Articles from September 2013

New Chefs, Product Booths Debut at 2013 Taste

There’s something for everyone at the 18th annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village:

  • Enjoy fresh food using local ingredients—starring forage-fed meats—by 35 chefs
  • Taste local ag and value-added products and meet the folks who produce them
  • Browse among ag-related educational displays

Culinary Newbies

Chef Ronnie Nasuti

Chef Ronnie Nasuti

Five of the 35 participating restaurants are Taste first timers. Like the rest of the Taste chefs, they are assigned to prepare 100 pounds of a certain cut of grass-fed beef—or lamb, mutton, goat or commercial and feral pork.

Pork is on the menu for two new participants. The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa is partnering to use commercial pork with Kamehameha Schools. Chef Cory Nazara of Mahina Café in Captain Cook is serving her version of kalua pork.

Debuting from O’ahu is Chef Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki’s Grill & Bar in Waikiki, who is preparing mutton; and Chef Mark Noguchi of Pili Hawai’i and TASTE Table in Honolulu, who is assigned to prepare beef skirt.

Newly opened Pueo’s Osteria in Waikoloa Village is also making a first appearance at this year’s event and preparing lamb. Chef Jim Babian, a staunch supporter of local ranchers and farmers, owns the new Waikoloa Village Restaurant. Chef Babian, who recently served as executive chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, is no stranger to Taste and last year presented Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101 to a sell-out crowd.

Booths and Displays

Hawaiian Granola Company

Hawaiian Granola Company debuts at Taste 2013

In addition to “grazing” at a host of culinary stations, festival goers can enjoy samples from a variety of Hawai‘i’s local food producers offering tastes of their products. Also on display are ag-related educational exhibits.

Barbara Andersen of Hawaiian Granola Company debuts tastes of her original recipe breakfast treat at this year’s Taste. The Hilo resident started making granola for guests at her Shipman House Bed and Breakfast in 1997, focusing on using local macadamia nuts, plus mac nut honey and oil.

Hawaiian Granola Company also concocts recipes using island-sourced ginger, coconut and coffee. Andersen says the granola is “pure, with few other ingredients,” including brown cane sugar, vanilla and oats. “I use nice, chewy oats that have a heft to them, which gives granola a nice body.”

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel serves Hawaiian Granola at its Sunday brunch and it’s sold at isle retailers.

Got Pork?

Pork Industry booth at the Hawaii State Farm Fair.

Pork Industry booth at the Hawaii State Farm Fair.

On the heels of a recent, new event that promotes heritage breed pigs, Cochon Island, the Hawaii Pork Industry Assoc. (HPIA) returns to Taste with an educational booth that offers tastes of char sui and smoked commercial pork.

Dr. Halina Zaleski, extension specialist with UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, says the booth provides info on pork’s nutritional value and how to best prepare it.

“People tend to overcook pork; there’s no need to make it into shoe leather,” she says. “It should be cooked to 145 degrees and can still have some pink to it; it should be juicy.”

The booth will also be staffed by Big Isle residents Ron and Daphne McKeehan of Ahualoa Hog Farm and Ryan Okimoto, livestock technician at UH-Hilo’s Panaewa Farm.

With a goal to educate and support all 200 of Hawai’i’s pork producers, the HIPA also promotes the use of pork.

Get Your Tickets!

Chef Hubert Des Marais

Chef Hubert Des Marais

Pre-Taste activities include a culinary demo, with sampling, on how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef. Time is 3 p.m. for the 2013 installment of Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101 and the fee is $10. This year’s guest presenter is Executive Chef Hubert Des Marais of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, who will be preparing boneless brisket and tongue.

For details on purchasing tickets online or islandwide for the evening Taste and Cooking 101 demo, visit Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Taste tickets remain priced at $40 presale and $60 at the door. Watch for ticket giveaways and event updates on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Hawai’i residents can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $229 per room on Oct. 4 that includes two tickets for Taste. For details, and to book a stay under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit or call 1-800-HILTONS.


Look Who’s Cookin’ at Taste of the Hawaiian Range: Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Pili Hawai‘i and TASTE Table

Mark Noguchi

Mark Noguchi

A native of O’ahu who spent his early 20’s dancing with Halau o Kekuhi in Hilo, Mark “Gooch” Noguchi makes his debut at Taste in 2013. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific and the Culinary Institute of America, Noguchi was tapped as having the “Most Innovative Restaurant” and the “Best Loco Moco” while at He‘eia Kea Pier General Store & Deli. Known as a culinary leader in Hawai’i’s sustainable food movement, Mark serves as a panelist and/or featured chef for statewide events, including the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival, Taste of the Nation-Hawai‘i and Cochon Island Hawai’i. The modest, award-winning chef prefers to be known as a “cook,” so we are dropping “chef” before his name in this blog.

Culinary Background

After finishing culinary school in New York and working at Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, Noguchi returned to Hawai‘i to serve as lead cook at the former Kona Village Resort. He had other culinary stints at Chef Mavro, TOWN Restaurant and He‘eia Kea Pier Deli before serving as co-founder and chef of Pili Hawai’i and partner/chef at TASTE Table, a permanent pop-up venue that encourages new and experienced chefs to showcase their talents.

At Pili Hawai‘i (pili means interconnected), Noguchi offers catering and consulting based on the idea of providing “thoughtful” food…meaning Pili emphasizes place-based resourcing. Sourcing food within the ahupua’a (ancient Hawaiian division of land from the mountain-to-the sea) for an event is a core value of Pili, as well as resourcing from the best food producers Hawai’i has to offer.

Q: How would you describe your cooking style and please give some examples.

A: It draws upon a frame reference. I grew up with Japanese food and learned European techniques when travelling. I used to dance and that was a catalyst for learning about food. Our halau was fed by families wherever we went and our hosts utilized awesome ingredients and served real authentic food. I draw upon all these experiences. Today, I take ingredients we have and come up with a menu. The sense of frugality in real home cooking is you have this and that and you make a delicious meal to feed people. That’s the reality in preparing food at home or in a professional kitchen.

Q: Why do you use grass-fed beef (GFB)?

A: It tastes good; it’s our job to use as much as possible.  When you taste something good, all the other factors—having no antibiotics or hormones, that range-fed is better for the animal— factor into that result.

Q: What are your favorite GFB cuts and why?

A: I ask my rancher what’s not moving (selling) and then I use that. Chefs are selfish…we call our purveyors and ask for a specific thing, but as cooks we should be talking to farmers, creating a dialogue, and asking what they have available. So my faves are the less-utilized cuts…in five years I’ve never had a tenderloin on the menu; everyone wants it.

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

A: We try to push attributes of products subtly; we list ranches, farms…and if guests choose to inquire more, than we only share the details. Screaming sustainable is out-of-date, so we don’t do it as we should be doing it already.

Q: What other local food products are your favorite and why?

A: I really enjoy local brassica: cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Q: What are your favorite “fun” things to do here in Hawai‘i? 

A: I try to be outside, in the water or up in the mountains. I try to get away from four walls.

TASTE Table is open 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday at 667 Auahi St., Honolulu (Kaka‘ako), HI, 808-240-1096, Contact Pili Hawaii at 808-240-1096X1,


Grass-Fed Beef Recipe: Grilled Skirt Steak, Mizuna & Farro Salad

By Mark “Gooch” Noguchi

Serves 6-8

NOTE: This recipe looks hard because of all the components; however, it can be broken down into separate days. Beef and Farro can be made on day 1, Grilling & Finishing of the Salad on day 2.

Steak preparation:

2 lbs              Grass-fed skirt steak
3                    Clove garlic, minced
4-6 pc           Green onion bottoms, crushed (from salad prep)
1 Tbl              Shio Koji  (description:
1 pc                Hawaiian Chili pepper, minced
2 Tbl              Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients and marinate 4-6 hours.


1lb                  Farro or Barley
1 pc                Carrot, diced
1 stalk            Celery, diced
1/2                 Sm. onion, diced (reserve other 1/2 for finishing)
1/4 c              Sake
2 1/4 c           Vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
2 Tbsp           White miso
2 pc                Bay Leaf
3-4 pc            Parsley Stems (from salad prep)
2-4 Tbl          Olive Oil

In a heavy pot with a lid, saute onion, carrot, & celery until onions begin to turn translucent.

Add farro and toast, it should start to turn brown and begin to release a nutty aroma.

Add sake, deglaze until alcohol smell dissipates.

Add stock, miso, bay and parsley stems.

Turn down to a low simmer, cover and let it go for 18-20 minutes.

Farro should be al dente, if not, and the pot is almost dry, add a little more liquid and continue to simmer until done.

Pour into a cookie pan and let cool; farro can be made a day ahead.

To finish:

Light a grill; while it’s heating, prepare the following:

1/2                  Small onion, thinly sliced with the grain
3 Tbl               Flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
3 Tbl               Green onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbl               Rice wine vinegar
1 pt.                Cherry tomatoes, halved
TT                   Salt and pepper
1lb                  Mizuna, stem on (Can substitute kale, dandelion greens or chard)
2 Tbl               Olive oil
TT                   Salt and pepper

Drizzle olive oil on mizuna; season with salt and pepper.

On the grill, while it’s still ripping hot, char quickly mizuna on both sides, any flame-ups can be controlled with that beer in your other hand.

Remove from the fire, and rough chop, now combine all ingredients with the farro. Adjust to taste and reserve.

Now take your marinated skirt steak, season it with salt and pepper and grill to desired temperature. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing (IMPORTANT!)

Slice thinly and serve with the farro salad.

TASTE Table is open 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday at 667 Auahi St., Honolulu (Kaka‘ako), HI, 808-240-1096, Contact Pili Hawaii at 808-240-1096X1,