LIHUE — A fisherman’s and farmer’s stew and a coconut cheesecake topped with Kunana Dairy Key Lime Pie proved to be the winning combination for Chef Ron Miller and his crew from the Hukilau Lanai Friday evening when the Kauai County Farm Bureau opened its gates to the 6th annual Kauai Grown and Kauai Coffee Chef Cookoff for Charity at Vidinha Stadium.
With the win, the Salvation Army gains a check from the Kauai County Farm Bureau for $2,000.
“Hard work pays off,” said Hukilau Lanai’s sous chef Eliza Bicoy. “They were making fun of me when I reacted to the announcement, but everything we did was worth it.”
This is the third year Miller and the Hukilau Lanai staff topped the judging from both the panel of selected judges and the sold-out audience who donated $30 each for the privilege of sampling and voting.
“This is possible because of the awesome staff we have who allow us to participate in events like this,” Miller said.
His winning stew included local vegetables from Moloaa Organicaa, Kauai Kunana Dairy, Glenna and Gary Ueunten, and the Kauai Farmer’s Markets as well as homemade smoked pork sausage made from Kaneshiro pig, Kauai clams, local ono and peaberry dark roast spiced Kauai shrimp. Dessert was a coconut cheesecake topped with Kunana Dairy Key Lime Pie on a Kauai Coffee “Coconut Caramel Crunch” crust.
“Despite this being the sixth annual event, it’s just as exciting as the first,” said Wayne Katayama, president and general manager of Kauai Coffee Co., the event’s flagship sponsor. “We had a range of chefs from established restaurants to young starting places offering unique, textural and creative cuisine using Kauai Grown items.”
Also competing in the field, Kristen Yanagawa had her parents in line early while she guided the crew from Josselin’s Tapas Bar & Grill at The Shops at Kukuiula through the offering of Kaneshiro Pork Bao with Kauai Sunrise Coffee Glaze and Watchara Farm Long Bean Namasu Salad. The Josselin’s crew were participating to benefit the American Cancer Society-Breast Cancer.
Tiki Tacos was one of the new eateries competing as Chef and Owner Hilda “Tiki” Morales churned out Paniolo Hankerings with homemade chorizo and assorted beans featuring stone-ground corn masa boats fried in grapeseed oil, filled with homemade chorizo and topped with roasted winged beans, a dash of homemade salsa, sour cream and Mexican queso fresco. The Cohata (coffee horchata) featured vanilla macadamia and Olenalena coffees, ground rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon and dairy milk blended with flavorful coffee and a “tad” of turbinado sugar. Tiki Tacos participated for the Kauai Habitat for Humanity, Kapaa, whom Morales claimed offered her a lot of help in getting started.
Executive Chef Sean Smull of the Oasis on the Beach in Waipouli credited Morales for the plant giving him some of the spice for his Deconstructed Long Bean Casserole, Kauai Coffee and Lawai Oyster Mushroom Cream Sauces, Bacon Jam and Maui Onion Glass. Smull said if he won, the Kauai Humane Society would have been his beneficiary.
Chef and owner Adam Watten of Hanai used to be at the Red Salt restaurant in Poipu before striking out with Hanai who was competing for Na pua noeau. Along with Collin Darrell, general manager and owner, the pair offered Hot Smoked Marlin, Coffee Mop, Kiawe Bean Rub, Summer Harvest.
Darla Domingo, the Kauai Coffee retail operations manager, said the firm will next be helping out at the Kauai Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Aug. 29 with registration starting at 7 a.m. at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center. The following week, Kauai Coffee will be at both the starting and finishing lines of The Kauai Marathon in Poipu.