Things heated up at the Flats at Puʻunui recently as the annual Hawaiʻi Food and Wine Festival (HFWF) kicked off its first event.
Our Kakaʻako presented “Raw and Wild in the Tank,” a unique culinary experience that featured raw and wild ingredients found in our islands. Attendees explored innovative food that showcased ingredients foraged, fished and sourced throughout ahupua‘a across the state, from the mountains to the ocean. Attendees enjoyed dishes created by O‘ahu chefs Lee Anne Wong (Koko Head Café), Nico Chaize (Nico’s at Pier 38), Shaymus Alwin (Azure Restaurant) and James Aptakin (Turtle Bay Resort), along with chefs from Hawai‘i Island, California and Washington.
HFWF also partnered with Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation to showcase the finalists of Mahiʻai Scale-Up, an agricultural business plan contest dedicated to increasing food production for the local market to create a sustainable Hawai‘i. Three Mahiʻai finalists participated in an agriculture “Shark Tank-style” pitch session, explaining their business concepts in bite-sized, one-minute presentations to a panel of judges as well as event attendees.
Māla Kalu‘ulu received the $20,000 grand prize for their work in cultivating ‘ulu (breadfruit) and ‘ōlena (turmeric) via principles developed by Hawaiians applied to contemporary agriculture. Kaunāmano Farm won the People’s Choice Award worth $10,000 for its work in using a holistic approach predicated on pasture management and rotational open-air grazing. The People’s Choice Award was determined via a live, real-time vote by event attendees as well as those interacting via social media around the globe.
“Raw and Wild in the Tank” also highlighted the chefs, farmers and entrepreneurs who utilize the ‘āina to promote sustainability.