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The Hapuna Beach Prince Resort on the Big Island held its poke festival Sunday as normal -- but without Choy.
"They kind of stole it from me," Choy said. He recalled being surprised by a "your- services-will-no-longer-be-required" letter from the resort just after the 2003 festival. "I thought it was going to be a thank-you note."
Resort spokeswoman Aven Wright-McIntosh said the hotel and the chef disagreed on the direction for the event. She was reluctant to go into details.
"Sam was looking for more than we were willing to provide," she said.
Choy insisted that his involvement has always been to promote poke, not himself, but also declined to argue the matter further.
Choy has been associated with the poke festival since it began in 1991 as a community event in the town of Waimea. In 1995, the Prince resort became the host-sponsor. The heart of the event has always been a poke-making contest, although a companion golf tournament and auction helped raise money for charity.
Choy is planning his own poke festival, Nov. 14, at Oahu's Turtle Bay Resort, and said he is going to call it the 13th annual Sam Choy Poke Festival.
And the event at Hapuna? It was billed as the 13th annual Aloha Festivals Poke Festival.
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