Looking Back to the First “Taste” September 13, 1996
The Waimea event began with a Forage Field Day at the Mealani Research Station and continued with “Celebrating a Taste of the Hawaiian Range” at the Kahilu Town Hall. Both activities had an educational focus and were presented by a committee.
Seven Form Original Committee
Originating the program was Milton Yamasaki, ag research technician at the UH Mealani Research Station and Glenn Fukumoto, county extension agent-livestock program of UH-CTAHR. Other members and their duties included Chef Olelo pa‘a Ogawa, culinary; Gene Erger, marketing; rancher Rick Habien, producers; Kulana Foods, processing; and extension agent Burton Smith, education.
Educational Focus Set for Event
“The goal of Taste was to create a collaboration between ranchers, food handlers and chefs to create good food,” says Yamasaki, former Mealani manager. The retired ag research technician add that the day’s events were educational on three levels: to show ranchers how to produce and market a consistent quality, grass-fed product; to have chefs work with the product while using the entire animal; and to show consumers that when grass-fed beef is prepared properly, it is a good product.
“By getting everybody involved in the product—creating, preparing and enjoying—the hope was chefs and consumers would purchase it,” Yamasaki details.
Forage Field Day Presenters
More than 60 ranchers and food handlers—meat processors, food and beverage professionals, chefs, butchers—attended the 1996 Forage Field Day. Speakers and topics:
• Edgar Smith of Vancouver’s Beaver Meadow Farm: producing quality products from pasture
• Laura Freeman of Laura’s Lean Beef: marketing beef
• Amy Hammond of Special Events Hawaii: advertising and nitch marketing
• Derek Kurisu of KTA Superstore: marketing a branded product: Mountain Apple Brand
Who Was Cooking
The 16 participating restaurants for the evening Taste included some who continue to be involved in 2016. Each culinary station was assigned a grass-fed meat cut to prepare:
- Bree Garden Restaurant/Chef Bernd Bree: beef tongue and chuck
- Cafe Pesto/Chef Kevin Nutt: beef chuck
- Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel/Chef Corey Waite, lamb shoulder
- Hilton Waikoloa Village/Chef Wilhelm Pirngruber: beef round
- Huggo’s /Chef Peter Bartch: beef ribeye
- Kalai’s Kama‘aina Kitchen/Chef Kalei Bajo: beef misc.
- Kona Village Resort/Chef Glenn Alos: beef round
- Kuhio Grille/Owner Sam Araki: beef ribs
- Maha’s Cafe/Chef Maha Kraan: buffalo ribeye
- Mauna Kea Beach Hotel/Chef Goran Streng: beef and buffalo loin
- Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows/Chef Phil Sassaman: beef loin
- Mean Cuisine/Chef Ann Sutherland: lamb leg
- Nori’s Saimin/Owner Beth An Nishijima: beef chuck and shank
- Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill/Chef Jackie Lau: buffalo filet
- Sam Choy’s Restaurant/Chef Sam Choy, Dutch O’Neal: beef chuck and shortribs
- The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i/Chef David Reardon: buffalo round, chuck
Food Booths Offer Sampling
Six food booths included:
- Tropical Dreams Ice Cream
- Kamuela Liquor Store/Alvin Wakayama
- Cook’s Discoveries/Patti Cook
- Sugar ‘n Spice
- Excelsior Dairy, Inc.
- Val’s Party Pleasure
“We had no funding for the (evening) food show; our committee took a risk that the ticket revenue was going to cover the costs of the expenses,” shares Glen Fukumoto, county extension agent-livestock program of UH-CTAHR. “If not, we were all ready to pay from our own pockets. At that first ‘taste event,’ no one envisioned that the event would be a spark and part of the revolution—a reawakening of the local food movement that we see today.”