Fancy eats on menu
at 10-day food fest

Kahala Mandarin's food and
wine event begins tomorrow

Events schedule

By Betty Shimabukuro

Why should the neighbor islands have all the fun?

Despite all the restaurants and big-name chefs on this island, the major food festivals have made their permanent homes at resorts on the Big Island and Maui.

Wayne Woods and Wayne Hirabayashi, the food and beverage manager and executive chef, respectively, at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental, decided it was time for an Oahu fest of fancy eating.

After all, they have a premier hotel, too, so why couldn't they attract guests with gourmet palates? Why couldn't they draw chefs with national reputations for a few days of cooking and beach time?

"We wanted to give it a shot here on Oahu," Woods said.

Last year's inaugural Food & Wine Festival centered on one guest chef, Bernard Dance of the champagne-maker Moët Chandon. "It was a good manageable size for us at the beginning as far as seeing what we could pull off."

Then came Sept. 11. With the festival scheduled for just six weeks later, the hotel struggled with the decision to go forward. "It actually turned out to be quite a success," Woods said. "We didn't think the response would be that great, but our events ended up selling out. I must say it surprised us."

With the first year licked, the Waynes decided to go bigger this year. They are bringing in four mainland chefs and a host of Hawaii chefs for 15 events spread over 10 days, starting tomorrow. Mainly these are upscale dining events, featuring fine wines and price tags up to $325 per person. But there are also buffets in the $40 to $50 range, seminars starting at $25 and a fondue night for $35.

This year begins what Woods hopes will be a lasting relationship with the James Beard Foundation. The closing event is a benefit dinner for the culinary foundation.

Flying in for the festivities are Douglas Rodriguez of Chicama and David Burke of Park Avenue Cafe, both in New York City; Kenneth Oringer from Clio's in Boston; and Michael Glinor, president of Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

Take note of that last name. Hudson Valley Foie Gras is the standard bearer when it comes to the delicacy of duck liver. Glinor will prepare it three ways in three dinners: shabu-shabu style with abalone, sautéed with kumquats and in a flan with truffles. Hawaii chef Philippe Padovani will serve it marinated in sauterne and with pan-fried moana over a lentil ragout.

Padovani and Hirabayashi share a connection that dates back decades, when Padovani was executive chef at the Halekulani and Hirabayashi was sous chef. "I call him Papa-vani," Hirabayashi said. "When I started cooking -- real cooking -- he was my chef, and he grew me up."

Padovani also gave him valuable lessons on the business side of running a restaurant, how to talk people, watch the bottom line, control costs -- "how to look both ways when you cross the street."

The two chefs will celebrate their relationship with a Mentor-Mentee dinner Saturday, each chef preparing three dishes. This is where Padovani will offer his moana-foie gras creation. Hirabayashi will counter with his delicacy of choice: sharks fin, braised, with crab and mushrooms. He'll also add sharks fin to risotto, served with roast duck at another dinner Oct. 17.

Why? Sharks fin adds distinctive texture "and that brand-name thing," he said. Plus, it helps contrast his Asian roots to Padovani's French. "I wanted to pick something extravagant, rarely seen outside a Chinese restaurant."


Food and Wine
Festival Events

For information, menus and reservations call 739-8890.


Evolution: Welcome reception featuring eight of the Hawaiian Island Chefs, plus cheese station and dessert buffet; 7 to 9 p.m. Cost is $55, to benefit Kapiolani Community College culinary programs.


Progression: Champagne reception and five-course dinner featuring chefs Philippe Padovani (Padovani's Restaurant), Wayne Hirabayashi (Kahala Mandarin Oriental), Göran Streng (Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki), Russell Siu (3660 on the Rise) and Mark Okumura (Alan Wong's); 6 to 10 p.m. $110, with wine pairings.


Mentor/Mentee: Six-course dinner featuring chefs Padovani and Hirabayashi; 7 to 10 p.m.; $220.


All That Jazz: Champagne brunch with the Betty Loo Taylor Trio; 10:30 to 2 p.m.; $50.

Chocolate Fondue by Starlight: Stargazing with desserts; 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.; $35.


For the Soul: Lecture on tea blending by Lynette Jee of Pacific Place, followed by afternoon tea service; 2 to 4 p.m.; $25.

Say Cheese: Cheese and wine tasting led by Karen Syrmos of King Foods; 6 to 8 p.m.; $50.


Flavors of the Pacific: Champagne reception and five-course dinner featuring chefs Hirabayashi, Douglas Lum (Mariposa), Chai Chaowasaree (Chai's Island Bistro) and Will Queja, Joshua Nudd and Mark Silva (Hoku's); 6 to 10 p.m.; $85, with wine pairings.

Art of Glass: Lecture on glasses that enhance the flavor of wines by Don Restivo of Riedel Wine Glass Co., followed by wine tasting; 6 to 8 p.m.; $75.

Oct. 16

James Beard Reception: Featuring Hirabayashi and visiting chefs David Burke (Park Avenue Cafe, New York), Michael Ginor (Hudson Valley Foie Gras), Kenneth Oringer (Clio's, Boston) and Douglas Rodriguez (Chicama, New York). With cheese and satay stations and sushi bar. Cost is $65 with wines, to benefit Leeward Community College culinary programs.

Oct. 17

Kahala Grille: Dinner buffet; 5:30 to 10 p.m.; $42 ($21 children).

Indulgence: Six-course dinner featuring chefs Hirabayashi, Rodriguez, Oringer, Ginor and Burke, plus pastry chef Mark Silva; 7 to 10 p.m. Cost is $325, including wine pairings.

Oct. 18

Oceans: Seafood dinner buffet, 5:30 to 10 p.m.; $42 ($21 children).

Cooking Class: Demonstration and tasting by the visiting chefs, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $100, including wine tasting.

Oct. 19

Friends of James Beard Finale Benefit: Eight-course dinner featuring the visiting chefs, plus Hirabayashi, Streng, Padovani, Silva and Okumura; 6 to 10 p.m. Cost is $275, with wines, to benefit the James Beard Foundation.

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