What the Heck?
PHOTO COURTESY OF TWAIN NEWHART
Chefs Philippe Padovani and Donato Loperfido go head to head at the SubZero/Wolf Showroom in a private party for Kapiolani Health Foundation.
Warning: Too many cooks in the kitchen
Kapiolani Health Foundation threw a little party, not really a fundraising event, for its long-term major donors, folks like Stanford and Kathy Carr, Jeff and Loan Arce, Cheryl Richards.
The attraction: a head-to-head cook-off featuring the odd couple of the Hawaii restaurant scene, Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani, who usually alternate nights at their joint restaurant, Elua.
"Everybody thought we were nuts, putting these two together in the same kitchen," said their partner Keith Kiuchi, who pointed out the restaurant was celebrating its first anniversary.
"Of course, they don't usually cook side by side like they are going to tonight," Kiuchi said -- "which may be why we made it a year."
Getting ahead of herself
Last month, Hawaii Business Magazine published a list of the Top 100 Residential Realtors in the state -- and then threw them all a party at the Royal Hawaiian, including a private concert by Cecilio and Kapono.
Several dozen Maui Realtors flew over for the event. One, Kathy Worley, came twice.
A week earlier, Worley flew to Honolulu, cabbed to the Royal Hawaiian and found herself arguing with the staff that the party must be there somewhere. "I finally figured out I was a week ahead of myself," she said. "No problem. I went over to the bar and ordered a double Crown Royal Manhattan. Then I went shopping at Nordy's."
Worley returned this week for the real deal. Said she, "It gives new meaning to the phrase 'hana hou.'"
What we have here is a failure to masticate
To celebrate its expansion to Samoa, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue created the Matai Plate, a 3-pound plate lunch -- three scoops rice, two of mac salad, plenny chicken and beef.
You don't have to fly to Samoa to get one. Last Tuesday the Iwilei L&L offered a free $11.95 Matai Plate to the first 10 people who could finish it in 10 minutes.
A dozen folks tried and failed. "It was disappointing," said L&L's Brandon Dela Cruz. "They couldn't even finish it when we gave them an extra five minutes."
On being Sally-Jo
Famished after getting up at 4:30 a.m. to promote her new book, "The Heart of Being Hawaiian," on the morning news, writer Sally-Jo Bowman breakfasted at Grand Cafe.
"I've been working on this book for 30 years," she said. "I just didn't know it." It's a collection of 30 magazine articles, many of them prize-winning, about being Hawaiian.
"Blood is only the beginning of being Hawaiian," Bowman said. "You need knowledge, a connection to the natural world and ... relationships."
Relationships indeed. This is how she introduces herself in print: "Never mind the journalism degrees and writing achievements. I am the younger Pierre Bowman's older sister, Uncle Wright's niece, Scotty's cousin. I am KS '58. I am Kailua, Oahu. Now we can talk."
Rising star at the Willows
Quite the audience for singer-songwriter Mailani Makainai at the Willows last weekend.
In the front row was Jake Shimabukuro's producer, Tracey "Dr. Trey" Terada. Next to him was Mountain Apple Co. President Leah Bernstein.
Both are betting Mailani is the next big thing in Hawaiian music.
Mountain Apple just inked Mailani to the label. "I was worried I'd never heard her," Bernstein said -- something of an exaggeration since the singer has done acclaimed work with groups Keahiwai and Mighty J. "OK," Bernstein said, "but I've never heard her sing like this, by herself."
"If you think she sounds good here, you should hear her in the studio," Terada said. Her first solo album, contemporary Hawaiian, will be called "Mai Kali a Niho a Pau."
"That means, 'Don't wait until your teeth fall out,'" she says. "Don't put things off until you are too old."
How old are you? I asked the singer, who looked like a kid in her short gingham sundress. "I'm 28," she said. "But could you write down 25?"
A couple of years ago, Bill Bigelow saw me in the market, called my name. Hearing your name in Bigelow's resonant bass voice was like being paged by one of God's announcers.
Which might be Bigelow's current gig -- since he died two weeks ago today at home. Bill was a TV and radio reporter, an author, Sheraton's head of PR, an actor.
I remember him for two things. First, his quixotic attempt to resurrect "Hawaii Calls" as a national radio show. And that big, loud, wonderful voice, now quiet.
Serenity for 40,000
You probably saw the Star-Bulletin's wrap-around coverage on the Lantern Floating ceremony -- or at least saw the stunning front-page photo.
The event was a photographer's dream. As I stood with my feet in the warm water, one of hundreds of people about to release a paper lantern, I sometimes thought there were more photographers than participants.
I didn't go to the event to write about it. I went because I lost my 86-year-old mother a few months ago and wanted to float a lantern in her memory.
You can see the pageantry during KGMB's replay this evening. But I don't know if I can explain to you what it was like to be there.
I talked to Roy Ho, who heads up the massive annual effort, about how well he handled the 40,000 people who showed up. "It's the mildest, most well-mannered crowd you'll ever encounter," he said.
That's also true of Ho's hundreds of volunteers, who through planning and effort managed to make the massive event seem serene, so people could focus on their own thoughts yet feel they were part of something larger.
It's not just a ceremony to honor the dead, I told Ho. It's an act of kindness to the living, as well.
"I hope that's true," he said, "that everyone who came would leave feeling consoled."