Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival 2013; Under the Modern Moon event: Have fork, will eat. © 2013 Sugar + ShakeIn lieu of a Friday Photo today, here’s a little “public service” announcement. Earlier this week, the chef line-up for the annual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival for 2014 was announced, and tickets are now on sale. The event runs Friday, August 29 through Sunday, September 7 on three different islands (Big Island of Hawai‘i, Maui and O‘ahu). Events noted below are the “main attractions”—in addition to these, there are seminars, daytime learning events and an after party. The Festival website has full information and schedules for all of these, as well as three package deals which can save you $25 – $50 per person. (As of this writing, the site has a glitch—click on the “buy package” button instead of the image, as that doesn’t go anywhere.) A Twitter exchange with the Festival folks confirmed that the cocktail mixologists and winemakers appearing at the Festival are still being finalized.

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival 2013; Under the Modern Moon event: Zig Zag cocktail by Tony Abou-Ganim (The Modern Mixologist). © 2013 Sugar + ShakeThe cost for VIP tickets for most events is roughly double the price of standard admission. With the exception of the event at the Modern Honolulu, your VIP-ness gets you early entry (an hour ahead), plus a reserved seat. For the Modern there are no seats, so you just get in an hour ahead of everyone else. Whether you feel that’s worth the double cost depends on your budget and your patience for waiting in lines and crowds. The VIPs do seem to sell out, so even if you can’t afford one of those tickets, the fact that they’re all sitting down means that a big chunk of the attendees are no longer in your way when you’re lining up for food! If you are at the head of the line for regular entrance, you’re quite likely to be able to stake out a seat/table of your own since there is open seating and cocktail tables available scattered about.

We were fortunate enough to have been invited to attend several of last year’s events as guests of the Festival, so I’ve added our two cents worth of input below the event description.

Friday, August 29, 2014
Aloha ‘Aina, Aloha Kai – Love of the Land, Love of the Sea
At the Waikoloa Beach Resort, featuring Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Hilton
Waikoloa Village – Waikoloa, Hawai‘i
6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: $250/VIP $500

The Festival launches its 2014 events on Hawai‘i Island, the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, which is abundant with fertile agricultural lands that produce local beef, seafood and produce. The exclusive six-course gala will be held on the volcanic grounds of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort featuring products grown on Hawai‘i Island.

Sugar + Shake’s Two Cents: This is a new event, the first time the Festival is expanding to the Big Island. Excited to see Chef Sheldon Simeon identifying with his Hilo roots and heading over to participate in this event, rather than the ones on Maui (where he currently lives) or O‘ahu (the bigger events). Also super excited to see Chef Mark Pomaski on the roster. He’s the talent behind Full Moon Café, where we dined earlier this year. Absolutely incredible!

Featured chefs include:

  • Charles Charbonneau, Hilton Waikoloa Village – Waikoloa, HI
  • Jayson Kanekoa, Waikoloa Beach Marriott – Waikoloa, HI
  • Jenn Louis, Lincoln Restaurant – Portland, OR
  • Marcel Vigneron, Modern Global Tasting, Inc. – Los Angeles, CA
  • Mark Pomaski, Full Moon Café – Hilo, HI
  • Sheldon Simeon, MiGRANT Maui – Wailea, HI
  • Sherry Yard, Helms Bakery – Los Angeles, CA

* * *

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Kā‘anapali Kitchen Stadium Under a Maui Moon
At the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa – Kā‘anapali, Maui
6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: $250/VIP $500

Take a first row seat at the beach-front Kitchen Stadium as master chefs prepare a six course menu under the Maui moonlight at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa’s open-air Napili

Sugar + Shake’s Two Cents: This is the renamed second iteration of last year’s inaugural HFWF Maui event, Mālama Maui, which we attended as part of the Kā‘anapali Fresh weekend festivities. I particularly enjoyed the seated-and-served format and watching the chefs plate the dishes on a stage, but when I mentioned that to a chef friend, he groaned. As you know, we love everything Chef Isaac Bancaco makes, and Chef Floyd Cardoz made one of my very favorite dishes of the entire festival last year, this incredible ‘Ahi Tartare with Ogo & Quail Egg.

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival 2013; Under the Modern Moon event: ‘Ahi Tartare with Ogo & Quail Egg by Chef Floyd Cardoz (North End Grill). © 2013 Sugar + Shake

Featured chefs include:

  • Bev Gannon, Bev Gannon Restaurants – Wailea, HI
  • Floyd Cardoz – New York, NY
  • Gregory Grohowski, Hyatt Regency Maui – Kā‘anapali, HI
  • Isaac Bancaco, Andaz Maui – Wailea, HI
  • Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger – Wellesley, MA
  • Mourad Lahlou, Aziza – San Francisco, CA

* * *

Thursday, September 4, 2014
A Lucky MODERN Buddha Belly
At The Modern Honolulu – Honolulu, O‘ahu
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: $200/VIP $300

The first event held on O‘ahu, A Lucky MODERN Buddha Belly puts a spotlight on Hawai‘i’s unique location as a culinary hub of the Pacific where East meets West. 14 esteemed international chefs showcase dishes inspired by the Lucky Buddha who is known for happiness, plenitude, and wisdom of contentment.

Sugar + Shake’s Two Cents: This is always a fun event with food that really resonates for my palate. Two local chefs who I think are incredibly talented, Chris Kajioka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, will be participating on this night for the first time. (Last year, they did different events.) Chef Charles Phan returns and I suppose it’s unreasonable—and maybe a little boringly repetitive— to hope he’ll bring his fried chicken again, but a girl can dream. As I mentioned, the list of cocktail gurus and winemakers is still being finalized, but this event is usually structured with two mixologists at the bar downstairs (get those early because the line gets long and they run out) and two or three upstairs (a more relaxed pace); wine is hidden away (with a dessert or two) around the back terrace. Ladies, wear flats or wedge shoes—the Modern has a wooden deck that loves to eat your heeled shoes, plus you often have to scuff through the cute sand pit upstairs in order to get your food and cocktails.

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival 2013; Under the Modern Moon event: Charles’ Famous Fried Chicken by Chef Charles Phan (The Slanted Door). Highlighted producer: Naked Cow Dairy. © 2013 Sugar + Shake

Featured chefs include:

  • Andy Ricker, PokPok – Portland, OR
  • Byung Jin Kim, BICENA – Seoul, Korea
  • Charles Phan, The Slanted Door – San Francisco, CA
  • Chris Kajioka, Vintage Cave – Honolulu, HI
  • Masaharu Morimoto, Morimoto Waikiki – Honolulu, HI
  • Michael Ginor, Hudson Valley Foie Gras – New York, NY
  • Michael Meredith, Meredith’s Restaurant – Auckland, New Zealand
  • Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW Restaurant – Honolulu, HI
  • Nancy Oakes, Boulevard – San Francisco, CA
  • Nancy Silverton, Mozza – Los Angeles, CA
  • Peng Yu, Beijing Fangshan Resaturant – Beijing, China
  • Philip Johnson, e’cco Bistro – Brisbane, Australia
  • Scott Toner, The Modern Honolulu – Honolulu, HI
  • Tom Douglas, Tom Douglas Restaurants – Seattle, WA

* * *

Friday, September 5, 2014
Fourth Annual Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Series: Chefs Who Cook to Compete
At Halekulani – Honolulu, O‘ahu
6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: $1,000

The Fourth Annual Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Series: Chefs Who Cook to Compete will feature some of the most competitive chefs in the world plating up a lavish six-course dining experience. These master chefs are familiar with competition and will “wow” guests with an evening of elegant fine dining and extraordinary wine pairings.

Sugar + Shake’s Two Cents: We have yet to meet anyone who has ever attended this event (aside from a couple folks who either work for chefs and went as their guests or work for the Festival and got to sneak into the kitchen). We do not get paid enough to go. If you would like to hire me to work for you at a salary that allows me to afford this, I would love to talk to you!

Featured chefs include:

  • Hiroyuki Sakai, La Rochelle – Tokyo, Japan
  • Johnny Iuzzini, Sugar Fueled Inc. – New York, NY
  • Jose Garces, Garces Group – Philadelphia, PA
  • Michelle Bernstein, Michy’s – Miami, FL
  • Richard Rosendale, Rosendale Group – White Sulphur Springs, WV
  • Vikram Garg, Halekulani – Honolulu, HI

* * *

Saturday, September 6, 2014
Hawaiian Airlines Presents Corks and Forks
At Hawai‘i Convention Center – Honolulu, O‘ahu
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: $225/VIP $500

This event pairs 20 of the most world-renowned celebrity chefs with 20 top-tier vintners and winemakers for a unforgettable grand tasting of finely crafted dishes to be paired with top of the barrel, reserve wines from Napa Valley on the rooftop of the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Sugar + Shake’s Two Cents: I think this was my favorite of the events last year, in terms of breadth of offerings. Last year’s Convention Center event focused on local ingredients, and there was a great mix of local and visiting chefs. This year’s lineup looks good too—I like that they’ve mixed the chefs around so they’re appearing at different events than the ones they participated in during previous years. Chef Johan Svensson of BLT Steakhouse is making his first HFWF appearance—we adore him! If we go, you will find me parked in front of the dessert section where chefs Christina Tosi and Mark Freischmidt will be handing out what’s sure to be incredible. Don’t forget one of my favorite event tips: Hit dessert early. There are no lines and dessert tends to run out toward the end and often doesn’t come out as nicely prepared the later you go. Things melt or staff can’t keep up with demand to prep as thoroughly.

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival 2013; Taste our Love for the Land event: Chef Mark Freischmidt (Halekulani) — Coconut with Matcha Mint Sponge, Ohi‘a Lehua Honey, Rhubarb. Local producer: Big Island Bees. © 2013 Sugar + Shake Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival 2013; Taste our Love for the Land event: Chocolate-enrobed pineapple chunks at Chef Mark Freischmidt (Halekulani)’s station. © 2013 Sugar + Shake

Featured chefs include:

  • Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s – Honolulu, HI
  • Celestino Drago, Drago Restaurant Group – Los Angeles, CA
  • Chai Chaowasaree, Chef Chai – Honolulu, HI
  • Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar – New York, NY
  • Ed Kenney, TOWN – Honolulu, HI
  • Gary Matsumoto, Hawaii Convention Center – Honolulu, HI
  • George Mavrothalassitis, Chef Mavro – Honolulu, HI
  • Grant MacPherson, Scotch Myst – Las Vegas, NV
  • Hubert Keller, Fleur de Lys – San Francisco, CA
  • Johan Svensson, BLT Steakhouse – Honolulu, HI
  • Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto – New York, NY
  • Josh Welch, OnoPops – Honolulu, HI
  • Keoni Chang, Foodland Super Markets, Ltd. – Honolulu, HI
  • Mark Freischmidt, Halekulani – Honolulu, HI
  • Michael Voltaggio, ink. – Los Angeles, CA
  • Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger – Wellesley, MA
  • Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu Waikiki – Honolulu, HI
  • Tetsuya Wakuda, Tetsuya – Sydney, Australia
  • Tushar Dubey, Hokulani Bakery – Honolulu, HI
  • Yuji Wakiya, Wakiya – Tokyo, Japan

* * *

Sunday, September 7, 2014
Battle of the Brunch Showdown
At Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa – Honolulu, O‘ahu
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: $95

Three female master chefs will be paired with three of their male counterparts to cook up some of the most creative, delightful and tasty breakfast-lunch dishes for a battle of the brunch on the rooftop of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. Guests will be asked to judge each dish and determine the winning duo in the first Battle of the Brunch.

Sugar + Shake’s Two Cents: We’ve never done the brunch events. And while I’m down with recognizing and celebrating female chefs, the men vs. women thing always sits somewhat uneasily with me. That said, although I’ve never met them in person (and am not overly familiar with the other chefs participating in this event), chefs Jackie Lau and Lee Anne Wong kick some serious kitchen butt. Wong’s new Koko Head Café is getting a lot of buzz and features brunch all day. How are you gonna beat her?!

Featured chefs include:

  • Jackie Lau, Roy’s Hawaii – Honolulu, HI
  • Lee Anne Wong, Koko Head Café – Honolulu, HI
  • Michelle Bernstein, Michy’s – Miami, FL
  • Sven Ullrich, Hyatt Regency Waikiki – Honolulu, HI
  • Johnny Iuzzini, Sugar Fueled Inc. – New York, NY
  • Jose Garces, Garces Group – Philadelphia, PA

* * *

It’s a Food World After All
At Ko Olina Resort featuring Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa and JW Marriott
Ihilani Resort & Spa – Ko Olina, O‘ahu
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: $200/VIP $500

The finale event takes place on the beach as the sun sets along O‘ahu’s western shore. Sixteen celebrity chefs will prove that the easiest way to win most hearts and minds is through the stomach as they showcase their talents connecting the world through food and culture.

Sugar + Shake’s Two Cents: Cute name for the closing event. If this year is like previous years, there will be a spectacular fireworks show, so stick around ‘til the end! Last year, they were also kind enough to hand out plastic bags so you could stash your shoes away because you really are right out on the beach. (We were somewhat dubious about their “appropriate footwear” notation so we still wore nice-ish shoes. I’m rocking slippers if we go this year. But you know, the dress-up kind.) There are several names new to the Festival this year appearing at this event, plus favorites like Dean Fearing who rocks a mean fried quail every year. This was last year’s:

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival 2013; Savory Ever After event: Chef Dean Fearing (Fearing’s) — Fried Quail over Gun Barrel City Greens & Jalapeño Creamed Corn. Local producers: Naked Cow Dairy, ’Nalo Farms. © 2013 Sugar + Shake

Featured chefs include:

  • Andrew Sutton, Napa Rose – Anaheim, CA
  • Art Smith, Table fifty-two – Chicago, IL
  • Cat Cora, Cat Cora Inc. – Los Angeles, CA
  • Dean Fearing, Fearing’s – Dallas TX
  • Eric Ziebold, CityZen – Washington, DC
  • Jason Fox, Commonwealth – San Francisco, CA
  • Jason Kina, JW Marriott Ihilani – Ko Olina, HI
  • Josiah Citrin, Mélisse – Santa Monica, CA
  • Kevin Chong, ‘AMA‘AMA – Ko Olina, HI
  • Mark Noguchi, LUNCHBOX – Honolulu, HI
  • Naomi Pomeroy, Beast Restaurant – Portland, OR
  • Raphael Lunetta, JiRaffe – Santa Monica, CA
  • Sang Yoon, Lukshon – Los Angeles, CA
  • Stephen Durfee, Culinary Institure of America – St. Helena, CA
  • Toshi Yoroizuka, Toshi Yoroizuka – Tokyo, Japan
  • Vivian Wu, Alan Wong’s – Honolulu, HI

So that’s it! Again, check the Festival website for all the details, which may change, and to see who gets added on to present cocktails and wine. Also, there are additional daytime events worth a look, if you’re able to get away on a weekday for some food fun.

Disclosure: Access to previous events was provided by the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, but no compensation was received for this post, and the opinions expressed are strictly my own.