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.

Molokai Ranch beef shines in Chef Bloc Maui dinner

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The Maui food scene is heating up. There’s an impressive list of talented chefs and award-winning restaurants on the Valley Isle right now. With mom-and-pop shops, gourmet pies, juices, food trucks and fine dining, Maui has emerged as one of the must-taste destinations for the epicurious.

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One of the latest installments in this growing culinary revolution is Chef Bloc Maui. Held every second Saturday of the month at Andaz Maui in Wailea and hosted at Ka’ana Kitchen restaurant, the dinner event seats 12 guests on an intimate marble block table, and serves up 10 courses prepared by three chefs featuring a special ingredient. The evening is meant to be fun, interactive and allow the chefs to let their culinary imaginations run wild… I was ecstatic to be invited to partake in this culinary experience.

This month’s three featured chefs included Kyle Kawakami from Maui Fresh Streatery food truck, Gevin Utrillo from Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Maui and Isaac Bancaco of Ka’ana Kitchen. The chefs collaborated to compose a menu, created and cooked the dishes, then took turns sharing the inspiration and techniques with guests.

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This month’s ingredient was Molokai Ranch grass-fed Angus beef. Each course, with the exception of dessert, highlighted the locally raised beef from the rolling pastures of Molokai. Rancher Dathan Bicoy and C.E.O. Clay Rumbaoa also took part in the dinner and shared details about the ranch. Bicoy says when herding the cattle, it takes three times as long because they allow the cattle to graze and roam freely in a stress free environment.

Coming up: Frolic Hawaii’s very own Will Chen is expected to participate in Chef Bloc in a few months.. In the meantime, here’s a look at January’s dinner:

Chef Bloc Maui

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Molokai beef tongue takoyaki topped with homemade beef jerky. It was a lot like comforting street food you'd find in Japan.

Chef Bloc Maui
Every 2nd Saturday of the month, except February because it’s Valentine’s Day.
Cost is $150, plus $75 for wine and cocktails.

Get ready for Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2015

Photo: Pow Wow Hawaii

Photo: Pow Wow Hawaii

It’s exactly one month from the kickoff of Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2015. This year, more than a hundred artists from around the globe will converge on Oahu between Feb. 7-14, to create art, inspire others and share priceless knowledge and experiences. “Hawaii will be one of the hubs of the creative world for that week, and I am excited to be able to experience it in the flesh,” co-lead director Kamea Hadar said.

Now in its 5th year, the collaborative art and music festival continues to evolve and change. “I’m most looking forward to seeing new art manifest on the faces of buildings and new bridges being created,” founder and co-lead director Jasper Wong said.

So what’s new this year? A lot!

Photo: Staplepigeon.com

Photo: Staplepigeon.com

Highlights include: Jeff Staple, founder of Staple Design & Reed Space, will offer two talks, one with featured artist Kevin Lyons and the other with fine artist James Jean.

The Honolulu Museum of Art will host and feature several new activations, including the opening exhibition with Thinkspace. There also will be a mural and a stunning visual of a crocheted canoe by crochet master Olek.

Most of the visual demonstrations and art installations take place on 70 large-scale canvases in the forms of murals in and around Kakaako. This year, additional art forms utilizing new mediums will also be launched. French artist Fafi, known for her sassy street art, is expected to create an installation using thousands of flowers.

Olek Photo: See-Ming Lee

Olek Photo: See-Ming Lee

The Pow Wow School of Music will expand and include talented and musically inclined teens from Oahu. Auditions for the next installment are being held on Jan. 17 (9-11:30 a.m.) at Lana Lane Studios. Students will participate in a series of workshops and special sessions with the likes of local recording artists Irie Love and Kimie.

Finally, JP Kennedy, a local producer, musician, guitarist and vocalist from The Green, will produce the finale concert and work closely with Mountain Apple Company’s CEO Jon de Mello, who will be incorporating his Mele Program and students. In the end, the project for the Pow Wow School of Music comes to a thrilling conclusion for the teens who work with all of these movers and shakers in the local music industry… then open the big finale show for Pow! Wow! 2015 on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Here’s a look at last year’s event:
POW! WOW! Hawaii 2014 Recap

Top 10 songs of 2014

Pharrell-Williams-Happy-Pictures-02Music moves my soul! No matter what time of day or night I tend to always have a song stuck in my head, and I like it that way. Music tends to take me back to a certain place or time. I think of it like my own version of time travel, where I was when I heard this song for the first time, what was I doing becomes so clear. Music tends to remind me of a moment, a person, a place and more. So with that, I have compiled a list from My Point of Heu of the top 10 songs of 2014. I apologize in advance if any of these tunes get stuck in your head too.

10. “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
Sam seemed to appear out of nowhere with his soothing voice and ballad melodies, the British singer/songwriter unleashed his debut album this year when he had already topped the UK charts.

9. “30 Seconds to Mars” – City of Angels
Hands down my favorite band of all time. I have been a fan from before they played at Pipeline Cafe (2007) and Aloha Tower (2011). This song reached out to so many people around the world who can identify with the struggle to reach your dreams.

8. “Fancy” – Iggy Azalea Feat. Charli XCX
Whether you’re rolling your eyes right now or bobbing your head, Iggy certainly killed it this year with several chart-topping songs, some simultaneously atop the 10 list. This song became an anthem for some ladies.

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7. “Easier” – Soja feat. Anuhea and J Boog
Filmed on location on Oahu’s North Shore, the sweet reggae sounds of Soja and Hawaii’s own Anuhea paired with J Boog created a cool, chill and easygoing song that had locals calling in to request the song on Hawaii radio stations for months.

6. “Drunk In Love” – Beyonce feat. Jay Z.
No matter where I was, I had to sing along with this song, on a boat, in the car, live in concert. I saw Beyonce and Jay Z in San Francisco, and every woman in the stadium was singing along with this song. It was an epic experience and solidified my belief that Bey is one of the greatest performers of this generation.

5. “Happy” – Pharrell Williams
Who doesn’t love this song? Seriously, if it doesn’t make you wanna get up and dance or at least tap your feet, something is wrong. I love Pharrell’s positive and upbeat vibe, and everyone should make it their goal to spend 24 hours being happy. Clap along!

4. “Rude” – Magic
This catchy tune was perfect for people in Hawaii with its blend of reggae fusion by Canadian band Magic. The lyrics are super simple and became very popular at weddings and other parties this year.

3. “All of Me” – John Legend
Okay, so John Legend is super talented and has the voice of an angel. Add to that his gorgeous supermodel wife, and you’ve got a love song that will have everyone swooning.

2. “Summer” – Calvin Harris
This was the theme song of the summer. I had the honor of seeing Calvin Harris perform live in Las Vegas, and even without that, this still would’ve made my top 3. The beat paired with its lyrics creates a great tune to dance and sing to, even if it’s not summer.

DJ-Snake-_-Lil-Jon---Turn-Down-For-What1. “Turn Down for What” – DJ Snake and Lil Jon
This was the club anthem of the year. It starts with a bang and then progressively builds and modulates. It’s one of those epic songs that makes you tingle on the inside.

For a list of these songs and a few more, I created a Spotify Best of 2014 playlist.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Taimane Gardner’s favorite places to write music

8Known for her unique style and diverse repertoire, ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner has traveled the world sharing her music. Early next year, she’ll release her new album, “We Are Made of Stars,” inspired by our solar system. The album features Taimane originals based on the proverb, “Be humble for you are made of the earth. Be noble for you are made of the stars.”

It’s an amalgamation of classical, rock, flamenco and vocals, all written produced, mixed and packaged by Taimane. The artist is also launching a Kickstarter campaign next month to remain an independent artist without a record label.

We asked the singer/songwriter where she finds inspiration to write music, and here’s what she shared.

“Writing music is like writing a book,” she says. “You can get writer’s block, then get stressed because you’re stressed from not writing. It’s a vicious cycle. In fact, writing a song is more than writing a story. It’s a story with melody! What goes first? Lyrics? Chords? Where are the chord progressions? “This sounds horrible… I’ll never get this right!” This is the usual thought pattern for any musician trying to write their first or latest song. Take a deep breath.”

Outdoors

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Beaches, hikes and especially parks. They're easy to get to and not too many distractions... except for the distant kids playing baseball, but sometimes that may spark something in you.