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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

Food, Wine And A Beautiful Bloody Mary

The upcoming Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is only in its third year, but already it feels as if it’s been part of our culinary scene for much longer.

Honolulu was in dire need of a dynamic, attention-grabbing food festival, but who would have thought that in just three short years a festival worthy of international acclaim thrives? The six-day, multi-island event celebrates our extraordinary island farmers, fishermen, chefs, mixologists, restaurateurs and hundreds of silent players both behind the scenes and on the fore-front of the Hawaii food and beverage scene.

If you need more evidence of the popularity of the festival and its ability to bring out a crowd, you should know that the first event to sell out annually is a Master Chefs Gala, held at the Halekulani. The lavish, seven-course dinner, with stunning wine pairings and some of the best-known names in the wine and food industry offers tickets for $1,000 per person.

This year, chefs in residence at the one-night-only extravaganza include globally recognized leader in culinary gastronomy Grant Achatz of Alinea Restaurant, Chicago. Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn San Francisco, whose artistically driven fine French food has earned high praise will guest chef, and Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys, San Francisco and Fleur De Lys by HK, Las Vegas) brings his signature Mediterranean-inspired French cuisine to the elegant tables. It’s impossible to list the chefs, their accolades and the diversity of the menus on each night of this fabulous festival – fortunately, there’s an excellent website, Hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com, where all details are easily accessed.

And what makes the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival extraordinary is not just the lights, the sparkle, fine wines and great chefs – it’s as much the daytime classes, the farm trips, and the fascinating food and wine seminars that all are part of a mission to highlight the bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry in Hawaii. With more than 50 chefs participating this year and national media in attendance, there’s no more dramatic way to positively promote Hawaii than through its incredible food culture.

If you’re having a hard time deciding which events to try, here’s a hint:

Last year’s Girls Got Game, spearheaded by Roy’s executive chef Jackie Lau, was one of the most fun, relaxed and visually spectacular events I attended. This year, the brunch, featuring acclaimed women chefs, winemakers and farmers, will be held Sunday, Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at SHOR at Hyatt Regency.

It’s a great way to spend a Sunday – and last year the cocktail station had the longest line. Southern Wines and Spirits mixologist Chandra Lam Lucariello was at the helm, creating possibly the most beautiful and tasty Bloody Mary bar ever seen.

Grab your foodie friends and head for one of the most gorgeous brunches ever!

Happy eating!

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