Ko Olina Festival To Support Scholarships For Leeward Students

Hawaii Wine & Food at Ko Olina returns for the fifth year May 17-19 bringing with it fashions, entertainment and, of course, wine and food.

The festival includes three events throughout the weekend, with a different focus each night.

The Preview Party kicks things off at 5 p.m. May 17 at Azul Restaurant, which features a meet-and-greet with the festival’s special guests, Italian-inspired cuisine with wine pairings and entertainment by Mike Tulba’s Acoustic Duo.

May 18 will be the Grand Tasting, Beachside Barbecue & Fashion Fusion, starting at 6 p.m. at Paradise Cove. Guests can chat with winemakers and chefs and enjoy cuisine by a number of the featured chefs. Also planned is a fashion show by local designer Valerie Joseph.

The festival concludes May 19, Saturday, with the Grand Finale and Fashion Show, opening at 6 p.m. at Paradise Cove. Guests can enjoy food and wine pairings, entertainment and a fashion show by Honey Girl Swimwear and Khush Clothing.

Hawaii Wine & Food is the brainchild of event chairman Keola Lloyd, who also helped spearhead Taste at Kapolei.

“We wanted to create sort of a destination food and wine event on the West side of Oahu,” Lloyd explained.

This year’s impressive list of chefs includes the “Stiletto Chef,” model-turned-foodie Candice Kumai, who is a judge on Iron Chef America and a cookbook author. Also in the lineup are Kevin Haney of 12th Ave Grill and SALT, Scott Higa of the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, Darryl Shinogi of Roy’s Ko Olina and the award-winning Chef Paoyuan Huang, who is visiting from Taiwan. Jazz musician Steve Oliver will perform Friday and Saturday.

The list of chefs changes each night, but all of the featured wines will be available throughout the festival.

“These are winemakers from some really premier, well-known wineries,” Lloyd said. “And you have all of these great chefs – both local and outside of Hawaii – and fashion. And you get to experience that right here on the island.”

A portion of the proceeds from the festivities will go to the Kapolei Foundation, which provides educational and scholarship programs for Leeward Oahu youths. The foundation has awarded nearly $1.2 million in scholarships and other educational grants to more than 300 area students.

“It’s for kids – public school kids primarily – out on this side of the island who are going to college,” Lloyd said. “I wanted to support (the foundation) because it gives out scholarships to these kids, and I think it’s a good cause.”

Tickets cost $150 for the Thursday and Saturday events and $100 for the Friday program.

For details or to purchase tickets, visit hawaiiwineandfood.com.