2013 Sam Choy Keauhou Poke Contest – RESULTS

Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s was the top overall winner of today’s Sam Choy Keauhou Poke Contest. The owner of Umeke’s earned the most points with his professional entry in the Poke With Soy Sauce category.

Top Overall winner Nakoa Pabre of Umeke's with Sam Choy and local pageant queens.

Top Overall winner Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s with Sam Choy and local pageant queens. Photos by Fern Gavelek

A total of 29 professional, amateur and high school entrants “put their braggin’ in the bowl” to win cash and prizes at the second Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest today at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The real winner at the event is the Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawaii Community College-Palamanui campus. All public admission proceeds—$5,000—will be donated to the $1 million campaign.

In addition to the poke contest and tasting, fun included a celebrity cookoff, a poke-making demonstration by Sam Choy, entertainment, poi pounding and fish net making, and a Hawaii Island Marketplace. Each attendee received a reusable shopping bag.

Poke Sweet

Competition was in six categories: traditional, spicy, cooked, poke with soy sauce, non-seafood and sushi style. There were three divisions: professional, non-professional and high school. Student Cameron Linden of Konawaena High School took top place among the high school students, winning her school’s culinary department $300 donated by Sun Dried Specialties. Complete contest results are included below.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 15-17 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli. The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Aloha Shoyu, Hawaiian Springs Water, Suisan Company, Ltd., BMW of Hawaii, Bacardi, Young’s Market, Roberts Hawaii, Sun Dried Specialties, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Fresh Island Fish and KTA Superstores.

2013 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Results

Best Overall Poke

  • Nakoa Pabre-Umeke’s

Professional Division 

Poke Professional


  • 1ST Henry Mateo/Elmer Tabudlo-Hawaii Calls restaurant
  • 2ND Tim Wong-Facebook
  • 3RD Ezekiel Duru-Facebook


  • 1ST Viktor Schmidt-Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa
  • 2ND Henry Mateo/Elmer Tabudlo-Hawaii Calls restaurant
  • 3RD Ashley Danao-Rolls With It


  • 1ST Henry Mateo/Elmer Tabudlo-Hawaii Calls restaurant
  • 2ND Pedro Almazan-The Fish Hopper

Soy Sauce

  • 1ST Nakoa Pabre-Umeke’s
  • 2ND Carlos Nava-Huggo’s restaurant
  • 3RD Robin Ganir-Broke Da Mouth Grindz & Catering


  • 1ST Troy Cataraha

Sushi Professional & Non-Professional

  • 1ST Nakoa Pabre-Umeke’s

Non-Professional Division 


  • 1ST Garet Sekiya
  • 2ND Margie Hanselman


  • 1ST Alexis Fujikawa
  • 2ND Gwen Edwards


  • 1ST Christopher Todd
  • 2ND Keoki Rivera

Soy Sauce

  • 1ST Keoni Paoa
  • 2ND Sabine Andresen
  • 3RD Keoki Rivera


  • 1ST Ryan Koyanagi

High School Division 

  • 1ST Konawaena High School
  • 2ND Kealakehe High School
  • 3RD Konawaena High School

Celebrity Cookoff 

FIRST PLACE TIE: Tony Silva and Kumu Keala Ching

Guy Toyama Memorial Fund to Spur Sustainability and Entrepreneurship on the Big Island

 A new memorial fund seeks to raise $1 million to honor the life and legacy of Hawaii visionary, Guy Toyama. Sustainability grants and scholarships will foster positive change worldwide.

The Guy Toyama Memorial Fund seeks to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in areas of environmentally sound practices in Hawaii and around the world.

Guy Toyama gave a presentation at the 2012 Sam Choy's Keauhou Poke Contest

Guy Toyama gave a presentation at the 2012 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest

The Fund will provide scholarships for students interested in sustainability and entrepreneurship. In addition, the fund will provide grants for non-profit projects focused on innovation and sustainability integration. The fund will create positive outcomes for future generations through disciplines such as renewable energy, local food production, and waste reduction.

Guy Toyama, a Hawaii visionary and champion of sustainable business and renewable energy, passed away in November of 2012. In honor of his longstanding commitment to improving the relationship between people and the islands, his never-ending spirit of kuleana will be carried on through the Guy Toyama Memorial Fund.

All who knew Guy were touched by his enthusiasm for life and his many passions. His joyful exuberance and his exceptional knowledge of how to live lightly on the planet were a source of inspiration to many. This memorial fund, made possible by donations from friends, family, and businesses, furthers Guy’s global vision for a better future.

“Guy’s gift of generosity and his passion for positive social and environmental change were contagious. The memorial fund celebrates his enthusiasm and his unending dedication to the community,” said Debbie Baker, President of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

The late Guy Toyama shows off his award winning Abalone Poke.

The late Guy Toyama shows off his award winning Abalone Poke.

Initially, the fund will focus on Hawaii Island and the state of Hawaii. Donor support may allow the fund to expand its efforts globally. A fundraising pau hana kickoff event for the fund is planned for Friday April 26, 2013 from 4:00pm – 7:00pm at the Gateway Energy Center near the entrance of the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority (NELHA).

“Guy lived his life with a deep sense of kuleana, and he treated everyone with aloha. He made everyone he touched believe that we can solve our problems and live and work in harmony with each other and nature,” said Walter Kunitake, President of the Kona Japanese Civic Association.

Friends of the Future, a Hawaii 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is accepting contributions to the Fund. Checks should be made payable to Friends of the Future, include “Guy Toyama Memorial Fund” in the memo line, and be mailed to Friends of the Future, PO Box 2655, Kamuela, HI 96743. Visit www.fofhawaii.org and click on the DONATE link to contribute online using PayPal or a credit card. Include “Guy Toyama Memorial Fund” in the “note to seller” field when you review the PayPal transaction. Requests for additional information can be addressed to info@guytoyamafund.org.