A lot! Besides a new location at Mana Christian ‘Ohana hall behind Parker Ranch Center in Waimea, the Taste of the Hawaiian Range gala has new participants, a couple of veggie-centric stations and two restaurants—Mai Grille by Chef Allen Hess and Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa’s Hawaii Calls—that will be serving “mature” beef.
Taste culinary chair Sandy Barr Rivera says mature beef is known in ranching circles as “rich in flavor with a good texture.” According to Taste chair and rancher Jeri Moniz, pasture-raised market steer are typically 24-30 months old, while mature animals are 30-48 months old.
Chef Hess will offer attendees the opportunity to taste and compare the difference of “mature” beef with regular “market” beef as he will be preparing 50% market and 50% mature top sirloin. Chef Jayson Kanekoa at Hawaii Calls is preparing a combo of mature beef shank, chuck and clod (shoulder).
Puako Provisions & Catering
Chef Noah Hester is the culinary talent and manager of Puako Provisions & Catering, headquartered in the seaside hamlet of Puako. Most recently at the helm of Blue Dragon Restaurant, Hester was cited twice by Best Chefs America. Besides catering, Puako Provisions offers picnic baskets, private chef services, custom meal kits and food delivery.
At the 2018 Taste, Chef Noah is participating not only in the gala, but also Taste’s new 9 a.m.-3 p.m. agriculture festival at adjacent YMCA Minuke Ole Park. He’ll be debuting his new 28-foot long smoker trailer, to serve Texas-style smoked brisket plates and chopped brisket sandwiches—all local beef. The new travelling food truck will be available for events and look for it this fall outside the Waimea Butcher Shop to serve daytime eats.
For the gala, the chef says Puako Provisions will be serving smoked flank and skirt cuts that are finished on the grill. “We’ll do a street taco with pickled onions and smoked tomato salsa,” he details.
Annie’s Island Fresh Burgers
Located in Kainaliu, Annie’s Fresh Burgers opened eight years ago with the idea to offer local, fresh and organic food and the restaurant’s pasture-raised beef burgers are what it’s known for. The spot was voted “Best Burger in West Hawai‘i for the last seven consecutive years by readers of West Hawaii Today.
GM and Executive Chef Andrew Lorenzo looks forward to returning to Taste; he participated while working at other restaurants in previous years. A native of Kohala, Chef Andrew got into the food and beverage industry in high school, briefly attended culinary classes at Hawaii Community College in Hilo and then worked at restaurants in Waikiki, Waikoloa and the Kohala Coast.
Commenting on using only pasture-raised beef at Annie’s, Lorenzo confides that some customers really like the meat’s flavor profile, while others who aren’t familiar with it, feel differently. “It’s a unique product that’s better in taste and for your health,” notes the chef. “It’s juicy, moist and flavorful. We temp (take the temperature) of every burger to make sure it’s to the customer’s preference for doneness.”
Chef Andrew is assigned beef clod for this year’s Taste and is going to braise and shred the shoulder meat. “I’ll serve it with a veggie slaw,” he adds.
Under the Bodhi Tree
This raw food, vegetarian and vegan (zero animal products) restaurant opened in 2014 at the Shops at Mauna Lani and is debuting at this year’s Taste as a veggie-centric station. Co-owner and Chef Stephen Rouelle, who has personally participated in Taste numerous times while working at hotel restaurants, says he’ll be offering a Paniolo Chili.
“It’s a traditional, western-style, three-bean chili with taro,” details Rouelle, a native of Vermont who has clocked 35 years in the culinary industry, working in his home state, Ohio, Hawai‘i and international locales.
“While I’ve participated as a traditional chef at Taste for many years, I’m pleased to come back as a plant-based chef to demonstrate what agriculture can do for sustainability, the environment and our community’s health,” Chef Stephen shares. “That’s why we support local ag at Under the Bodhi Tree—about 60 percent of everything we serve is sourced within 100 miles of the restaurant.”
With a large part of Under the Bodhi Tree’s menu driven by local food availability, it is the state’s first restaurant awarded a Hawai‘i Dept. of Agriculture Seal of Quality, designating it uses genuine, Hawai‘i-grown-or-made premium products.
For the complete list of Taste culinary participants and their assigned meat cuts, visit https://tasteofthehawaiianrange.com/taste-of-the-hawaiian-range-evening-event/.
Tickets are still available for the Taste of the Hawaiian Range gala 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. Enjoy cuisine at 20 culinary stations featuring local, pasture-raised meats—beef, pork, goat and lamb—plus produce. Pre-sale tickets are $50 at Parker Ranch Store or online at www.tasteofthehawaiianrange.com; ticket sales are limited to 500 and are $60 at the door if still available.