adam Richman

Photo courtesy of the Travel Channel

Photo courtesy of the Travel Channel

As an official media partner of this year’s Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival, we’ll be interviewing several of the noteworthy chefs who be attending this year’s event, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 7.

Adam Richman will be returning to the Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival to emcee two events — the Halekulani Master Chefs Gala and Battle of the Brunch Showdown on Sunday, Sept. 7.

The popular TV host and author — a Brooklyn native who holds a master’s degree in drama from Yale — is perhaps best known for his outrageous food challenges on the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food.” He has since retired from eating challenges and just launched on NBC his latest reality show, “Food Fighters,” where amateur cooks test their skills against professional chefs.

Having visited Hawaii many times, Richman has become well acquainted with the local food scene. Let’s just say he’s a big fan of all things Hawaii, even beyond the food.

Any Hawaii foods you’re currently craving?

I could probably go on and on just answering this question!

Photo courtesy of Travel Channel

Photo courtesy of Travel Channel

Squid luau, lau lau, pipikaula with poi, alae salt, chili pepper water and onion from Helena’s.
Opakapaka, kalbi and pork chops from Side Street Inn
Malasadas from Leonard’s
Pa’i’ai from Town
French dip banh mi from Pig & The Lady
Lemon crunch cake and tasty chicken from Aiea Bowl
Pineapple shave ice from Alan Wong
And butter mochi from anywhere!

Where are your favorite late-night stops in Hawaii?

I really enjoy Side Street Inn, Uncle Bo’s, Aloha Lounge, 8 Fat Fat 8, M Nightclub and Club Evergreen.

You’ve had a few food adventures here? Which one was the most memorable?

ingredients-hawaii-screening-27I started in Waikiki, and in one morning and afternoon drive, I drank from a roadside coconut, had garlic shrimp from Giovanni’s, poke from Kahuku Superette, pie from Ted’s Bakery and shave ice from the late, great Aoki’s in Haleiwa.

And the worst?

Roy Yamaguchi, Ed Kenney, Alan Wong, Hiroshi Fukui and Dean Okimoto were gracious enough to help me do research for a chapter of my third book and try a gazillion different plate lunches on the North Shore. We were agonizingly full and uncomfortable, but it was yummy at first. I think it was the peanut butter rolls from Papa Ole that filled us up.

What keeps bringing you back?

Hawaii is magic. It is my favorite place on earth. It’s beautiful, exotic and a magnificent blend of cultures. The weather is magnificent. The air smells of salt, grass and jasmine. Accents are music; people are beautiful; people call you cousin, uncle and auntie. The food is great, the sunsets are heartbreakingly beautiful. It’s the warm, raw, happy, Polynesian edge of civilization and piece of heaven on earth.

HFWF14-Gala-SeriesFourth annual Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Series: Chefs Who Cook to Compete Friday, September 5, 2014. Halekulani Hotel, $1,000. Cocktail reception at 5 p.m. Dinner at 6 p.m. Buy tickets

Some of the most competitive chefs in the world will plate up a lavish six-course dining experience. The gala will be an evening of elegant fine dining and extraordinary wine pairings.

HFWF14-Battle-Brunch+adam-websiteBattle of the Brunch Showdown hosted by Adam Richman Sunday, September 7, 2014. SHOR at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. VIP Pool Party $1,200 | General $95. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Buy tickets

Hosted by Adam Richman, this Sunday brunch features a battle of the chef duos, as three female master chefs get paired with three of their male counterparts to cook up tasty breakfast and lunch dishes. Guests will determine the winning duo.

Q&As with other Hawaii Food and Wine Festival chefs
5 questions with Jose Garces
5 questions with Christina Tosi
5 questions with Masaharu Morimoto
5 questions with Marcel Vigneron
5 questions with Ming Tsai

Coming soon: Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchens

Rainbow Drive In co-owner Jim Gusukuma Photo courtesy of Catherine Toth

Rainbow Drive-In co-owner Jim Gusukuma
Photo courtesy of Catherine Toth

The iconic Rainbow Drive-In plans to launch a new venture in mid-September, called Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchens, in a space next door to its current Kapahulu digs.

The legendary drive in’s co-owner, Jim Gusukuma, is bringing together chef Hiroshi Fukui, Elmer Guzman’s Poke Stop, KC Drive Inn, Hoku BBQ Chicken and Hawaii Nostalgia Studio to create a collaborative, one-stop eatery featuring some of Hawaii’s favorite local foods, along with a shop specializing in nostalgic gear and foods (t-shirts, sauces, cookies and more). Hawaii Nostalgia Studio has been printing Rainbow Drive-In shirts for years, along with gear that goes back to the ’50s and ’60s.

Photo courtesy of Poke Stop

Photo courtesy of Poke Stop

“The menu will be small to start with,” Gusukuma says. “We had to compromise and offer a menu with items that don’t interfere with each other.”

Rainbow Drive-In will be offering its famous plate lunches, while Poke Stop’s Guzman (who now operates shops in Waipahu and Mililani) will be selling his signature poke.

“Our locations are all on the Westside; this will be the first time we are bringing a taste of Poke Stop to town,” Guzman says. “They’re giving me a four-foot case to fill. I’ll be making 15 to 20 types of poke, including the classics, spicy ahi and furikake salmon. But we’ll also be working on new recipes and bestsellers from the current locations like hamachi, ahi blood and California poke.”

In addition to poke bowls, Guzman will be preparing Kauai, head-on, North Shore-style garlic shrimp plates.

Photo courtesy of KC Waffle Dog

Photo courtesy of KC Waffle Dog

KC Drive Inn hasn’t finalized its menu, but owner Dayton Asato says the goal is to bring back favorites from the beloved KC Drive Inn, including KC waffle dogs, Ono Ono Shakes, orange and root beer freezes and frosted coffee.

To round out the offerings, Hoku BBQ Chicken will be selling half huli-huli chicken plates, along with half and whole birds. The chicken will be barbequed in the lot at the business.

Although Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchens will be a take-out-focused operation, some seating will be available. It’s slated to launch Sept. 15, so get ready for this local-style, one-stop-eating destination of the future.

Dumpling making from ‘All Day Wong’


IMG_20140814_194129I’ve been a fan of Lee Anne Wong ever since she emerged on season 1 of “Top Chef,” so when Koko Head Cafe’s star chef sent me a copy of her new cookbook, “Dumplings All Day Wong,” I decided to host of dumpling-making party to put her recipes to test.

I knew dumpling-making wasn’t a one-man job, and that I would need some extra hands and mouths, so I posted an informal invite on Facebook and Instagram, and nine friends came over to my house for an afternoon of prepping, wrapping, cooking and eating dumplings prepared from Wong’s recipes.

We picked three recipes — ginger crab rangoon dumplings; brussels sprouts and bacon dumplings; and pork and shrimp shu mai. Here’s a look at our attempts to recreate Wong’s signature dumplings:

Ginger crab rangoon dumplings

I don't have a ton of prep space in my house, so we huddled around the kitchen table to do prep while we used the kitchen to cook.

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Brussels sprout and bacon dumplings

The bacon and brussels sprouts recipe caught my eye for the unusual ingredients that aren't normally found in dumplings and the copious use of strong flavors like fish sauce, balsamic vinegar and bacon fat.

When Makamae heard bacon needed to be cooked, she excitedly volunteered.

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Pork and shrimp shu mai

We wanted to attempt a classic dumpling to see how difficult it was to pull off. The pork and shrimp shu mai is an item found on every Chinese dim sum menu and a favorite bite for many of us.

This recipe was by far the most difficult. One thing I don't miss doing is having to de-vein shrimp. Good thing we brought Todd along to do that. Thanks, Todd!

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“Dumplings All Day Wong” is available for purchase at Amazon.com.

Something new: Kaimuki Superette

IMG_8150Town’s Ed and Kristen Kenney on Monday launched their latest venture — Kaimuki Superette — a casual eatery and market specializing in foods from local farmers and ranchers.

The Kenneys, in partnership with Dave Caldiero, opened the business across the street from Town, at Waialae and 9th avenues. It pays homage to their previous restaurant, Downtown at HiSAM, which closed about two years ago. It has a retro hip, yet breezy, vibe, with a clear commitment to offering fresh, innovative foods produced in the islands. As one of Hawaii’s most active proponents of sustainability, Ed Kenney says one of the benefits of the space is that it’ll allow for further partnerships with local farmers and food producers.

Open six days a week, Kaimuki Superette is designed to appeal to the lunch crowd or those wanting to pick up something quick for dinner, with its menu of sandwiches, salads, quiche, soups and sides. There are tables and chairs to seat about 20 people.

IMG_8169Walk up to the counter and you will find a variety of deli sides prepared with local and seasonal ingredients. Choose from roasted root vegetables, quinoa with long bean, kabocha and okra, watermelon spiced with chile-lime sale and cilantro and more. The sandwiches range from a he’e (octopus) roll, an ahi clubhouse to porchetta.

Overall, prices are higher than what you’d find at a typical deli or take-out place. Sandwiches range from $10-$15, and sides are $4 for a half pint and $6.50 for a pint. But it’s clear what you’re paying for is freshness, flavor and locally produced quality.

I ordered the buttery he’e roll ($14) with watermelon and crunchy cucumber kim chee as sides. The tender octopus was tossed in creamy mayo and dusted with celery seed and tarragon on a soft roll. Each bite was rich and luxurious, and the sides went well to round out this first taste.

IMG_8153As far as the grocery, the shelves and fridge are lined with pickled veggies, green mango mostarda, preserved fish, cuts of Shinsato pork and sausages, bagged greens and watermelon rind kim chee.

The Kenneys plan to incorporate the retail offerings into their menu to help inspire customers to take items home with them to use in their own home cooking.

Here’s a look inside Kaimuki Superette:

Kaimuki Superette

Kaimuki Superette has the look and feel of long-time community markets that our parents and grandparents frequented decades ago.

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Kaimuki Superette
3458 Waialae Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday