Chef Roy Yamaguchi On The Magic Of The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

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The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival celebrates "lucky 13" this year.

Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

Hawaii’s largest nutrient and vino arena is celebrating its 13th twelvemonth of bringing together Michelin-starred chefs, notable winemakers and maestro mixologists for a classical sensation of Aloha. The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival comes aft a challenging and affectional twelvemonth for Hawaii, pursuing nan Maui fires, and arsenic edifice and hospitality workers person seen a slowdown successful tourism.

The show that began past period and continues this play spreads crossed aggregate islands and is officially nan largest nutrient and vino show successful nan state. This weekend, nan show comes to Oahu, pinch events astatine Four Seasons Resort Oahu astatine Ko Olina, Halekulani, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa and elsewhere.

Chef Roy Yamaguchi is simply a co-founder of nan Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.

Roy Yamaguchi

Co-founder and James Beard Award-winning cook Roy Yamaguchi said to maine this week astir this year’s show and what “lucky number 13” intends to him.

David Hochman: What's different astir Hawaii Food & Wine from each different festivals for you?

Chef Roy Yamaguchi: First of all, this show itself is ever different. This is our 13th year, and we deliberation of thirteen, successful Asia, arsenic a fortunate year—another stepping chromatic towards moving into nan future. Hawaii’s Food & Wine Festival ever has a typical vibe because group really want to beryllium here. It’s Hawaii! And nan chefs and mixologists and winemakers who travel bring truthful overmuch flare and goodness because everyone is emotion great.

David Hochman: What’s breathtaking connected nan lineup for this year?

Chef Roy Yamaguchi: Mark Pittman made group truthful happy past twelvemonth pinch his Texas barbecue and will beryllium present again. We person our locals for illustration Sheldon Simeon from Tiffany’s Restaurant successful Wailuku, and Robynne Maii, from Fête successful Honolulu, who won a James Beard Award past year. Gaby Maeda, who grew up successful Hawaii, is now a rising prima astatine State Bird Provisions successful San Francisco. The wineries that travel are ever amazing: Château Pape Clément, Duckhorn, Mayacamas, and more. And, of course, our mixologists. Julie Reiner ever comes backmost from New York. Jen Ackrill is local. Tony Abou-Ganim is successful from Vegas. It’s a world excavation of talent!

David Hochman: When visitors to Hawaii want to return nan flavors backmost location pinch them, what do you urge that they do?

Chef Roy Yamaguchi: Well, number 1 is, Hawaiian nutrient is simply a spirit. It's a authorities of mind. It’s relaxed, it’s fresh, it’s flavorful and it mixes each nan different ethnicities that make Hawaii Hawaii. That starts pinch each nan flavors from astir Asia, because each those flavors are portion of Hawaiian culture. If you tin someway incorporated that operation into your style of cooking, you’re connected your way. If you want to spell deeper, you tin effort a laulau (pork and butterfish wrapped successful ti leaves) aliases kalua pork, which you tin make successful a slow cooker. People sensation those and say, “That’s Hawaii!” But astatine nan extremity of nan day, if you’re smoking something, if you’re barbecuing thing pinch immoderate Hawaiian flavors, that’s going to beryllium a spot hit.

David Hochman: After a very reliable twelvemonth for Hawaii, pinch nan fires and tragedies, what does it mean to beryllium capable to stitchery astatine an arena for illustration this?

Chef Roy Yamaguchi: It has been a difficult clip for truthful galore people. We person 2 restaurants connected nan land successful Maui, and pinch each nan devastation, nan fires successful Lahaina and besides upcountry, there’s still a batch to spell done and process. We want to beryllium pinch our organization to support them. One of nan ways we do that is by helping families that request to work. With tourism slowing successful nan aftermath of nan fires, group present are eager to activity again if only because, you know, they person mortgages to salary and different financial burdens. The Kokua Restaurant & Hospitality Fund for Maui has done an unthinkable occupation supporting nan needs of displaced edifice workers and hospitality workers. They’ve raised adjacent to $700,000 to date. For us, this show is simply a ceremony of Hawaii, and of nan Hawaiian tone and flavors, and I’m conscionable grateful we’re capable to acquisition this again together. Doing things for illustration this, it’s nan champion measurement forward.

This question and reply has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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