Last year, viewers across the nation tuned in to Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race as eight teams traveled more than 4,000 miles to compete to win $50,000 and ownership of their truck.
The caveat: No prior experience running a food truck was allowed.
Among them was Hawaii’s own Aloha Plate, helmed by Shawn Felipe and brothers Lanai and Adam Tabura.
After successfully overcoming a series of challenges, during which the team memorably introduced the Mainland to the wonders of Spam, Aloha Plate was crowned champion of the network’s fourth season.
“I’m glad they didn’t show it, but I wept like a proud baby,” says Lanai Tabura. “I was so proud of Shawn and my brother Adam.
“People of Hawaii have been so supportive and appreciative that we had the opportunity to share aloha, and of course, some flavor from Hawaii.”
Today, along with collaborating with local brands and utilizing local products in its dishes, Aloha Plate also partnered with Kona Coffee Purveyors to offers its own brand of coffee. Adam’s recipes also can be found in various 7-Eleven stores throughout the state. With plans to expand, the group currently is touring, making appearances at events throughout the nation and, in September, will set sail with its own cruise to Alaska.
“The Aloha Plate cruise is exciting because whoever wants to come with us is welcome to come,” says Tabura.
Suffice to say, a lot has happened in Tabura’s life since he last appeared on MidWeek‘s June 19, 2002, cover. And with much more on the horizon, Tabura shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to his Aloha Plate activities, he is focusing on a travel company he launched in 2011 after officially teaming up with Hawaii-Aloha travel agency.
“Travel really expands your mind and soul, and I like to experience it with local people,” he says.
It’s appropriately named Lanai’s Travel Club, and Tabura himself takes groups to places like Japan, Korea and the Mediterranean. In August, Tabura will lead a tour to Venice and Greece for 10 days, during which he plans to take participants to a champagne vineyard for a private tasting. The club aims to offer its travelers unforgettable experiences at affordable prices, even offering a layaway plan.
“Our goal is to give local people a chance to experience and explore the world and not have to break their bank,” he says. “I want to help people cross things off their bucket list, and I really enjoying sharing it with them.”
You can hear Tabura on 99.1FM Hawaii No Ka Oi, a station he and Augie Tulba recently launched. The duo is on air weekday mornings from 6 to 9 a.m., and listeners who have trouble tuning in to its low frequency also may find them on iHeartRadio, which allows listeners to tune in from any location.
“It’s been pretty amazing to get emails from cities I’ve never heard of, from the West to East coast,” he says.
The busy man also can be seen Mondays at 7:30 p.m. on OC16 with his latest TV show, Cooking Hawaiian Style. The show recently completed filming for its second season and will air in Las Vegas next month. Tabura fans can keep up with Aloha Plate on Facebook or at alohaplate.com, and can learn more about Tabura’s travel agency by visiting lanaistravelclub.com.