PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY KIP AOKI / KAOKI@STARBULLETIN.COM
Joining Roy Yamaguchi, left, for October events celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Hawaii Kai restaurant will be Nobu Matsuhisa and Charlie Trotter, plus a long list of other prominent chefs.
Chef Roy Yamaguchi assembles an all-star lineup from all corners of the world for an anniversary
harlie Trotter, Charlie Palmer, Ming Tsai, John Besh, Nobu Matsuhisa.
If these names don't ring any bells with you, what you're about to read won't impress you much. But if you're a chef groupie, a Food Network devotee, a foodie on at least an intermediate level, this news should set off your wow meter.
Hawaii chef Roy Yamaguchi plans to bring these all-stars, plus at least 18 more high-profile chefs, to town in October for the 20th anniversary of his Hawaii Kai flagship restaurant -- the one that launched the Roy's empire of 35 restaurants worldwide.
The chefs will be divided between two events -- a dinner for 250 at the unlikely site of the fish auction on Pier 38 Oct. 4 and a "grazing" event for 1,000 at Kapiolani Community College the next night. Both will be benefits for local culinary programs.
They will be pricey. Roy's President Rainer Kumbroch said ticket sales will begin in the summer, with the fish auction dinner going for $10,000 per table of 10. Price of the KCC dinner is tentatively set at $200.
As for those chefs: Trotter's Chicago restaurant and Palmer's Aureole in New York are among the nation's top tables; Besh is a New Orleans chef who was runner-up in the Food Network's "The Next Iron Chef" competition. Matsuhisa, of course, founded the famed Nobu's restaurants, including Nobu Waikiki. Tsai is an award-winning Boston-based chef who's gained celebrity status on television.
Also among those expected for the anniversary are Lee Hefter of Spago in Beverly Hills, former "Iron Chef" Hiroyuki Sakai, Hiro Sone of Terra in Napa Valley, Alessandro Stratta of Alex in Las Vegas, Rick Tramonto of Chicago's Tru and Tetsuya Wakuda of Tetsuya's in Australia.
"I want people to taste what the world has to offer," Yamaguchi said.
By the way, why the fish auction? Kumbroch said Yamaguchi wanted a singular venue. A cocktail reception will be held inside the building, he said, and dinner service out on the waterfront. "It's not a real glamorous spot out there on the wharf, and that's what makes it unique."
A makeover for Roy's
In preparation for its approaching 20th birthday, Roy's Hawaii Kai closes Thursday for 35 days of renovations.
"The entire kitchen comes out -- floor and all," Kumbroch said. Furnishings will all be replaced, "taking it from the '80s to the new millennium."