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Lifestyle // Currents
Ron Mizutani

Team Aloha Plate Enters The ‘Race’

Team Aloha Plate (from left) Lanai Tabura, Shawn Felipe and Adam Tabura. Photo from Lanai Tabura

It was a beautiful day at Manele Bay on the island of Lanai. Adam Tabura was enjoying a day out in the surf when he heard a man yelling for help. The 17-year-old Tabura quickly rushed to the stranger, and without hesitation, scooped him up and paddled back to shore.

The Mainland visitor was extremely grateful and repeatedly asked Tabura if there was a way he could repay him for saving his life. Tabura jokingly said, “Yeah, give me a hundred bucks!”

But Dale Procter knew Tabura deserved more. There was something very special about this teenager.

The following morning, Procter went to Lanai High School to find his hero. After tracking him down, he asked Tabura what he wanted to do after graduation, which was right around the corner. Tabura told him he was interested in culinary school but knew it would be a challenge financially to pursue his dream.

“He really wanted to reward Adam,” says his brother Lanai Tabura. “A few months go by, and Adam gets a check in the mail to pay for his culinary schooling.

“Fast forward 20 years, and we get this opportunity to change all of our lives with the help of the Food Network, and as you’ll learn during the show, the journey we were on somehow connected us back to this man.”

It is an amazing story that will be shared during the fourth season of the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, which begins Sunday, Aug. 18. And for the first time, a team will represent the 50th state, Team Aloha Plate.

“We are so proud,” says Lanai, a longtime entrepreneur, comic, and radio and television personality. “This is the first time a team from Hawaii is on the show, and it is really going to spotlight the state and my brother.”

Chef Adam Tabura has been in the food executive world for more than 17 years. Since completing culinary school in Oregon, he has worked at the Four Seasons in Kona, served as executive chef at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and at the Westin Maui. Tabura also has done private cooking for Steve Jobs, Steven Tyler and many other celebrities.

“He’s already produced a couple of Food Network chefs who are now Food Network stars,” says Lanai of his brother.

The third member of the team is comedian Shawn Felipe. The Pearl City High School graduate currently is touring the country doing stand-up comedy.

There are eight trucks in the reality television show. The three-person teams hit the road for the longest route in series history (4,181 miles) visiting national landmarks from the Hollywood sign to South Dakota’s Crazy Horse Memorial to Chicago’s iconic Buckingham Fountain to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The grand prize winner gets to keep their food truck and a $50,000 cash prize.

Each week a team is sent home from the competition based on cooking sales at different cities across the country. The Hawaii team prepared sweet bread grilled cheese and Loco Moco with a homestyle flair. Their top sellers on the menu were teri burgers, Spam burgers and lettuce wraps. We can’t reveal how the team did, but we can tell you they were well received everywhere they went.

“It was phenomenal – there were times when the three of us literally cried,” adds Lanai. “It was kind of like UH football showing up in town. Other teams were blown away and would even park next to us, knowing we’d have a crowd. The coconut wireless kicked in and I can tell you the aloha spirit is alive everywhere. It’s going to be fun.”

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