Roy’s new throwback

slide07-2Roy Yamaguchi helped pioneer Hawaii Regional Cuisine a generation ago, when few had heard of wasabi butter or firecracker aioli. Now the culinary icon is going in the opposite direction with his next restaurant — back to the past. “It’s almost like a Star Wars trilogy where you revert to the past, find what’s relevant hundreds of years ago and make it modern, make it what could be the future,” he says.

Set to open this Saturday at Kukuiula on Kauai’s south shore, Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi will serve signature dishes made famous at the 30 Roy’s restaurants, like the misoyaki butterfish. But Eating House will mainly showcase new flavors, ingredients and dishes inspired by Portuguese, Filipino and Spanish influences.


Why the change in focus? And what about that name? Yamaguchi is a fan of ethnic cuisines, which he looked at through the lens of history. “I did some research on who opened the first restaurant in Hawaii,” he says. “There was an individual by the name of Peter Fernandez who had apparently opened the first restaurant in Honolulu.”

Fernandez’ restaurant, the simply named Eating House, was a place where you could sit down and be served food. It became the inspiration for Yamaguchi’s idea to create dishes and flavor combinations based on immigrant foods that would have been served in the middle of the 19th

Eating House 1849 bar area

Eating House 1849 bar area

century, but with contemporary fusion twists. That launched two years of travel, exploratory eating and experiments back home.

The resulting concept was a sort of modern-day throwback — something that would take diners back to the plantation days of old Hawaii. “People’s lives change and technology changes,” Yamaguchi says. “But one of the things that I have always wanted to keep constant is the ability for people to have a great home-cooked meal.”

View of Kukuiula from the kitchen of eating House 1849

View of Kukuiula from the kitchen of eating House 1849

While Eating House will be the third restaurant Yamaguchi has opened on Kauai, it will be his only remaining one come Saturday. The Tavern in Princeville closed after that site was converted into a private golf course; Yamaguchi hopes to resurrect it on Oahu. And the Roy’s in nearby Poipu, a 20-year fixture of the dining scene, will close when Eating House opens, with employees transferring to the new location.

Here’s a fun video interview I shot: 4 Quick Questions for Roy Yamaguchi:

Eating House 1849
Kukuiula Village
2829 Ala Kalaniaumaka Rd.
Poipu, Kauai

More info will be made available at:

The other side of Adam Tabura

Lanai and Adam Tabura

Lanai and Adam Tabura

It’s been two years since three Hawaii boys set out to capture the hearts of American foodies. Chef Adam Tabura, entrepreneur and media personality Lanai Tabura and comedian Shawn Felipe won $50,000 and a food truck as champions of season four on the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.” Now, brothers Lanai and Adam are taking their message of aloha - and locally inspired food – abroad.

On the surface, that’s the story, and it’s a good one. But there’s far more than meets the eye. Adam, whose culinary background anchored the team’s food, was often in the shadow of his ebullient brother Lanai, but his story is fascinating. “When I was 17 I saved a man’s life,” he sums up,”and when I was 18 I was burned and couldn’t graduate from culinary school.”


Though shy and hesitant to talk about the trauma, he is sharing his story now to find closure and help others. It was two decades ago that Adam saved a drowning stranger at Hulopoe Bay on his home island of Lanai. In return, the grateful man who was a visitor from Iowa offered to pay part of Adam’s way through culinary school in Portland. It was his dream.

Then disaster struck. One week before graduation, while his friends were having a party at his house, Adam came home to find the kitchen in flames. He tried to extinguish a burning pot of oil and suffered third-degree burns to his hands and arms and lost his fingernails, eyebrows and eyelashes.

Injured and without medical insurance, he couldn’t graduate. “I didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t want to come home because I was embarrassed,” he says. “I didn’t want to cook yet, but I knew I had to get back on the horse.” It was nine months before he could bring himself to tell his family. Then he told his benefactor, and he also approached the dean of the culinary school for permission to finish his last class and receive his degree. Both benefactor and dean agreed to help.

Photo Credit: Glenn Yoza

Photo Credit: Glenn Yoza

Adam’s first job after culinary school was at Oregon’s Beaverton Inn, where he peeled potatoes for eight hours a day. For him the smell of oil and even the ambient heat of the kitchen were hard to take. But he worked his way up the culinary ladder and came home to a job at The Lodge at Koele. The rest, as they say, is history, the latest chapter of which played out on national TV: Adam cooking in the Aloha Plate food truck with Shawn while Lanai pumped up the crowds, over and over, state after state, until their jubilant win. Along the way, alert viewers may have noticed he never fried food and never cooked with oil.

Now Adam is a motivational speaker. He still has nightmares, but he tells his story of success despite lingering fears so that others facing similar setbacks will know that getting back on the horse and persevering does, step-by-step and year-by-year, make things better.

Check out this short video interview to find out what Adam’s up to and where you can now find the Aloha Plate food truck on Oahu.

Grey Goose Dayclub: Pow! Wow! edition

They’re here! More than 100 artists from around the globe have arrived in Honolulu for Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2015. Before the annual art, music, education and mural painting festival gets under way Monday, featured artists got a chance to soak up the Hawaii sun and enjoy the aloha vibe.

This month’s Grey Goose Dayclub partnered with Pow! Wow! Hawaii, surfer Kelly Slater’s Purps energy drink and Kaimana Beachwear. Pow Wow artists painted body art on models in bikinis, Purps ambassadors handed out free samples and sunbathers chilled to some groovy beats at the Modern Honolulu’s sunset pool and bar.














Are you ready? Pow! Wow! Hawaii starts Saturday

pwh2014_date_02Get your party pants on and charge up those cell phones and camera batteries: Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2015 is about to get under way.

The annual street art and music festival celebrates its fifth year in Honolulu with an all-star lineup of more than 200 artists and featured speakers, plus installations and a finale party that will rock your socks off.

Here’s the schedule, insider details and highlights:

Saturday, Feb. 7

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.14.18 PMAndrew Hosner from Thinkspace Gallery returns to curate the 2nd Annual Pow! Wow!: Exploring the New Contemporary Art Movement Exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art. On display until Feb. 18, the exhibit will include a featured mural and crocheted canoe outside the museum.

The ‘Lei-Over’official opening party of Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2015 is hosted by Do-Over founders and residents Haycock & Strong and presented by the Red Bull Music Academy. Surprise mystery guest DJs will rock the rooftop of Buho Cocina y Cantina from 6 p.m. til 2 a.m. Free, 21+.

Sunday, Feb. 8

Grey Goose Day club welcomes Pow! Wow! to The Modern hotel’s sunset pool from noon to 6 p.m. The pool party features local resident DJs Super CW, Compose and Anit and special guest Mr. JPatt from The Knocks. Here’s where Pow Wow artists get to relax and party under the warm Hawaii sun before mural painting begins.

Monday, Feb. 9

POW WOW Hawaii 2014: Day 4Mural painting begins. Artists converge on the streets of Kakaako for seven days to collaborate and create street art, murals and more. All open to the public, all free for you to view. Where? Here’s a map: Mural Map

Tuesday, Feb. 10

1XRun special Pow Wow featured artist print exhibition at Fresh Cafe Kakaako from 6 to 10 p.m. Meet the featured artists and get an autograph and a limited edition print.

Wednesday & Thursday, Feb. 11 & 12

Highly anticipated 1-2-1 talks featuring Jeff Staple, founder of Staple Design and Reed Space, take place at Kakaako Agora, 441 Cooke St. Staple’s participation this year is considered a major highlight. The educator, designer and artist will speak Wednesday with artist Kevin Lyons and Thursday with visual artist James Jean, both 6 to 8 p.m.


Friday, Feb. 13 

RVCA rejoins the Pow Wow crew for a special art show at The Modern Honolulu from 6 to 10 p.m. Afterward, head to the Addiction after-party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 14

With most artists finished painting their wall murals, it’s time to celebrate. Pow Wow Hawaii’s finale block party takes place at the Honolulu Night Market. Look for live entertainment all night long and a special live art battle at 327 Lana Lane.

Honolulu Night Market will feature lots of food, crafters, music and a fashion show at 8 p.m. by Joelle Perry + Spark. A Pow Wow Hawaii pop-up retail both will also be open offering unique merchandise, clothing and more from featured Pow Wow artists including Kamea Hadar and Big Bad Wolf.

On the main stage, Pow Wow School of Music teen participants will perform with mentors, DJs and musicians. Headliners are Eli Mac and Kimie. Honolulu Night Market runs from 6 to 11 p.m. along Cooke Street in Kakaako.


Knife Fight: Sheldon Simeon vs. Lyndon Honda

Chef Lyndon Honda and Chef Sheldon Simeon getting ready for their #KnifeFight tilapia battle

Chef Lyndon Honda and Chef Sheldon Simeon getting ready for their #KnifeFight tilapia battle

It was expected to be an exciting and noteworthy duel… private chef, caterer and restaurant consultant Lyndon Honda taking on award-winning, “Top Chef” finalist/fan favorite Sheldon Simeon.

This Maui chef battle is affectionately called “Knife Fight,” with its inspiration coming from a similar cooking challenge on Bravo TV. Held once a month at 11 p.m. (so chefs and other culinarians can attend after work) at Cow Pig Bun, owner Greg Shepherd wanted to showcase the skills of the island’s local chefs and bring together the culinary community to raise money for culinary education. “More than anything I want to create an environment that is relevant, entertaining and sets the tone for the next generation of chefs,” he said.

This is how the Knife Fight works: one hour, one main ingredient, two chefs, three dishes. And here’s how it all went down using Napili Flo Farm fresh tilapia:

Course 1- Lyndon created a latin inspired pan fried tilapia topped with cheese, Sheldon created a sashimi style dish accompanied with mint coconut milk.

Course 1- Lyndon created a Latin-inspired, pan-fried tilapia topped with cheese. Sheldon created a sashimi-style dish accompanied with mint coconut milk.

Course 2: Lyndon prepared his take on a Korean fish soup with a side of kim chee tilapia, Sheldon created a delicate poached fish with butter sauce.

Course 2: Lyndon prepared his take on a Korean fish soup with a side of kim chee tilapia. Sheldon created a delicate poached fish with butter sauce.

Here’s a quick time-lapse video of what the challenge looked like from my seat at the judge’s table. It was a packed house with almost 100 fans, spectators, chefs and others.

Expected to be the third and final course - Lyndon stepped up with a pan seared fish accompanied with fresh made ice cream and Sheldon created a simple seared fish with fresh rice and blossoms.

Expected to be the third and final course – Lyndon stepped up with pan-seared fish accompanied with fresh ice cream, while Sheldon created a simple seared fish with fresh rice and blossoms.

The scores were tabulated and for the first time since the November launch of Knife Fight, there was a tie. An additional beef course was added to ensure there would be a winner and the chefs were given 15 minutes to make their fourth dish.

Tie Breaker - Lyndon made a meatball, bacon jam, tomato atop arugula, Sheldon created a take on the loco moco reconstructed.

Tie breaker – Lyndon made a meatball, bacon jam, tomato atop arugula. Sheldon created a take on the loco moco reconstructed.

Here’s how it ended.

Undoubtedly, Lyndon came into this challenge as the underdog and claimed the title in what has been deemed a major upset. In the end, the showdown raised more than $600 for the Maui Culinary Academy. The next #KnifeFight featuring two new chefs is scheduled for Feb. 21.