Taste 2016 Diverts 96% of Waste from Landfill, Cooking 101 Recipes Posted

Waste Diagram

Total wastes generated at 2016 Taste of the Hawaiian Range.
Credit: Courtesy Dr. Norman Arancon/UH-Hilo

Recycling efforts at the 2016 Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range diverted a whopping 1,456.3 pounds of waste from the landfill. A waste total of 1,513.79 pounds was generated with 96.2 percent of it diverted or “recovered” as compostables, mixed recyclables, HI-5 redemption and food waste that was distributed to local piggeries. The adjacent diagram shows the breakdown of total waste by pounds and percent.

Recycling Taste of the Hawaiian Range 2016

Kanu O Ka ‘Aina students staffed the many waste stations.
Credit: Fern Gavelek

The County of Hawai’i spearheaded the massive Zero Waste effort, which was assisted by students at Kanu o Ka ‘Aina School. Honoka‘a Intermediate/High School and UH-Hilo. Dr. Norman Arancon of the University of Hawai‘i compiled the waste report and supervised the weighing of the waste.

The 21st annual event at Hilton Waikoloa Village proved to hundreds of attendees and participating culinarians that pasture-raised beef tastes good and can be used to make satisfying dishes. A wide variety of beef cuts —everything from tongue to tail—were assigned and prepared at 29 culinary stations, plus pork, lamb, mutton and goat.

Food at Taste of the Hawaiian Range 2016

A wide variety of meat cuts were used to tantalize attendees.
Credit: Fern Gavelek

In addition, there were 40 product/educational displays. Some booths shared tastes of goodies, like honey and balsamic vinegar, while others offered compelling agricultural displays and informational handouts on topics like Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death.

Culinary student component

Sheraton Kona at Taste of the Hawaiian Range 2016

One of several culinary stations positioned outdoors on the Lagoon Lanai was the Sheraton Kona.
Credit: Fern Gavelek

Hawai‘i Community College (HCC) culinary students from both East and West Hawai‘i helped chefs and product booths dish out thousands of tasty samples. They included 21 students and three instructors from West Hawai‘i and 52 students, six graduates and four instructors from East Hawai‘i.

Students also were assigned meat cuts to prepare and serve at their own culinary stations. Hilo students were assigned tripe and served Munudo. “It’s a Mexican stew that’s known as a hangover remedy,” smiled Brian Hirata, chef instructor of culinary arts in Hilo.

Food producer Hawaii Lassi

Food producer Hawaii Lassi of Akaml Foods offered a fruity yogurt drink.
Credit: Fern Gavelek

Those studying Asian cookery at HCC in Kona prepared Indian Lamb Curry while those in the European class concocted Lamb Shish-Ka-Bobs. Both schools also offered a selection of desserts, including the popular chocolate-dipped cookies by Chef Fernand Guiot’s Kona students.

Educational activities open to all

Luisa Castro of the UH-Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service

Luisa Castro of the UH-Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service shared info on class offerings such as food preservation.
Credit: Fern Gavelek

Pre-gala activities were geared to students and home cooks. The first was a live demonstration, “Beef Carcass Butchering and Product Valuation.” Dr. Dale Woerner and Dr. Keith Belk of Colorado State University showed how a half-beef carcass is butchered into products while sharing the characteristics of each. The well-received demonstration instructed future chefs and food service personnel how to best utilize the whole carcass of pasture-raised cattle. In addition, the presentation was of value to the home cook wanting to learn where beef cuts come from.

Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 Recipes

Students at HCC-Hilo

Students at HCC-Hilo finish banana and chocolate chip cookies with a honey butter drizzle.

O’ahu chefs Kevin Hanney and J Schoonover of 12th Ave Grill and Kokohead Cafe demonstrated how to use beef tongue and beef short ribs during Pasture-Raised Beef Cooking 101. Attendees enjoyed samples. Click on these links for their recipes: Red Wine Braised Paniolo Beef Tongue with Sweet Pepper Soffrito and Coconut-Braised Big Island Beef Shortribs. NEED these recipe names LINKED TO WEBSITE PLZ.

HawCC culinary students

HawCC culinary students gather around the educational demo on beef butchering and product valuation.
Credit: Jeff Ikeda

Mahalo to the many others who helped make Taste a success! With a mission to provide a venue for sustainable agricultural education and support of locally produced ag products, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. Find a list of the 2016 supporters and participants, details on the Mealani Research Station—where Taste began—plus where to get grass-fed beef on the Big Isle AND recipes, at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.


Culinary Students Reap Benefits While Providing Service

Cooking Pasture Raised Beef 101 demonstration

The isle’s future food service professionals prepare plates for attendees during the Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 demonstration.

They first work behind the scenes, preparing food for their school’s culinary stations before even coming to Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. After arriving, they attend a pasture-raised, beef-related seminar and then observe and help serve guests at the Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 demo. After that, they assist chefs at culinary stations and serve Taste attendees from 6-8 p.m.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range couldn’t happen without the participation of the Hawaii Community College culinary students from both Hilo and Kona.

In fact, the event is staged, in part, for these future culinarians so they can learn the merits of pasture-raised beef…along with Taste attendees and participating chefs.

Student Benefits

Students work along side professionals to learn skills and make industry connections during the Taste gala.

Students work along side professionals to learn skills and make industry connections during the Taste gala.

In addition to learning about locally produced food at educational presentations, students experience first-hand how to work with different cuts of meat and industry professionals. They make connections with possible future employers and local food producers, sampling their produce and value-added products at the event.

For 2015, 63 collegiate culinary students participated, eight graduates and seven instructors. Kona students were assigned beef flank steak while Hilo was challenged with preparing beef tongue.

UH-Palamanui culinary professor Paul Heerlein

UH-Palamanui culinary professor Paul Heerlein

“We prepared two dishes with the flank steak,” shared Paul Heerlein, assistant professor/coordinator of culinary arts at Kona’s University of Hawaii-Palamanui. “The first-year group did a Spanish-style, grilled flank steak salad as they are studying European cuisine and my second-year group did a play on a Vietnamese beef sandwich as we’re studying Asian food preparation.”

West Hawai‘i Students Share Experiences

Jolynn Len, a student at UH-Palamanui, said her second-year class “tasted and experimented” with two different preparations before voting to use an Asian-style lemongrass marinade with picked vegetables and chili pepper aioli.

“I was in charge of adjusting the recipe to serve up to 800-bite-size servings and volunteered to decorate our event presentation table,” shared the West Hawai‘i student.

East Hawai‘i culinary students prepared 1000 servings each of three desserts—in addition to 1,000 bites of grilled beef tongue.

East Hawai‘i culinary students prepared 1000 servings each of three desserts—in addition to 1,000 bites of grilled beef tongue.

The day before the event, students gathered at the new Mai’s Grille in Waikoloa to help Chef Allen Hess with his Taste culinary offering. “I got to fabricate and grind beef shoulder,” recalls Len.

During Taste, Len was assigned to work with Chef Jay at 12th Avenue Grill, who offered boneless oxtail served with sautéed local ‘Ali‘i Mushrooms, hearts of palm and fennel. “It was topped off with a rich consommé,” Len elaborated. “It was delicious and fun to plate.”

Classmate Tomi Salinger helped staff UH-Palamanui’s culinary station and adds, “Before Taste we got to hear a lecture from Chef Peter Merriman and we also got to watch a cooking demo from Chef Roy Yamaguchi. After that I helped finish cooking off the steak in the Hilton’s kitchen before service. Once service started, there were swarms of people constantly coming, which made two hours go by in what felt like an hour…. All in all, it was a great experience for me and I always enjoy seeing the real world perspective of the restaurant industry.”

East Hawai’i Instructor Details Participation

HawCC East Hawai’i culinary professor Alan Okuda

HawCC East Hawai’i culinary professor Alan Okuda

Allan Okuda, culinary arts program professor and coordinator of Hawai‘i Community College in Hilo said he recruited HawCC graduates to staff the school’s culinary station so all current students could experience working with the industry chefs—“many of whom offer jobs to our students upon graduation.”

The Hilo contingent served grilled beef tongue on crisp, local watercress with an Asian vinaigrette sauce and a jaboticaba wine reduction. They prepared 1000 servings of the beef dish and a whopping 3000 desserts that included 1000 each of Okinawan sweet potato dumplings, apple banana Original Hawaiian Chocolate macadamia bites and rambutan/papaya sorbet.

The students also cooked and cubed 600 bites of four varieties of sweet potato for an educational booth presented by UH’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

“Actually, the (food) preparation is not so much the challenge,” noted Okuda. “It’s really to cook, properly chill and transport the food and equipment safely to the Hilton for service, but we manage every year.”

Wrapping up the student experience, Sandy Barr-Rivera, retired assistant professor of culinary arts at the Hilo campus, said, “The following Monday morning after the Taste is always a high-energy day for the students…sharing their experiences with great enthusiasm and ready to get cooking!”

Assignment for Readers

To get an idea of what it’s like to prepare bite-size servings for hundreds of Taste attendees, UH-Palamanui shares its flank steak recipe below. As Len originally took a smaller recipe and adjusted it to feed 800, your assignment is to customize it to satisfy the size of your group. Enjoy!


Taste Chef Offers Grass-Fed Beef Cooking Tips

Chef Kevin HanneyOwner/Chef Kevin Hanney of 12th Avenue Grill in Honolulu travels to the Big Island every year to participate in Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. He debuted at the event in 2006 and was assigned the beef cut “top round” to prepare in 2010.

Located at 1145C on 12th Avenue in Kaimuki, the Ilima Award-winning dinner hot-spot has grass-fed beef on the menu. The restaurant is known for its “contemporary American” cuisine that uses fresh, island ingredients.

As grass-fed beef has lower fat content than its grain-fed counterpoint, Chef Hanney says he’s “always conscious of that” when cooking it.

“Conventional wisdom is, ‘fat is flavor’, but that’s not necessarily the case,” he details. “Grass fed-beef has a bolder, beefier flavor without the fat. I like to say, ‘it’s the way beef is SUPPOSED! to taste.’”

Advice for Cooking Beef Cuts
When preparing grass-fed cuts geared for grilling, broiling and searing—such as ribeye and New York strip steaks—Chef says to be careful not to overcook them.

“These cuts require less cooking time than conventional meat. Searing them first, over a very high heat, helps retain juices,” he suggests.

Chef adds, “If doing cuts that are typically sliced, such as skirt, London Broil, etc., make sure you are slicing across the grain.”

When braising grass-fed meat from the shoulder area, like chuck cuts, Chef advises braising for longer lengths of time on a lower heat. He shares his delicious Yankee Pot Roast recipe, which uses grass-fed chuck roast, a versatile, value cut. We prepared the recipe and it was fork-tender when cooking it as instructed for 1.5 hours.

Yankee Pot Roast recipe.