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Hilton Waikoloa Village Replaces Plastic Straws with Sustainable Alternatives

Hilton Waikoloa Village last straw initiative. Courtesy photo.

Hilton Waikoloa Village has initiated “the last straw”—a new commitment to discontinue the use of plastic drinking straws resort-wide in its restaurants, bars, venues and vendors.

The Hilton Waikoloa Village Last Straw Campaign comes as an effort to care for Hawai‘i’s ocean environment by eliminating the impact of plastic straws, one of the top 10 marine debris most commonly found in Hawai‘i.

The resort is the first on the Island of Hawai‘i to implement an initiative of this kind which has substantial environmental benefits. In 2017, the Hilton Waikoloa Village used more than 800,000 plastic straws while serving more than 1 million guests. Plastic straws cannot be recycled and can have devastating effects on marine and coastal life like fish, turtles and seabirds if ingested. The resort will now offer FDA-approved, GMO and BPA-free compostable paper straws upon request.

Hilton Waikoloa Village last straw initiative. Courtesy photo.

“Over the years, concerned guests have notified us of the impact that plastic straws have on our environment,” said Simon Amos, hotel manager. “We are thrilled to be able to respond and officially say that Jan. 31, 2018, was ‘the last straw.’ Hilton Waikoloa Village is uniquely gifted with a location that affords guests a front row seat to Hawai‘i’s spectacular marine life. We’re glad to take this step to be better stewards of this beautiful place.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the resort held an informal celebration to mark this move toward greater sustainability with its partner, Dolphin Quest. The Hilton Waikoloa Village Last Straw Campaign is a proactive step to contribute to larger movements like Strawless Ocean Initiative by Lonely Whale Foundation, One Less Straw by One More Generation and The Last Plastic Straw, all of which challenge individuals and companies to commit to a sustainable alternative to single use plastic straws.

Hilton Waikoloa Village last straw initiative. Courtesy photo.

Furthermore, a Senate bill is currently being considered by Hawai‘i lawmakers that would prohibit the distribution, sale and provision of plastic straws in the state. The team behind the resort’s last straw campaign hopes its efforts will encourage support for the bill and continue the movement toward greater sustainability.

 

Top Scientists to Converge on the Big Island – Hawaiʻi International Conference on System Sciences

More than 1,000 of the world’s top academics, researchers and practitioners in computer science and information technology will gather at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawai‘i County for the Hawaiʻi International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), January 2-6, 2018.

Sponsored by the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the conference will cover trending topics and future concepts that may lead to the next big technological discovery in the world.

The conference will feature 10 research tracks, and 33 symposia, workshops and tutorials on topics such as digital transformation, big data, cybersecurity, cognitive computer and smart toys.

Over the past five decades, HICSS has built a distinguished reputation as the premier forum for the exchange of ideas in the information systems (IS) industry. It is one of the longest-running general-purpose scientific conferences in the world and is recognized for its ability to bring together top IS academics and professionals from more than 1,000 universities in an interactive working environment.

“Many of HICSS’ past papers have contributed to discoveries in information technologies and scientific knowledge in the IS industry,” said Tung Bui, HICSS conference chair and a professor of informational technology management at the Shidler College of Business.

“Early research theories and models of the Internet, drones, social media, human technology, etc., were all discussed at HICSS years before its debut. Its influence will continue to strongly shape the future direction of technology research in the world,” Bui said.

HICSS is the top conference in terms of citations, according to Google Scholar. Approximately 600 papers will be presented through 139 sessions. This yearʻs conference will feature two keynote speakers: Inhi Suh, general manager of IBM Collaboration Solutions, presenting “Cognitive Computing and the Future,” and Larry Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, presenting “Toward a Global Research Platform for Big Data Analysis.”

The proceedings of the 2018 conference are available online.

Hawaiʻi International Conference on System Sciences

Throughout its 50-year history, HICSS has promoted technological innovations and has advanced the research and development in the IS and technology fields publishing approximately 19,000 refereed papers. HICSS has also featured renowned researchers and practitioners from the technology industry who served as keynote speakers.
Over the past five decades, HICSS has built a distinguished reputation as the premier forum for the exchange of ideas in the information systems (IS) industry. It is one of the longest-running general-purpose scientific conferences in the world and is recognized for its ability to bring together top IS academics and professionals from more than 1,000 universities in an interactive working environment.

For more information, visit the HICSS website at www.hicss.hawaii.edu.

New TripAdvisor Accolades for Waikoloa Beach Resort

TripAdvisor.com, the world’s largest travel site, has ranked Waikoloa Beach Resort as 7th on its list of “Top U.S. Destinations for Vacation Rental Stays.” Based on TripAdvisor reviews, the luxury Kohala Coast resort bested Las Vegas, Nevada and two other Hawaii destinations.  Hilton 1

Along with the Top 10 list, TripAdvisor also published results of its recent survey of 1,800 travelers. According to that study, 59 percent of participants plan to stay at a vacation rental this year. Vacationers value cost-savings, space and quality amenities, and place a high priority on having a kitchen.

Hilton 2“Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular as more travelers discover the outstanding amenities, comfort, and value a rental can offer,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “With summer the most popular time for vacation rental stays, savvy travelers should book early for the best options.”  Hilton Waikoloa Village Skyview

With a wide range of vacation rental units within its 1,350 acre boundaries, as well as 30+ dining options, two shopping centers, two golf courses, two resort hotels and a full schedule of entertainment and activities, Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned recognition as one of Hawaii’s top destinations. Last December, the property was ranked 8th on TripAdvisor’s list of “Destinations on the Rise” in the United States.

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

“To be named on two significant TripAdvisor lists in such a short time is very exciting for us,” said Scott Head, Vice President of Resort Operations. “We have worked hard to create a Waikoloa Beach Resort experience that works well for visitors, island residents, resort homeowners and vacation rental guests as well.  This kind of recognition shows that offering a variety of excellent choices in dining, shopping, golf, activities and accommodations are a formula that works, that people enjoy and are happy to visit again.”

Three Days & Nights of Hula – Moku O Keawe International Festival is This Week

The 8th Annual Moku O Keawe International Festival takes place November 7-9, 2013 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, with high-caliber hula competition, an expanded Made-in-Hawai‘i Marketplace and unique Hawaiian cultural workshops.

Halau Na Pua 'Uluhaimalama peforms a hula noho during the 2012 MOKIF competition.

Halau Na Pua ‘Uluhaimalama peforms a hula noho during the 2012 MOKIF competition.

International competition.   Hālau from Hawai‘i, Japan and elsewhere will compete in Hula Kahiko, Hula Auwana, and Kupuna divisions, group and solo, in the Hilton’s Monarchy Ballroom.  Emceed by KAPA radio personality Ka‘ea Alapa‘i, Thursday and Friday are evening performances; Saturday’s events begin at 1:00 p.m.

Cultural Workshops.   Essential to the Festival is the element of Hawaiian cultural education.  Workshops, presented by the competition judges include hula kahiko and auwana by esteemed Kumu Hula Nalani Kanaka‘ole, Iwalani Kalima, Cy Bridges and Chinky Mahoe.  Additionally, three generations of the legendary Lim ‘Ohana will present a talk-story session and Kele Kanahele will help students create Ni’ihau shell lei. 

Workshops will also be held.

Workshops will also be held.

Made-in-Hawai‘i Marketplace.  Featuring a wide variety of some of the best products from over 50 Island of Hawai‘i vendors, the new Marketplace at Hilton Hawaiian Village will showcase Hula implements, fresh lei, silk-screened clothing, woven lauhala hats and purses, food products, fine arts, jewelry, fragrance, soaps and more.  In the “class without walls,” noted ipu-maker Kalim Smith demonstrates how to make the traditional gourd drums.

A $5 rate for self-parking is provided by Hilton Waikoloa Village.  Advance registration required for Workshops, on line or at the Festival registration area, up to one hour prior to class.  For information and tickets to events, visit www.MOKIF.com

Leiomalama Soloman of Beamer Solomon Halau o Po'ohala, last year's MOK solo winner.

Leiomalama Soloman of Beamer Solomon Halau o Po’ohala, last year’s MOK solo winner.

MOKU O KEAWE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
November 7-9, 2013, Hilton Waikoloa Village Monarchy Ballroom

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Thursday, November 7

  • 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Workshop: Hula Auwana, “Aia La O Pele,” Instructor: Kumu Hula Iwalani Kalima
  • 1-4 p.m., Workshop: Hula Auwana, “Lei Pua Kenikeni,” Instructor: Kumu Hula Chinky Mahoe
  • 5 p.m., Doors open for Kahiko Night
  • 6-9 p.m., Competition:  Wahine Kahiko, group and solo

Friday, November 8

  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Workshop: Hana Lei Pupu (Ni‘ihau shell lei-making), Instructor: Kele Kanahele
  • 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Made-in-Hawaii Market Place
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m., “Class without walls,” Ipu Heke – Hula Gourd Implement.  Instructor:  Kalim Smith, open to the public, complimentary
  • 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Workshop: Hula Auwana, “Ni‘ihau,” Instructor: Kumu Hula Nalani Kanakaole
  • 1-4 p.m., Workshop: Hula Auwana, “Hualalai,” Instructor: Kumu Hula Cy Bridges
  • 5 p.m., Doors open for Kupuna Night
  • 6-10 p.m., Competition: Kupuna, group and solo.  Awards presentation to follow.

Saturday, November 9

  • 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Made-in-Hawaii Market Place
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m., “Class without walls,” Ipu Heke – Hula Gourd Implement.  Instructor:  Kalim Smith, open to the public, complimentary
  • 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Workshop: “Following Tradition.” Mo‘olelo (talking story) with three generations of the Lim ‘Ohana
  • 12 p.m., Doors open for Auwana competition
  • 1-7 p.m., Competition:  Wahine Auwana, group and solo, and Makua Solo.  Awards presentation to follow.

Moku O Keawe International Festival takes place November 7-9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, offering a special rate of $5 for self-parking.  Advance registration required for Workshops, on line or at the Festival registration area, up to one hour prior to class.  For more information and ticket purchase or Workshop registration, visit www.mokif.com.

 

Brian Evans, Tom Arnold & William Shatner Live in Kona – Big Island Celebrity Series

The Big Island Celebrity Series Begins in December:
Enjoy an evening of comedy and song when crooner Brian Evans (“At Fenway”) takes to the stage on Kona, introduced by legendary film star William Shatner, followed by a full stand up performance by the hilarious Tom Arnold (“True Lies,” “Roseanne”). Get your tickets now to experience this unexpected surprise in Hawaii!
Autographs will be available and cameras are welcome at the show.

Cameras are welcome at the show.

Tickets: $95 (General)
VIP: $125
Photo with William Shatner (prior to show in personal Meet & Greet): $350 (includes 1 VIP seat to the show)
Saturday, December 28th, 2013 at The Hilton Waikoloa Village in The Monarchy Ballroom
Time: 7:30 PM
Camera’s are allowed at this performance.  Tickets available online here: Big Island Celebrity Series

I Don’t Have the Balls to Eat Rocky Mountain Oysters – 18th Annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range Another Success

On Friday I got to attend the 18th Annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range that was held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Doesn't this look good?

Doesn’t this look good?

Many folks think that the “Taste” is all about eating food from 6-8 pm, however, before the taste even begins there is a lot of preparation done by many groups and folks to make this one of the most successful food events in the State of Hawaii.

The line to get in

The line to get in

The Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced agriculture products.

It's not all about meat!

It’s not all about meat!

The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers.

Experience

Kamehameha Schools is a Sponsor of the Event

Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations.

Miss Kona Coffee was on hand.

Miss Kona Coffee was on hand.

At 1:30 there was a nutrition seminar geared for culinary students and food industry professionals that was presented by Justin Yu, most recently chef/owner of The Whole Ox. The Kaka‘ako restaurant creates its menu based on the availability of meat while using entire grass-feed beef and pig carcasses, one at a time.

Students learn from the best

Students learn from the best

Yu, a native of New York City where he did whole animal butchery, came to Hawai’i this spring, after working at well-known eateries like Hawker Fare in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Chef Yu shares his insights for using whole animals and locally sourced products to create food in a sustainable way.

Chef Yu shares his insights for using whole animals and locally sourced products to create food in a sustainable way.

At 3 there was a seminar on how to gook grass-fed beef which had a  staged cooking demonstration that featured Hubert Des Marais, executive chef of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i, who instructed students how to prepare two cuts of grass-fed beef: boneless brisket and tongue.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Chef Hubert brought more than 35 years of culinary experience in the hospitality industry spanning four continents. He has garnered numerous accolades, including being named one of “America’s 10 Best Chefs” by Food and Wine Magazine and has appeared on the Food Network and cooked at the James Beard House on numerous occasions. A proponent of food sustainability, chef utilizes food prepared by local ranchers, farmers and aquaculturists while purchasing beef by whole animal carcass. At the end of the seminar, samplings of the meats were available for the students.

This was my favorite!

This was my favorite from Hualalai Grille (Beef Skirt served w/ Lobster meat)

At 5 the pre-taste began where the media had a chance to talk to the farmers and the cooks about what they had prepared without the mad rush of having to deal with the general public that came in at 6.

Chefs putting the finishing touches on some plates

Chefs putting the finishing touches on some plates

I made it a point to eat as much as I could between 5 and about 5:40 hitting up about 15 booths of food that ranged from Beef Tri Tip served by Aloha Mondays to Kalua Pork served by Mahina Café.

Kalua in wonton shells, sweet potato on haupia.  Underneath the Kalua there was a little dash of poi.

Kalua pig in wonton shells, sweet potato on haupia. Underneath the Kalua there was a little dash of poi.

This year, I told myself I would try something different and I was going to try and eat the recipe that contained the Rocky Mountain Oysters that were served by the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

I met the chef and he assured me they were edible!

I met the chef and he assured me they were edible!

I actually had about 10 folks willing to pitch in to the Hawaii Island Food Basket if I were to complete the task of eating a cow ball and being able to suck it down.

This was a real cow ball... but it's now how they were served.

This was a real cow ball… but it’s now how they were served.

Chef Peter Pahk sliced up the oysters and then grilled them Korean style with organic lettuce, jasmine rice and Ko Choo Jung dipping sauce.

The Oyster Display

The Oyster Display

I was expecting them to taste a little bit like Korean Chicken but boy was I in for a major surprise.

Sliced and Diced Rocky Mountain Oysters!

Sliced and Diced Rocky Mountain Oysters!

I don’t know what happened and everyone says its mind over matter when eating things like this… but the second I took a big bite of the concoction and started to chew… the back of my tongue just closed up against my throat and I got this instant sick sensation and I felt the need to puke.  I tried my best to swallow it down… I just couldn’t do it.

Thankfully I didn’t swallow it because I probably would have heaved it up.  I did my best to discreetly cover my mouth with my hand and I spit it out into my hand and then dumped it into a recycled food bin that was set up for pig slop.

Thankfully these were nearby!

Thankfully these were nearby!

I quickly went to the drink station and drank about 4 cups of soda.  I couldn’t shake the taste from my mouth so I quickly went to the dessert station and had some sweets to try and take away the bitter taste that I had in mouth.

Opening Pule

Opening Pule

At 5:45 Kahu Danny Akaka offered a Pule Hoʻomaka (Opening Prayer) inside the ballroom and then at 6:00 he moved outside and blew the “Pu” (conch shell) and untied the Maile celebrating the beginning of the 18th Annual Taste of Hawaiian Range.

The official opening to the public

The official opening to the public

A little history about Friday’s agriculture showcase is that it started in 1996 as the Mealani Forage Field Day and A Taste of the Hawaiian Range. During the day, Mealani hosted an on-site Forage Field Day with tours of the forage gardens, educational seminars for ranchers and food producers, plus presentations by top, ag-related speakers, such as Jo Robinson, best-selling author of “Pasture Perfect” and eatwild.com. In the evening, Taste sampling was enjoyed by the public in the Kahilu Town Hall.  The event soon outgrew the location in Waimea and moved to it’s current location at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

My son caught this picture of my wife and I walking down the corridor.

My son caught this picture of my wife and I walking down the corridor.

I got a chance to talk to one of the organizers Fern Gavalek and she stated that she thought the crowd was a little larger then last year but they haven’t got the official numbers in just yet.  Last year there was over 2,000 people in attendance including folks that attended the event, student volunteers, student chefs and restaurant staff folks manning the booths.

Video Courtesy of Big Island Video News:
[youtube=http://youtu.be/k8-wIe3uNQ4]

You can click on the pictures below for a larger version of the pictures:

8th Annual Moku O Keawe Internatiol Hula Festivital Moves to Hilton Waikoloa Village

With a new location and a refreshed attitude for an upbeat economy, the 8th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival will take place November 7-9, 2013 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.  Three exciting nights of top international hula competition, an expanded Made-in-Hawai‘i Marketplace and unique Hawaiian cultural workshops make Moku O Keawe a winning choice for the classic Hawai‘i Island resort setting.

Leiomalama Soloman of Beamer Solomon Halau o Po'ohala, last year's MOK solo winner.

Leiomalama Soloman of Beamer Solomon Halau o Po’ohala, last year’s MOK solo winner.

International competition.   Moku O Keawe brings together hālau from Hawai‘i, Japan, Mexico, the U.S. Mainland and elsewhere with high-caliber hula competition in Hula Kahiko, Hula ‘Auwana, and Kupuna divisions, group and solo.  Competition nights feature live music onstage and Mistress of Ceremonies, KAPA radio personality Ka‘ea Alapa‘i.

Halau Na Pua 'Uluhaimalama peforms a hula noho during the 2012 MOKIF competition.

Halau Na Pua ‘Uluhaimalama peforms a hula noho during the 2012 MOKIF competition.

Cultural Workshops.   Essential to the Festival is the element of Hawaiian cultural education through a series of hands-on workshops, presented by the competition judges in their chosen fields of expertise.  Dance workshops include hula kahiko and ‘auwana by pre-eminent Nā Kumu Hula such as Nani Lim Yap, Nalani Kanaka‘ole, Iwalani Kalima, Cy Bridges, Chinky Mahoe and others.  The arts of hula are explored in-depth, with workshops such as lau hala weaving, crafting shell lei, and an excursion to Kalaemano (near Hualālai Resort) with Ku‘ulei Keakealani.

Workshops will also be held.

Workshops will also be held.

Made-in-Hawai‘i Marketplace.  Featuring a wide variety of some of the best products from over 50 Island of Hawai‘i vendors, the new Marketplace at Hilton Hawaiian Village will showcase Hula implements, fresh lei, silk-screened clothing, woven lauhala hats and purses, food products, fine arts, jewelry, fragrance, soaps and more.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

“We are very grateful to the Hilton for reaching out to us with their support,” said Moku O Keawe Board Advisor Sherron Rosenberger “It became clear that we had to make a change in order to keep our Festival going strong and focused on the future.  By hosting everything in one location, the Hilton has provided a way to continue our mission to perpetuate hula, the arts of hula and Hawaiian culture with the local community and our visitors from near and far.”

The Moku O Keawe International Festival is sponsored by the Moku O Keawe Foundation, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing, enriching and educating the practice and development of hula and its associated arts.  For information and tickets to events, visit www.MOKIF.com

Save $20 and Get Presale Tickets Now for Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Presale tickets are for sale online and at islandwide locations for the island’s mega-agriculture festival, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. The price is again $40.

Mealani Sign

Sprawling again inside and out of Hilton Waikoloa Village, the 6-8 p.m. event on Friday, Oct. 4 showcases the isle’s grass-fed beef industry and a bounty of locally produced food. In addition to sampling cuisine by 35 restaurants, meet the folks that are growing our food and browse among agriculture-themed displays.

Mealani Line-up

Admission at the door is $60 for the 18th annual event.

Tickets can be purchased at 13 Big Isle locations: Blue Kalo, Café Pesto, Hilo Bay Café and Kuhio Grille in Hilo; JJ’s Country Market in Honokaa; Island Naturals and Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona, Gio’s Gelato in Kainaliu; Parker Ranch Store and Kamuela Liquors in Waimea; Kohala Burger and Taco in Kawaihae and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

“Also available are $10 tickets for the fun Cooking Grass Fed Beef 101 class by Chef Hubert Des Marais of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i,” says Talaite Petrowki, ticket chairperson. “Get them at Kuhio Grill, JJ’s Country Market and Kohala Essence Shop.” The demo, which includes sampling, is at 3 p.m.

Students learning about nutritional benefits of grass-fed beef.

Students learning about nutritional benefits of grass-fed beef.

Online ticket links for both Taste and Cooking 101 can be found at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Several new Taste chefs will be joining over 30 others who concoct delectable dishes using grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey and spices. Culinary adventure seekers can enjoy all the cuts of grass-fed beef—everything from tongue to tail—prepared expertly by chefs. Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

Mountain Oysters

New statewide chefs include Korie Nazara of Mahina Café, Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki’s Grill & Bar and Chef Mark Noguchi of Pili Hawaii. A full list of participating restaurants can be found on the website previously listed. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Local food producers and ag organizations wishing to participate with a booth should contact Deanna Young at 808-747-7200 or tohrbooths@gmail.com by August 18.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

Hawai’i residents can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $229 per room on Oct. 4 that includes two tickets for Taste. For details, and to book a stay under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit http://bit.ly/14wUunL or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411 no later than Sept. 4.

2012 Kamehameha Schools - Beef (Steamship Round)

2012 Kamehameha Schools – Beef (Steamship Round)

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.

 

 

‘Q’uisine of Hearts Happens This Sunday

Eat your heart out in style—and to benefit keiki nutrition awareness—at the annual ‘Q’uisine of Hearts. Time is 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Quisine Sunday

Enjoy a tantalizing bruschetta buffet, plus omelet and eggs benedict stations, offered by West Hawaii community college students. Attendees will be tempted with bite-sized, scrumptious specialties by local pastry chefs, bakers, chocolatiers and confectioners.

Culinary students at Kealakehe and Konawaena high schools will pour fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies. Kombucha—the fizzy, tea-like elixir with symbiotic microorganisms—will also be on tap, along with 100 percent Kona coffees, Mauna Kea Tea, handcrafted ales, champagne and wine.

Hilton’s award-winning pastry chef, Eddie Enjardo—who last year wowed the crowd with his decadent Three Hearts Desert— is serving a heart-shaped mousse made with Hawaii-sourced dark chocolate, ginger, oranges and macadamia nuts.

Debuting at this year’s event is Melissa Logan, new executive pastry chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Other culinary participants include Elena’s Chocolate, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Tropical Dreams Ice Cream, Kailua Candy Company, Kimball’s Catering and Short n Sweet Bakery/Market/Café.

Serenading the scrumptious “eats” will be romantic piano music, including some of your favorite love songs. During the silent auction, bid for “sweetheart” floral arrangements, private catered dinners by top Big Isle chefs and tempting cookies and cakes prepared by culinary students.

Tickets, priced at $45 for adults and $20 for children aged 5 and up, are for sale at The Spoon Shop, Kona Wine Market and Clark Realty in Kona or at Tropical Dreams Ice Cream in Waimea. Tickets can be conveniently charged by phone at 808-329-2522 or purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

‘Q’uisine of Hearts, sponsored by the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association, has a Chef and Child Foundation focus. The CCF team in Kona provides nutrition education annually to over 1,000 West Hawaii children and their families. In addition, CCF supports Green Tables, a farm and garden philanthropic initiative for children by Les Dames d’Escoffier Hawaii in Waimea.

For information, contact 808-333-5442.

‘Q’uisine of Hearts Benefits Keiki Nutrition Awareness

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your special someone at the 18th annual ‘Q’uisine of Hearts, a satisfying brunch that annually benefits 2000 Kona-Kohala keiki through American Culinary Federation (ACF) Chef and Child nutrition awareness programs. Time is 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Quisine

Enjoy a tantalizing bruschetta buffet, plus omelet and eggs benedict stations, offered by West Hawaii community college students. Attendees will be tempted with bite-sized pastry specialties by local pastry chefs, bakers, chocolatiers, ice cream and gelato makers. Also on tap is 100 percent Kona coffee, handcrafted ales, champagne and wine.

Serenading the scrumptious “eats” will be romantic piano music, including some of your favorite love songs. During the silent auction, bid for “sweetheart” floral arrangements, private catered dinners by top Big Isle chefs and tempting cookies and cakes prepared by culinary students.

Quisine of Hearts

Tickets, priced at $45 for adults and $20 for children aged 5 and up, will be available for purchase starting Dec. 21 at Kailua Candy Company and Kona Wine Market in Kona or at Tropical Dreams Ice Cream in Waimea. New this year, save by purchasing tickets online at brownpapertickets.com. Tickets can also be conveniently charged by phone at 808-329-2522.

‘Q’uisine of Hearts, sponsored by the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association, has a Chef and Child Foundation focus. The CCF team in Kona provides nutrition education to children and families. In addition, CCF supports Green Tables, a farm and garden philanthropic initiative for children by Les Dames d’Escoffier Hawaii in Waimea.

For information, contact 808-333-5442.

Dolphin Quest at Hilton Waikoloa Village Announces Dolphin Baby Naming Contest!

Dolphin Quest is inviting dolphin friends and fans to help us name our three newest baby dolphins, born at Dolphin Quest Hawaii, located at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Big Island. Moms Keo, Kona and Pele and their calves are all healthy and doing fine.

My son swimming with one of the dolphins at Dolphin Quest Hawaii

Dolphin baby name suggestions can be submitted in person at Dolphin Quest Hawaii or online. The latest updates and photos of the moms and calves can be found on the Dolphin Quest Facebook page.

For more information click here: Help Us Name the Three New Baby Dolphins

And once again… here is the incredible footage of one of the dolphins being born recently:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/6jCJiO75pxo]

Kamuela Provision Company Presents an Evening of Worldly Beers

Enjoy an evening of culinary creations perfectly paired with global craft beers:

Price is $95 per person. Reservations are recommended, seating is limited. Call Hilton Waikoloa Village Restaurant Reservations at 808-886-1234 ext. 54 for more information and to book a reservation for this special event!

17th Annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range – I Don’t Have Balls

Last night at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, the 17th Annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range took place under a spectacular West Hawaii sunset where more then 35 restaurants took part in a great event.

Kahu Danny Akaka Jr. Blessed the Festival and Mayor Kenoi cut the Maile allowing the public in to the 17th Annual Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range

The purpose of the Taste of the Hawaiian Range is to promote an educational venue to encourage and support local production of agricultural products through social, cultural and scientific exchanges featuring a diverse array of talents brought together for the purpose of developing an ethos of compatibility, tranquility and sustainability with this land we cohabitate.

Students learning about nutritional benefits of grass-fed beef.

Before the Taste even began students had an opportunity to attend educational seminars.  Joannie Dobbs gave a nutrition seminar, talking about the nutritional benefits of grass-fed beef.  After that seminar was over, folks moved over to the next Ballroom where they learned how to cook perfect Tri-Tip.

Perfect Tri-Tip

The Seminar on “How to Cook Grass-Fed Beef” with Chef James Babian was held to a full house!

Seminar – “How to Cook Grass-Fed Beef” with Chef James Babian

Around 5:00 Kumu Danny Akaka Jr. called everyone’s attention and officially blessed the festival and the food… then the VIP’s and the Media got a first hand chance to grind down on some of this food!

Kamehameha Schools – Beef (Steamship Round)

The booth that I personally liked the most was the Kamehameha Schools booth that were giving out Fajitas made with Steamship Round meat that had been cooking all day.

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The booth that seemed to be real popular with the crowd in general had Food Network Star Ippy Aiona as one of the cooks at his booth set up by Solimenes Restaurant in Waimea.

Ippy Aiona takes a break from the grill

I noticed a crowd forming around the booth set up by Honolulu Burger Company as they appeared to be the first restaurant that was ready to put out food… however, I remembered what they were serving and I told myself I wouldn’t do it… as yes… those were the Mountain Oysters!

West Hawaii Today Journalist Chelsea Jensen sure is “nuts” for balls!

Many folks think this festival is all about the Big Island’s meat industry but in reality there was just as much agriculture related stuff as there were meat products.

Its not all about the meat! Mahalo “Kamuela Grown” for donating this produce to Hawaii Island Food Bank

While some folks called me chicken for not trying things like Mountain Oysters or the Beef Heart that was prepared by Aloha Mondays…

So this is what cooked beef heart looks like?

I did get my taste buds to try out cow tongue for the first time… and needless to say, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

12th Ave Grill prepared beef tongue

Out of 35 restaurants that were present, I think I had plates from about 15-20 of them so needless to say I was full by the time I left there.  I have to say that another of my favorites that I had a couple plates from was the Hilton Waikoloa Villages preparation of Beef Brisket!

Beef Brisket from the Hilton Waikoloa

The Four Season’s Hualai selection of tri-tip was also a hit amongst people at the Taste.

Four Season’s Tri-Tip

Now that I think about it… there was one other thing that I didn’t try and it was more like I was avoiding it and that was the beef cheek that was served by the Fairmont Orchid.

Executive Sous Chef Stephen Rouelle offers me some cheek!

I asked the folks at the Taste how restaurants get picked to cook what part of the animal they do each year and I was told, “Our Meat Assignment Committee says they randomly assign meat cuts to different chefs, taking into consideration that chefs don’t get the same cut within a 10-year time frame. New chefs (8 this year) are worked into the mix and assigned one of 22 GFB cuts, or lamb, mutton, goat, feral or commercial pork.”

Out of all the tri-tips and sirloin tips and other cuts of meat that I had.. I really enjoyed the students from East Hawaii Community Colleges beef sirloin tip.

East Hawaii Community Colleges Sirloin Tips

I had never tried “Mutton” before, but  I heard it was good from someone and I bellied up and tried it.  Unfortunately it looks like I’m not a mutton guy!

Mutton from the Town Cafe

I’ve tried goat once before and didn’t really like it, the way that the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel cooked it as a slider made it taste better then the time I had tried it before.

Got Goat from the Mauna Lani Bay

I was getting pretty full by the time I got around to trying the feral pork that was being served Lechon style, but one thing I noticed, was that it did taste a bit more “gamey” then non feral pork but the taste wasn’t that noticeable.

This little piggy didn’t make it away from the cooks at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel

My stomach could only eat so much meat in a few hours… so after having some soda and sitting for a while… I decided to get one last thing before I went up to my room and it was this slider made from beef flank from Village Burger.

I ended up taking this beef flank slider back to my room because I was too stuffed!

It was a great time had by all supporting island food sustainability.  You can find website links to many of the restaurants, food producers and educational displays that participated in this years Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range by visiting their website here: www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com

Video – Dolphin Born Yesterday at Dolphin Quest Hawaii Hilton Waikoloa Village

A baby dolphin was born yesterday (Monday, September 17, 2012) at Dolphin Quest Hawaii, located at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Keo and female calf- born Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 at 5:10pm.
www.dolphinquest.com
Video by Mike Peterson, Dolphin Quest Hawaii

It’s the first baby for proud dolphin mom, 12-year-old Keo. Dolphin Quest trainers were in the water during the dolphin birth to observe and comfort the new dolphin mom. Dolphins Pele (the new baby’s grandmother) and Noelani (the baby’s aunt) were also in the Dolphin Quest lagoon to keep Keo company.

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The baby, a female calf, and mom are both well and wonderful. The baby dolphin began nursing within four hours of birth. About 50 people gathered around the Hilton’s Dolphin Quest lagoon to witness the rarely-seen event. Keo was in labor for approximately one hour.

The first 30 days of a newborn dolphin’s life are the most critical. Dolphin Quest trainers will continue round-the-clock watch over the pair, recording nursing and respiration rates, and making sure that Keo is well-fed and hydrated. Over that period, Keo’s new baby will be introduced to the other nine dolphins at Dolphin Quest Hawaii. After the initial 30 day care period, trainers will select a name for the new baby girl.

Visitors can see the new baby swimming with mom at Dolphin Quest Hawaii at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Keo’s calf is the 18th dolphin baby and the first second-generation calf to be born at the conservation and education-dedicated marine park since Dolphin Quest opened in 1988.

Hilton Waikoloa Village to Host National Tour Association’s 2013 Contact Conference

The Big Island of Hawai‘i is the site of next year’s Contact, National Tour Association’s (NTA) tour operator-exclusive event, slated for August 15–17, 2013. The announcement was made at this year’s Contact by Jim Reddekopp Jr., NTA Board chairman and CEO, who lives on Hawai‘I and operates Earth Bound Tours and the Hawaiian Vanilla Co.

“You may have seen Hawai‘i before, but you’ve never see the Big Island like you’ll see it next year,” Reddekopp told the gathering of travel professionals here. “You can look forward to this as a barefoot native adventure.”

Last year NTA rejuvenated its Tour Operator Spring Meet by switching to a late-summer date and incorporating an education program with three tracks: CEO/owner, sales/marketing or operations/product development. Contact allows tour operators to connect in an intimate setting where they can explore business opportunities, discuss challenges and continue their professional development.

Along with conducting business appointments, Contact attendees engage in sightseeing and familiarization trips. Reddekopp, a lifelong resident of Hawai‘i, is eager to showcase his home state. “We have been working with our local suppliers to provide a fantastic Hawaiian event,” he said.

The conference will take place at Hilton Waikoloa Village, a 62-acre resort on the Kohala Coast on Hawai‘i Island, where conferees can swim, golf, dine, dolphin-watch and participate in a 5-K run.

About the folks of NTA:

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2012 Pokemon World Champions Announced

The 2011–2012 Play! Pokémon season came to a thrilling conclusion this weekend at the 2012 Pokémon World Championships in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

Six battle-tested champions walked away as the world’s best Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) and video game players, rising above hundreds of other Pokémon players that came to the Big Island from more than 30 countries, including the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Representing their nations proudly in paradise, each player’s journey began nearly a year ago, battling in events over the course of the Play! Pokémon season sanctioned by The Pokémon Company International. The hard work and dedication to their craft led all players to Pokémon’s premiere competitive event.

The 2012 Pokémon TCG and Video Game World Champions are:

• 2012 Pokémon TCG Junior Division World Champion, Shuto Itagaki from Japan.
• 2012 Pokémon Video Game Junior Division World Champion, Abram Burrows from the United States of America.
• 2012 Pokémon TCG Senior Division World Champion, Chase Moloney from Canada.
• 2012 Pokémon Video Game Senior Division World Champion, Toler Webb from the United States of America.
• 2012 Pokémon TCG Masters Division World Champion, Igor Costa from Portugal.
• 2012 Pokémon Video Game Masters Division World Champion, Ray Rizzo from the United States of America.

Winners of the invitation-only tournament earned the title of Pokémon World Champion, received a special Pikachu World Championships trophy, and collectively earned more than $100,000 in scholarships. Additionally, The Pokémon Company International will choose a select number of Pokémon World Championships video game finalists and their Pokémon teams to be distributed as a Pokémon Trainer avatar in the upcoming Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 video games via the Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection service. Players of the games, and those who have wireless Internet access, will be able to battle these Pokémon World Championships finalists and their teams in the Pokémon World Tournament, a new battle arena featured in the games. Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2 launch globally the week of October 7th. The Pokémon Company International will announce details of the distribution later this year.

“The Pokémon World Championships not only showcase some of the best Pokémon TCG and video game players from around the world, they also celebrate an international community that is unified by the fun, friendship, and mutual respect that the Pokémon spirit embodies,” said J.C. Smith, director of Consumer Marketing for The Pokémon Company International. “We are incredibly proud of all the players who competed this weekend and want to extend a big congratulations to the 2012 Pokémon World Champions who represented their nations proudly.”

To view highlights from the 2012 Pokémon World Championships, including official standings, photos, videos, and player interviews, please visit www.pokemonworldchampionships.com. For more information on how to participate in future Play! Pokémon events, please visit www.pokemon.com/play.

2012 Pokémon Trading Card Game World Finalists—Junior Division(born in 2001 or later)
World Champion: Shuto Itagaki (Japan)
Second Place: Ian Robb (USA)

2012 Pokémon Trading Card Game World Finalists—Senior Division(born in 1997–2000)
World Champion: Chase Moloney (Canada)
Second Place: Colter Decker (USA)

2012 Pokémon Trading Card Game World Finalists—Masters Division (born in 1996 or earlier)
World Champion: Igor Costa (Portugal)
Second Place: Harrison Leven (USA)

2012 Pokémon Video Game World Finalists—Junior Division(born in 2001 or later)
World Champion: Abram Burrows (USA)
Second Place: Brian Hough (USA)

2012 Pokémon Video Game World Finalists—Senior Division (born in 1997–2000)
World Champion: Toler Webb (USA)
Second Place: Jaime Martinez Alonso (Spain)

2012 Pokémon Video Game World Finalists—Masters Division (born in 1996 or earlier)
World Champion: Ray Rizzo (USA)
Second Place: Wolfe Glick (USA)

Meet the Chefs Who Support Our Beef Industry at Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Local grass-fed beef is annually the star of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and this year’s event on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village is no exception. The annual event puts 100 pounds of 100 percent grass-fed beef into the hands of each participating chef to dazzle diners. Each chef gets a different cut—everything from nose to tail—and combines it with a cornucopia of local ingredients.

Mealani's Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Many Taste chefs are fans of grass-fed beef and readily share why they like the island-raised product. Each has a different reason.

“We use it because of the taste at ‘Umeke Market,” says Michelle Yamaguchi of Honolulu. “When you start with a great product, it’s hard to go wrong. Also, avoiding the use of hormones and antibiotics as much as possible is important to our customers.”

Cary Peterson of Kohala Burger and Taco in Kawaihae appreciates the environmental benefits of using grass-fed beef.

“I strive to leave a small environmental footprint and local beef requires much less energy and resources to process and deliver,” Peterson details.  “I also think the flavor is great for the type of food I do, which is very simple and straightforward.  I prefer to use a sweet bun for my burgers and the earthy flavor of the beef goes perfect with it. From a health standpoint, grass-fed beef is a no brainer—it’s antibiotic- and hormone-free!”

Mealani's Taste Of The Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival

2011 Mealani’s Taste Of The Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival

Chef Joshua Ketner adds, “At Hilo Bay Café, we believe grass-fed beef is good for our community and our environment, plus the taste is wonderful.” Ketner’s favorite cut is 21-day, dry-aged rib eye as “the marbling, taste and tenderness all work together.

Hilo native Ken Takahashi of Honolulu Burger Company says his business plan revolves around the concept of eating Big Isle grass-fed beef.

“Our main goal is to use grass-fed beef as hamburger patties for our burgers first,” he explains.  “In addition, we use sliced, grass-fed sirloin for our teri and philly dip sandwiches, as well as boneless short ribs and brisket for our braised short rib sandwiches.”

James Babian, executive chef of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, adds, “We want to support our local beef industry while adhering to our culinary direction of seasonal, regional and artisanal.” The resort purchases a 21-day aged, whole beef carcass every week for use in its on-site restaurants and staff cafeteria.

This year’s Taste again features over 30 chefs preparing locally produced food to wow attendees from 6-8 p.m. In addition to grass-fed beef, some of the chefs will be concocting culinary creations using other forage-fed meats: lamb, mutton, goat and USDA-inspected wild boar.

The use of different meats—and meat cuts—is all part of the culinary adventure when local ranchers, farmers, restaurateurs and eager eaters celebrate a bounty of locally produced food. While “tasting,” festival goers can meet a wide range of Hawai‘i’s food producers at gaily decorated vendor booths and talk story with the people who make a living growing and producing our food.

Pre-Taste activities include a culinary demo, with sampling, on how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef. Time is 3 p.m. for the 2012 installment of Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101. This year’s guest presenter is Chef Babian and he will be preparing Grilled Tri-Tip with Kiawe-Smoked Kabocha Pumpkin and Braciole de Manzo or Italian beef roll.

Tickets for the evening Taste and Cooking 101 demo are conveniently sold online at  http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com. Taste tickets remain priced at $40 presale and $60 at the door, while admission for the cooking demo is $10. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411 as soon as possible and no later than Sept. 14.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.

*Editors Note*  I suggest folks get in line early… here is a picture as the line was building last year:

Vendors Invited to the 17th Annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival

Local food producers are invited to display and sample their product at the 17th annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The state’s premiere ag showcase again offers a free trade show for Hawai‘i farmers, ranchers and food producers to hookup with Taste attendees. Called the Agriculture Festival, the expo coincides with the 6-8 p.m. Taste of the Hawaiian Range.

The Agriculture Festival provides a venue for food producers to present their products to participating chefs and attendees. The expo is also open for agricultural and sustainability-themed organizations to present informational displays.

Producers interested in participating may contact Amy Shimabukuro-Madden at 808-974-4107 or 410-933-0853 or amysanae@hawaii.edu. The signup deadline is July 30. Those interested in having an educational display may reach Victoria Vrooman at 808-640-4492 or vvrooman@hawaii.edu.

Taste will headline more than 30 statewide chefs who will dazzle diners using various cuts of forage-fed meats and a cornucopia of island fruits, vegetables and other farm products. Also on tap is a 3 p.m. culinary activity, “Grass Fed Beef Cooking 101,” presented by James Babian, executive chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.” Follow Taste of the Hawaiian Range on Facebook or on Twitter, #TasteHI.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores.

The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.

‘Q’uisine of Hearts Next Weekend – Tickets Still Available

Tickets are still available for ‘Q’uisine of Hearts—a delectable Valentine brunch Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Tickets, priced at $45 for adults and $20 for children aged 5-10, are for sale at Gourmet Chef’s Supply, Kailua Candy Company and Kona Wine Market in Kona or at Tropical Dreams Ice Cream in Waimea. Charge by phone at 808-329-2522.

‘Q’uisine of Hearts is presented by the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association as a benefit for local keiki nutrition awareness programs. It has been generously hosted by Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort for the last 17 years.

Debi Bishop, resort general manager, comments, “As an award-winning resort for families, Hilton Waikoloa Village is absolutely delighted to be a part of an event that benefits nutritional education programs for kids of all ages.  Executive Chef Charles certainly promotes the importance of a healthy balance of nutrition in what we serve every day at our resort.  In our continued support of ‘Q’uisine of Hearts, we are excited to help bolster the efforts of ACF in keeping our community and children healthy and well-nourished.”

The event offers a bountiful bruschetta buffet, custom omelet stations and eggs benedict—all prepared by the culinary students at Hawaii Community College-West Hawaii.  An array of handcrafted miniature desserts by local pastry chefs, bakers, chocolatiers and ice-cream makers are sure to please your special someone.

Sip champagne, wines, handcrafted ales, 100% Kona coffee, or tropical teas while enjoying tinkling on the keyboard by pianist Loren Wilken. A silent auction includes bidding on premier floral arrangements, plus intimate dinners and pupu parties prepared by local chefs.

For information, contact 808-333-5442.

Dessert Lovers Paradise – 17th Annual Quisine of Hearts

Coconut Divine Truffles. Lilikoi Mac Nut Cheesecake. White Chocolate-Dipped Double Fudge Brownie Pops. Cherry Supreme Ice Cream.

Calories don’t count at the 17th annual ‘Q’uisine of Hearts, a spectacular brunch that benefits several community nutrition awareness programs. Presented by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kona Kohala Chefs Assn., the fundraiser is 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Come hungry!

While innovative and mouth-watering desserts are definitely the draw at ‘Q’uisine, the culinary repast whets the sweet tooth with a sprawling bruschetta buffet stocked with breads, meats, cheeses and carefully crafted condiments arranged by West Hawaii community college culinary students. Also on tap are omelet and eggs benedict stations, wine, champagne and ales, plus piping hot coffee and tropical teas.

“Conceived to showcase the isle’s hard-working pastry chefs, bakers and confectioners—the event takes pride in delivering awe-inspiring delicacies that are infused with local products,” details Patti Kimball, event co-chair. “The undisputed high caliber of sweets is recognized through an annual critique performed by a trio of judges.”

Voted Best Dessert last year was the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Waimea Strawberry Salad and Mai Tai Sauce by then Mauna Kea Beach Resort Pastry Chef Ross Alaimo. The mascarpone cheese and gelatin delicacy was delectable topped with fresh island fruit and an indulgent tropical sauce that hinted of pineapple and rum.

Up to 15 culinary stations annually vie for Best Dessert bragging rights to the delight of enthusiastic tasters. This year, Kailua Candy Company will be offering its scrumptious Kona Coffee Chocolate Dream, which earned third place in the professional division at the 2011 Kona Coffee Festival Recipe Contest.

Serenading the scrumptious “eats” will be romantic piano music by Loren Wilken, including some of your favorite love songs. During the silent auction, attendees can vote for their favorite “sweetheart” floral arrangement and bid to take it home. Other auction items include private catered dinners by top island chefs, take-home Valentine-themed desserts by student chefs and out-of-the-ordinary gifts and furnishings.

‘Q’uisine of Hearts annually benefits 2000 Kona-Kohala keiki through ACF Chef and Child Foundation (CCF) nutrition awareness programs. Activities include visiting 40 classes of second graders each year from January through May to lead keiki in creating nutritious Fabulous Fruit Kabobs and Smart Sandwiches.

“The CCF initiative also reaches youth through hands-on fun at the annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest and workshops at Kona’s annual Girls Exploring Math & Science (GEMS),” adds Carol Whitaker, event co-chair.

Additionally, ‘Q’uisine supports Green Tables, a farm and garden philanthropic initiative for children by Les Dames d’Escoffier Hawaii in Waimea. Through Green Tables, CCF supports students who are planting a school garden. It also provides funds for Choose My Plate brochures geared for teens and seniors.

Tickets, priced at $45 for adults and $20 for children aged 5-10 are for sale at Gourmet Chef’s Supply, Kailua Candy Company and Kona Wine Market in Kona or at Tropical Dreams Ice Cream in Waimea. Charge by phone at 808-329-2522.

For information, contact 808-333-5442.