Big Island Chocolate Festival Names Winners

Culinary entries from across the state were tapped winners at last night’s Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chefs, chocolatiers and students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges during the three-day festival.

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Event host The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i tied with Daylight Mind Coffee Company for best savory creation served at last night’s gala. Padovani’s Chocolates took top bonbons.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 071Earning number one plated dessert was the Hilton Waikoloa Village, which also won the People’s Choice Award. Madre Chocolate took the bean-to-bar category.

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Hawai‘i Community College-Hilo won Friday’s student competition, besting Maui Community College by a point. Hawai’i Community College-West Hawai’i Team 1 was close behind in third place.

Community college competition winners front row from left: Hilo’s Justina Frias; Maui’s Michelle Angel-Tavares, Hannah Stanchfield and William Ah Puck; and West Hawai’i’s Kanani Sadumiano, Tiani Aribal and Gary Cyr.  Photo by Shortini Photography

Community college competition winners front row from left: Hilo’s Justina Frias; Maui’s Michelle Angel-Tavares, Hannah Stanchfield and William Ah Puck; and West Hawai’i’s Kanani Sadumiano, Tiani Aribal and Gary Cyr. Photo by Shortini Photography

Commenting on the college culinary competition, Chef Teresa (Cheech) Shurilla of Maui Community College shared, “Presenting in front of such an esteemed panel of judges is priceless. The students will keep their critiques with them throughout their culinary careers.”

Winners and judges of the BICF gala from left: judge Ken Goto, Executive Fairmont Chef Hubert Des Marais, Daylight Mind Chef Connor Butler (kneeling) Pierre and Philippe Padovani of Padovani’s Chocolates, Hilton Waikoloa Village Chefs Eddie Enojardo and Dayne Tanabe, judge Vincent Bourdin, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate and judge Jacques Torres. Photo by Shortini Photography

Winners and judges of the BICF gala from left: judge Ken Goto, Executive Fairmont Chef Hubert Des Marais, Daylight Mind Chef Connor Butler (kneeling) Pierre and Philippe Padovani of Padovani’s Chocolates, Hilton Waikoloa Village Chefs Eddie Enojardo and Dayne Tanabe, judge Vincent Bourdin, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate and judge Jacques Torres. Photo by Shortini Photography

Heading the team of judges for the two competitions were celebrity chefs “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of New York City and Valrhona Chocolate’s Vincent Bourdin of Singapore. Other team judges included chocolatier Ken Goto and pastry chefs Rhonda Ashton-Chavez of Four Seasons Resort Maui, Elizabeth McDonald of Mala Restaurant, Ricky DeBoers of The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Heather Campbell of Kaua‘i’s St. Regis Resort Princeville and Daniel Sampson of The Fairmont Orchid.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 020The real winners of the third annual festival are two beneficiaries: the Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui and Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 012Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 051In addition to last night’s gala, the three-day festival offered a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus seminars, how-to culinary demonstrations and guided chocolate tastings.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 023Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for updates on next year’s event.

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The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. Mahalo to sponsors and community supporters: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Guittard, DeZaan, Valrhona, PreGel, The Wave-92.1, Big Island Honda and Tire Center, Bacardi, Dolphin Journeys, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Cocoa Outlet, Callebaut Chocolate, Cacao Cucina, DHX, Gourmet Foods Hawaii, Johnson Brothers of Hawaii, Ke Ola magazine, Kona Brewing Company, Kona Natural Soap Company, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, West Hawaii Today, The Spoon Shop and Kamehameha Schools.

The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

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