'Gourmet Affair' also a reunion

Todd English: Cooks for charity on March 27.

This year's guest chef at the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters fund-raising gala has first-hand experience with this special cause.

Todd English, owner of the Olives and Figs chain of restaurants, is a one-time little brother. He'll be reunited at the March 27 dinner with his former big brother, Bruce Cross.

English joins Hawaii chef Sam Choy, who hosts the Gourmet Affair event each year, in preparing the evening's dinner. This year's event celebrates the 100th anniversary of the organization, which pairs children from single-parent families with adult mentors.

English opened his first restaurant, Olives in Cambridge, Mass., in 1989, and quickly became known for his contemporary take on Mediterranean cuisine. He won the James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef and later Best Chef of the Northeast. He now owns six Olives restaurants, five Figs, Fish Club in Seattle, Bonfire and King Fish Hall in Boston, Tuscany in Connecticut and BlueZoo at Disney World in Florida. His next project is a restaurant aboard the Queen Mary 2.

He hosts the Public Television show, "Cooking In with Todd English," and is a frequent guest on the Food Network.

Gourmet Affair will be held at 6 p.m. March 27 in the Tapa Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Tickets are $200, which includes admission to live and silent auctions. Reservations due by March 19. Call 521-3811.

Eating tour

Food writer Walter Rhee hosts an eating tour, "Honolulu's Best Asian Restaurants," 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Cost is $53, which includes all food and drinks. For reservations and meeting place, e-mail or call 391-1550.


'Miss Saigon' due

"Miss Saigon" will be the cornerstone of Army Community Theater's 2004-05 season, with the production slated to run Feb. 24 through March 19, 2005, when troops assigned to the Middle East are expected to return to Hawaii.

ACT, headquartered at Fort Shafter's Richardson Theatre, is the first community theater west of the Mississippi River to secure rights to the blockbuster musical that launched the Broadway and national touring careers of many Hawaii performers, according to Vanita Rae Smith, producer for the organization.

"Miss Saigon," with music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Alain Boubil and Richard Maltby Jr., is the classic Vietnam Era retelling of "Madame Butterfly."

Season tickets are available at the ACT box office, with current subscribers guaranteed their same seats through April 15. Tickets are $62. Call 438-4480.

"We anticipate 'Miss Saigon' to be the biggest blockbuster in the history of the Army Community Theatre," said Smith.

Details on auditions are pending.

Also in the season line-up:

>> "West Side Story," Sept. 9 through 25.
>> "The King and I," Nov. 18 through Dec. 4.
>> "The Secret Garden," starring Laurence Paxton, May 12 through 29, 2005.

Japan wizards tested

The Japan-America Society of Hawaii is holding its first "Japan Wizards Competition" Sunday at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

The statewide academic team competition presents an opportunity for students from two public and two private schools to earn trips to Japan this summer.

The event is designed to motivate high school students to learn about the Japanese culture outside of the classroom, while developing research and teamwork skills. Teams of three students will be tested on topics including arts and culture, daily life, economics and government, history, geography, transportation, sports, language, and values and beliefs.

The competition will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Call Alana Yoshiko Anderson, 524-4450 or e-mail

Music legends feted

Kawai Cockett is among musicians to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts March 14.

The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts will salute five music industry veterans with the presentation of five Lifetime Achievement Awards March 14:

Kawai Cockett: Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning vocalist and traditional Hawaiian music recording artist. His signature song is "Beautiful Kauai."

Bill Kaiwa: Recording artist, musician and showroom headliner whose signature song is "Boy from Laupahoehoe."

Peter Moon: A leader in the late '70s renaissance of Hawaiian music, leader of the Peter Moon Band and Sunday Manoa, record producer, distributor, concert producer and promoter.

Marlene Sai: Waikiki showroom headliner, Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning vocalist and record company executive whose signature songs are "Waikiki," "Kainoa" and "I Love You."

Ka'upena Wong: Chanter, recording artist, film narrator, Hawaiian cultural leader and consultant.

They will be recognized during a luncheon at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. The event will start at 11 a.m. Tickets are $55. Call the academy, 235-9424.

Segments will be taped for inclusion in the broadcast of the 27th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards show May 24.

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