Articles from June 2012

Look Who’s Cookin’ at Taste of the Hawaiian Range: Joshua Ketner of Hilo Bay Café

Josh Ketner

Chef Joshua Ketner, Courtesy Hilo Bay Café

At last year’s Taste, Chef Joshua Ketner wowed the crowd with his preparation of whole island pork by offering a tantalizing porchetta-whole boneless pig stuffed with herbs, then carefully rolled and roasted with pork demi glace.

It’s no surprise that Chef Ketner and Hilo Bay Café has a loyal following of patrons and has chalked up rave reviews on Zagat and yelp!. The unassuming restaurant has generated national media attention in magazines such as Food and Wine, Gourmet, and Sunset, and it has won accolades, including the prestigious Hale ‘Aina award several years running. In today’s Taste It blog, Chef Ketner shares his thoughts on using grass-fed beef. The Midwest native, who hails from Moline, Ill. and enjoys fishing and spending time with his young family, says he earned his culinary chops during “on the job training.”

Q and A

Roast Pig

In 2009, USDA wild boar debuted at Taste and Chef Joshua Ketner showed how to prepare it expertly on a spit to the delight of camera-toting attendees. It was one of the event's most popular culinary stations.

Q: Why did you become involved with the culinary arts?
A: The Culinary arts are my passion dating back to age 4; I started in the business at age 14.

Q: How would you describe your cooking style and please give some examples.
A: New American, eclectic, French, with Asian undertones….For example, we offer grass-fed rib eye with Johnson farms rainbow swiss chard, roasted yukon gold potatoes, balsamic-red wine bordelaise and tapenade butter. We serve grass-fed barbecued beef brisket with savory paniolo bread pudding, local, organic green beans and barbecue-red wine bordelaise.

Q: Why do you use grass-fed beef (GFB)?
A: Here at Hilo Bay Café, we believe it is good for our community and our environment, plus it tastes wonderful.

Q: What are your favorite GFB cuts and why?
A: It’s got to be 21-day, dry-aged rib eye- the marbling, taste and tenderness all work together.

Q: Do you let patrons know on your menu they are eating GFB?
A: Yes

Q: What other local food products are your favorite and why?
A: We use mainly all local/organic products. This makes it hard to single out a few “favorites.” At the heart of our food is the belief that local and organic ingredients are better for the Earth and for you.

Q: Are you participating in the 2012 Taste?
A: Yes

Hilo Bay Café is located at 315 Ma’akala St. in Waiakea Center in Hilo. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Reservations are recommended, 808-935-4939, Follow Hilo Bay Café on facebook.

Cooking Tip

“Use first-rate ingredients and then let the flavors come through,” says Chef Ketner. “Cook to enhance the flavor, not cover it up.”

Chef likes to reinvent classical dishes, such as Wellington and potpie. He adds a modern twist, focusing especially on flavor and texture combinations as he feels both are “critical components” of his dishes. When asked to sample something by Chef Joshua, he suggests you don’t just take a bite of one thing. He insists you “take a little of everything on the plate, and load up your fork to get the full effect…”


Nutritional Benefits of Grass-fed Beef

Yankee Pot Roast

Yankee Pot Roast

Braised short ribs….Grilled sirloin steak…savory pot roast…a big, juicy hamburger.

If you’re like the millions of people on the planet who love beef-you’re not alone.

Beef has many beneficial nutrients: protein for building strong muscles, B vitamins to turn food into energy, zinc to boost the immune system and iron, which delivers oxygen to cells to produce energy.

But beef-like all red meats-gets a bad rap for being higher in cholesterol and saturated fat than chicken and other white meats. It’s also reputed to contain antibiotics and growth hormones. What to do?

Meatloaf Umeke

'Umeke Market offered a Kim Chee Meatloaf at last year's Taste

It Has the Good Fats

David Katz, MD, of Prevention magazine says, “Grass-fed beef is higher in healthy unsaturated fats and lower in saturated fats than less expensive steak from conventionally raised cows…”

Research has proven grass-fed beef is lower in fat and calories than its grain-fed counterpoint. It is rich in the good fats-omega 3 fatty acids.

A May 2012 article in Prevention reported: “Grass-fed beef is not only better for the planet, it’s also better for people. It has more antioxidants-including vitamins C and E and beta-carotene-than grain-fed beef, and doesn’t have added hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs. And while it’s lower in fat overall, it’s about two to four times higher in omega-3s.”

Eddie Aikau

Eddie Aikau Restaurant used beef shoulder to prepare this tasty tidbit by at the 2011 Taste

You Are What You Eat

The article cited a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition that studied healthy volunteers who ate grass-fed meat. The study group increased their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and decreased their levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. “These changes have been linked with a lower risk of a host of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and inflammatory disease.”

Studies have also shown grass-fed beef is high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). According to the “Health Advocate,” this fat is known to reduce the risk for cancer and high triglycerides as well as to fight diabetes and abdominal obesity. Free-range-produced eggs also provide CLA but not as much as grass-fed beef.

The natural health website,, sums it up best, “Beef, in its natural grass-fed state, is a health food of the highest order.”