KAPAA — Eight local chefs will clash their cutlery Saturday in a competition with an island style twist, each dish will feature coconut as an ingredient.
But using coconut isn’t the only challenge in The Tasting Kauai Coconut Cook Off, chefs will be randomly paired into four teams and will have to answer coconut trivia questions to win ingredients.
The competition is one of the events kicking off the 20th annual Coconut Festival, and the professionals will put culinary genius to the test in front of a panel of five judges.
“You only turn 20 once, so we’ve got this big thing with chefs organized to make it more interesting,” said Mike Hough, who is leading organization the festival this year. “You’ll have panels of people competing against each other and swapping tasks.”
The competition will be something akin to the television shows Top Chef and Chopped, Hough explained, and those who attend the cook off and donate at least $1 to the Hawaii Food Bank have a chance to be a judge.
Other community members have a chance to claim coconut chef bragging rights as well, through another competition.
“We’ve got a section where people who are intentionally not professional chefs can bring down anything they’ve made that’s linked to coconuts,” Hough said. “It could sue coconut flakes or milk or whatever, but it has to be something they’ve made themselves.”
The Tasting Kauai Chef Cook-Off begins at 12:30 p.m. and goes until 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The Coconut Festival begins with an opening ceremony at 9:15 a.m. on the main stage at Kapaa Beach Park. Music and dance follows by various performers throughout the day, along with a pie eating contest and cooking demonstrations.
Sunday features fire knife dance and coconut tree climbing, multiple cooking demonstrations, and performances by Taiko drummers, as well as other performances by musicians Aldrine Guerro, Maunalua, and Henry Kapono.
Face painting, inflatables, crafts, coconut-centered games and other activities for keiki will be happening throughout the park on both days.
All events at the festival, which is hosted by the Kapaa Business Association, will take place at Kapaa Beach Park. Entrance fee is $5 and children 12 and younger get free admission.
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