Sam Choy: Breadfruit over potato

KALAHEO — Celebrity chef and Hawaii’s ‘ulu ambassador Sam Choy will present a cooking demonstration on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Times Supermarket in Kukui Grove Shopping Center in Lihue.

The event, from noon to 2 p.m., is a part of the Breadfruit vs. Potato initiative, a good-humored public education campaign with a goal of increasing the use of a Hawaiian staple food as a substitute for the imported potato.

“Breadfruit is one of our native foods here in Hawaii and is so easy and delicious to cook with, and it’s healthy, too. Healthier than eating white potato,” says Choy. The chef will share his vast knowledge of cooking ‘ulu and his favorite recipes that can be made using breadfruit instead of potatoes.

The Lihue event is one of many taking place throughout the state during September, which has been declared by Gov. David Ige, Mayor Bernard Carvalho, and other mayors throughout the state as “Ho‘oulu Ka ‘Ulu O Hawai‘i Nei Month,” a time to “lift up and celebrate ‘ulu (breadfruit).”

A key to increasing food self-sufficiency in Hawaii is to substitute locally grown staples for imported foods. Each year, 57 million pounds of fresh and processed potato are imported into the state. Food security in Hawaii would be enhanced if even a fraction of that was replaced with breadfruit.

Breadfruit vs. Potato is an initiative of the Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu project, which is a collaboration between the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network.

Speaking from NTBG headquarters, the Institute’s Director Dr. Diane Ragone said “it is exciting to see so much new interest in breadfruit in Hawaii in the past five years. Sam Choy is such a wonderful and entertaining chef, and makes cooking with breadfruit so easy and fun. Times Supermarket is a great partner for us because of its interest in promoting locally grown food. Its convenient central location will allow more of our island’s residents to participate and learn more about this culturally significant crop.”

The Breadfruit vs. Potato initiative is supported in part by funding from the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture.

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