POIPU — The ogo (seaweed) was just harvested from across the street yesterday, said Chef Sam Choy, unloading the container of fresh seaweed into the developing bowl of poke at the Holoholo Grill on the grounds of the Koloa Landing Resort.
“And the tomatoes?” Choy said, emptying another container of cherry tomatoes. “They came from along the road, but no worry, we checked to see that there were no chickens around.”
The wit of the internationally-acclaimed chef added to the flavor of the poke, a local favorite, that was being demonstrated during the launch of the Choy of Cooking at the Koloa Landing Resort. It is also a part of his acclaim that has earned him the title of Hawaii’s culinary ambassador.
At Choy of Cooking, guests learned up close and personal with the master himself.Choy demonstrated some of his favorite recipes, like tako poke, chicken bites, kal bi short ribs and his famous Kauai Island salad.
Guests were treated to an evening of entertainment, education and endless memories with a legendary local personality.
At the end of the night, guests took home personalized recipe cards of Chef Choy’s favorites to continue the culinary adventure.
“When we were in Japan,” Art Umezu, representing Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., said. “People found out we were from Hawaii and always, one of the first questions they ask was, ‘You know Sam Choy?’ He is famous.”
Umezu offered a proclamation declaring Oct. 20 as Sam Choy Day acknowledging the launch of the cooking series at the Koloa Landing.
“I got Makena to watch Brolie at galerie 103,” said Bruna Stude. “I met Sam Choy on my flight back and he invited me to come.”
Stude was seated in one of the preferred seating up close to the demonstration table containing a completed aromatic bowl of poke and was able to get a photo with the chef who oversees the food operations at Koloa Landing and is known for his poke recipes, sensational aromas and savory flavors.
Seating was limited to a hundred people in the cozy quarters of the Holoholo Grill, and guests overflowed to the second seating.
“Normally, I don’t come out for these types of events,” said Kenny Ishii of the Ono Family Restaurant in Kapaa. “But this is special. Sam tells everyone I don’t come out after 5:30 p.m., but I had to come see what he was cooking.”
A spokesperson for Choy of Cooking said there are plans for future events, including bringing in other chefs and possibly taking the demonstrations to other destinations.
Cost for the recent Choy of Cookin was $55 per adult, $28 for kids ages 5 through 14, and free for kids under 5 years old.
Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, and the recipient of the James Beard/Gallo of Sonoma American Classics award. He has 11 cookbooks and has frequent appearances on the Food Network programs.