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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

Chefs, Slippahs, Whisky And … Haggis?

HASR Bistro executive chef Rodney Uyehara | Jo McGarry photo

There’s a huge party happening this Friday that brings together some of the most fun chefs in the city.

As part of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s annual charity walk, “Chefs & Slippahs,” it features Halekulani’s talented executive chef Vikram Garg, as well as chefs Roy Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Fukui, Joel Capinpin of Nobu Waikiki and Alan Wong.

As well as the star-studded lineup of chefs and some outrageous food and wine, there’s a silent auction that includes luxury packages at Halekulani. Prizes also will be awarded to those sporting the best slippahs. No details on whether they have to be rubbah or not.

It’s all happening April 19 at 6:30 p.m. Call Halekulani’s food and beverage office at 931-5040 for details …

* The Japanese Chamber of Commerce is made up of a group of individuals who love a good feast. They plan a number of fundraising events throughout the year, many of which are dedicated to the art of good food and wine.

I was honored to host a whisky tasting for a sold-out capacity crowd last Monday at HASR Bistro, and while guests sipped single malts from the island of Islay and beyond, we entertained them with live Celtic music.

Rodney Uyehara provided whisky-paired foods, and a great time was had by all. Uyehara, HASR Bistro executive chef, always has had a strong local following of people who love his earthy, wine-friendly, seasonal and consistently good food – all of which is apparent, as HASR Bistro is busy at lunch and dinner every day. Even the eatery’s private event room almost always is booked.

If you’re planning a gathering this summer, HASR is a great place to check out …

* And if you want to check out the unique events put together by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, it’s hosting another soon: The Roots of Hawaii Cuisine brunch with Chef Alan Wong and Arnold Hiura Saturday, April 27, at 10 a.m. in the JCCH Manoa Grand Ballroom.

The event is to celebrate mothers and nurturers and the effect their cooking has had on us throughout our lives. Arnold had a nice quote when asked about cooking: “It’s said that a great chef is someone who can take humble ingredients and make something truly delicious … which is basically what mothers have done since time immemorial.” …

* I thought when I interviewed Ryan Farr, master butcher and owner of 4505 Meats in San Francisco, that I had finally found a kindred spirit. Surely a man who has authored a book titled Whole Beast Butchery and spends his days breaking down cows, pigs and lamb, then utilizing every part of them in fairly wondrous and creative dishes, would appreciate my Scottish passion for haggis.

Farr is one of those star chef types, whose humble and self-effacing style has won him culinary fans around the globe. Recently, The New York Times referred to him as a rock-star butcher.

Turns out, though, among all the offal parts, livery bits and clever cuts of charcuterie Ryan deals with daily, haggis has not yet made the grade.

“We steer people toward making and eating blood sausage,” he says when I ask him how often he made haggis. “Blood sausage is very popular.”

And haggis?

“There’s not a lot of call for haggis,” he says, suppressing something that sounds suspiciously like laughter. “People really don’t like it.”

He’s obviously never tasted it with a swig of a single malt on a cold, snowy night. Perhaps we’ll see it one day on the next menu at town.

But I won’t hold my breath.

Happy eating!

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