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Pictures and Results From the First Ever Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest

The first ever Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest happened today at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa on the Big Island.

Sam Choy, Kamehameha Investments Corporation Marketing Director Valery O’brien and Mayor Billy Kenoi

With over $10,000 in prizes given away to the winners… the real winner was Jim Lighter and “The Heart of the Campus-Equip the Kitchens Campaign” of Hawaii Community College  Palamanui campus who received $1,000 cash collected from more then the 350 folks who paid $3.00 to attend the event.

The event began at 10:00 in the morning in the Convention Center area of the Sheraton and Sam Choy himself was on hand to enjoy the festivities and meet the contestants and folks coming out to the event.

Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa  Manager Paul Horner and Sam Choy sample some poke

Kimo Kahoano and Ke’ea Alapai were the emcees for the day and made sure the contest ran smoothly and folks knew what was going on when and where.

There were four categories and the following folks entered in them.  The professional entrants were judged separately from the amateur entrants (professionals are listed in bold below):

In the Traditional Poke category the following folks entered:

  • Dena Domingo from the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa
  • Jason Kanekoa from the Waikoloa Beach Marriott
  • Ken Schloss from Huggos
  • Dale Taylor from The Fish Hopper Seafood & Steak Restaurant
  • Kekuanaoa Hind from Ohana Home Maintenance
  • Guy Toyama from Natural Energy Lab Hawaii Authority (NELHA)
  • Eli Kipilii

The following contestants entered in the Spicy Poke category:

  • Jason Kanekoa from Waikoloa Beach Marriott
  • Margy Hanselman
  • Jon Kawamura from Aqua Engineering
  • Susie Osborne from Kua O Ka La Charter School in Pahoa
  • Eli Kipilii

In the Cooked Poke category the following folks entered:

  • Deana Delmar from Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge
  • Jason Kanekoa from Waikoloa Beach Marriott
  • Gwen Edwards
  • Kristine Stone from Hawaii Community College Culinary

And in the category of Poke with Soy Sauce the following folks entered:

  • Kelsi Ikeda from Sandy’s Drive Inn
  • Jason Kanekoa from Waikoloa Beach Marriott
  • Kevin Lanning from Island Thyme Gourmet
  • Eli Kipili
  • Ryan Koyanagi from Aqua Engineering
  • Keoki J. Rivera

There was a panel of 12 judges – Kyle Chock (Kamehameha Investment Corp. President), Sam Choy Jr. (Fisherman, Poke Connoisseur), Greg Chun, (Kamehameha Schools VP – Keauhou Kahalu’u Ed Group), Nancy Ginter-Miller (Produce to Product, Inc.), Fanny Au Hoy (Retired Hulihe’e Palace Curator), Paul Horner (Sheraton Keauhou Resort & Spa Resort Manager), Kawehi Inaba (Fit Express), Bruce Kekuewa (Kamehameha Schools Kea’au Campus Food Service Manager), Rex Matthews (Fisherman), Barbara Nobriga (Daughters of Hawaii), Dr. Keanu Sai, Carla Tracy (Maui News Dining Editor), Mark Tsuchiyama (Hualalai Resort Executive Chef) and Jaz Yglesisas (KAPA Radio).

After the judges had their share, the public then got to enjoy samples of all the poke and folks got to enjoy the same stuff that the judges got to try!

While the judges were deciding who the winners would be, Guy Toyama from the Friends of NELHA, gave an educational presentation on “NELHA: A Catalyst for Sustainable Seafood Production” that was well received by the folks listening to the presentation.

Most of the contestants and Sam Choy

Sam Choy himself personally brought the contestants aside from everyone and talked about the importance of Poke on the Big Island and said the following to the contestants:


Then the fun began!

Shortly there after a Celebrity Poke Cook-Off happened where Mayor Billy Kenoi himself officiated the 30 minute challenge that was won by Gene “Bucky” Leslie of Flowers for Mama.

Then the winners were announced:

  • Overall Winner: Gwen Edwards of Kailua-Kona
Guy Toyama’s Traditional Poke was a hit!
First Place Category Winners:
  • Cooked: Gwen Edwards with Paniolo Shrimp Poke
  • Spicy: Susan Osborne with ‘Aina Life Culinary Arts Class at Kua O Ka La Charter School in Pahoa with ‘Ulu-Ahi Spicy Poke
  • Traditional: Guy Toyama of NELHA in Keahole-Kona  (he used all ingredients sourced from NELHA) with Keahole Point Poke
  • With Soy Sauce: Keoki Rivera of Kailua-Kona with Little Touch of Heaven

Professional Awards:

  • Traditional
  1. First Place: Jayson Kanekoa of Waikoloa Beach Marriott with Fruits of the Sea Poke
  2. Second: Ken Schloss of Huggo’s With Ahi Tuna Poke Tower
  3. Third: Dale Taylor of The Fish Hopper Seafood & Steak Restaurant with Chef Dale’s Lilikoi/Mango Poke
  •  Cooked
  1. First: Jayson Kanekoa of Waikoloa Beach Marriott with Lobster, Scallops & Shrimp Cappucino Poke
  2. Second: Deanna Del Mar of Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge with Lilikoi Spice Poke
  • Spicy
  1. First: Jayson Kanekoa (only pro vying in this category) with Spicy Kampachi Pockets Poke
  • With Soy Sauce
  1. First: Kevin Lanning of Island Thyme Gourmet Catering in Kailua-Kona With Poke Contest Recipe
  2. Second: Kelsi Ikeda of Sandy’s Drive In in Kainaliu with Everything but the Oxtail Poke!
  3. Third: Jayson Kanekoa of Waikoloa Beach Marriott with Soy Sake Box Poke
The contest winners received koa bowls, cash and gift certificates from sponsors and the Celebrity Cookoff winner received a neighbor island overnighter.
Sam Choy closed out the day by giving a presentation himself on how he likes to make his world famous poke.
A great time was had by all and a special thanks to the sponsors of the event: Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, Aloha Shoyu, Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, Island Fresh Fish, KTA Keauhou, Kamehameha Schools, Sam Choy’s Restaurant, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Young’s Market-Waivera Water, Y Hata, and Great American Self-Storage.

Schedule for Sunday’s Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest

Come cheer on your favorite contestants—local chefs and amateurs—at the inaugural Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest while enjoying a full lineup of culinary activities and entertainment. Time is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, March 18 at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort’s Convention Center.

Like Sample? Come Sunday! (Photo by Doug Peebles)

Public admission to all contest activities is $3 at the door (keiki 12-and-under are free) and benefit “The Heart of the Campus-Equip the Kitchens Campaign” for the future Hawaii Community College Palamanui campus. Free Roberts trolley will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Poke critiquing begins 10 a.m. with awards and public tasting at 12:30 p.m. Also on tap is a Hawai‘i Island Marketplace; a presentation titled “NELHA: a Catalyst for Sustainable Seafood Production” at 10:30 a.m., a Celebrity Poke Cook-off at 11:30 p.m. and a demo on “How to Make Poke by Sam Choy” at 1:30 p.m.

Ahi Poke (Photo by Doug Peebles)

Headlining the entertainment lineup is The ROOKI’s: Don Kauli‘a on slack key, Russell Paio on guitar, Keola Grace on electric bass and Pomaika‘i Brown on a “frypan” steel guitar. The Hawaiian group’s name is an acronym for the Royal Order of Kamehameha I.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 16-18 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.

The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Kamehameha Schools, the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort Spa, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Aloha Shoyu and Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company.

OCEANS 11 Conference Kicks Off at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

Hawai`i’s Big Island will be the site of the international OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona conference sponsored by the Marine Technology Society (MTS) and the Oceanic Engineering Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (OES/IEEE).

The Oceans 11 Conference

The theme for this year’s conference is Oceans of Opportunity: International Cooperation and Partnerships Across the Pacific. OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona will be held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawai`i, September 19-22, 2011. Conference registration is now open at http://www.oceans11mtsieeekona.org.

The conference is the major international forum for scientists, engineers, and responsible ocean users to present the latest research results, ideas, developments, and applications in Oceanic Engineering and Marine Technology. Hawai`i’s conference will feature tutorials on special interest topics, a comprehensive technical program of lectures and presentations, a student program, and a large oceans technology trade show with products from over 80 companies. Attendees will include a world-wide collection of experts in the field, educators, and students.

The last time Hawai`i hosted this conference was in 2001 in Honolulu, Hawai`i. More than 2,000 attendees are expected to participate this year, says Conference Chairperson and Director of the Hawai`i Undersea Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, John Wiltshire, Ph.D. The conference committee has already received over 700 abstracts from around the world, the greatest number in the history of the conference. The conference is expected to pump about $5 million into the Big Island economy.

The Oceans 11 Conference

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi is serving as an Honorary Co-Chair along with the Dean of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawai`i, Brian Taylor, Ph.D. “OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona focuses on ocean technology but we also cover a wide range of topics, including biological oceanography, aquaculture and marine geophysics,” says Dr. Wiltshire. “This year’s program emphasizes international  cooperation and includes a large number of Chinese presenters, as well as the bulk of the abstracts (94) from the International Symposium on Underwater Technology 2011 (UT11), which had to be cancelled because of the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan.” A complete list of abstract topics is available at http://oceans11mtsieeekona.org/main.cfm/EID/36/List-of-Abstract-Topics/

Among the Workshops offered include Local Tsunami Detection, Assesment and Warning Guidance with Donna Kocak and Eddie Bernard; LGEOSS Workshop XLII with Francoise Pearlman; and Partnerships Across the Pacific: Ocean Technology Collaborations with Government, Academia and Industry with Michael J. Larkin.


Makai side of the NEHLA plant

A special tour of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai`i Authority (NELHA) will be offered as an optional activity to conference attendees. At NELHA’s 870-acre site on the Big Island, various organizations explore opportunities for alternative energy production, solar-based energy techniques, aquaculture, marine biotechnology, and coldwater agriculture systems. NELHA is a sustainable, net-zero energy multi-use facility that engages in various distributed and renewable energy research, generation, development, demonstration, education, and outreach activities.

Exhibitors in the OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona trade show include leading ocean technology and engineering companies from around the world. For information on how your company can exhibit at OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona, contact Exhibits Chair, Ty Aldinger, at exhibit@oceans11mtsieeekona.org.

Floor Plan

Nearly 100 organizations have already committed to participating the Kona event. According to Aldinger, “Hosting this event provides a unique opportunity for Hawai`i companies to showcase their expertise and technology to the industry leaders in ocean science and engineering. In addition to the obvious local recognition, it will certainly open the door to international sales opportunities.”

Tutorials in full and half-day presentations meant to complement the technical program of the OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona conference will be offered on a wide variety of oceanographic subject matter, from Hyperspectral Imaging to How to improve your Federal Proposals by understanding DoD Processes. Other tutorial subjects include: AUV Technology and Application Basics, Acoustic Seabed Classification with Multibeam and Sidescan Images, and Model Testing and Simulation Techniques for Wave Energy Converters, among others.

Tutorials are conducted under the auspices of the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and participants may be eligible for Continuing Education Certificates. For more information about the Tutorial program and associated fees to participate, e-mail tutorial@oceans11mtsieeekona.org.

One of the missions of OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona is to foster and encourage participation by undergraduate and postgraduate engineering or science students enrolled in degree programs at accredited university or engineering schools around the world. Students are encouraged to attend the conference for the purpose of interacting with leading technical experts and to actively network for contacts for future employment opportunities.

The OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona Student Poster Competition has been a long-standing opportunity for students to be recognized by submitting a 500-800 word abstract. The posters are judged by experts in the respective fields, given awards and displayed during the conference. Students who were accepted for the Poster Program will receive a travel allowance, complimentary registration, and will have their work included in the IEEE Xplore digital library.

This year’s OCEANS conference will also host a free Educator’s day on Saturday, August 20, with full and half day curricula for upper elementary to high school teachers. Among the subjects offered to educators will be classes on how to teach a variety of ocean-related topics, including Corals and Climate Change, Sound in the Sea, Ocean Exploration, among others. Teachers interested in participating should register at: http://www.oceans11mtsieeekona.org.

Early-bird registration to attend OCEANS ’11 MTS/IEEE Kona is now being accepted through August 1, 2011. After August 1, rates increase. Registration is available in a variety of categories, from Life/Emeritus member to Student non-members with participant fees varying accordingly. Registration is also available for single day participation or the full conference from September 19-22, 2011. For complete conference registration information, visit the website at  http://www.oceans11mtsieeekona.org/main.cfm/CID/16/Registration/.

Hawaii-Okinawa Ocean Thermal Experts Talk Story

U.S. and Okinawan technical, environmental and financial specialists in ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) swapped knowledge during a two-day Ocean Energy Workshop at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) facility.

The goal of the workshop, which ended today (Monday, Sept. 12), was to move OTEC further toward commercialization.  Okinawa and Hawaii share a common problem—over reliance on fossil fuels—but also share a common asset in access to big temperature differences between surface and deep ocean waters.

OTEC, which was tested here in the late 1970s and found feasible by the U.S. government, uses these temperature differences to generate electricity.  It is an expensive system to build, but can produce power for a band of subtropical and tropical areas around the globe.  Cheap oil prevented alternatives such as OTEC from reaching commercialization.

“Our workshop sought to advance effective OTEC systems that can be demonstrated in both Hawaii and Okinawa by sharing technical, environmental and financial challenges,” said Guy Toyama of Friends of NELHA, which organized the workshop.  “The Hawaii-Okinawa Task Force was formed as part of the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Action Plan in 2009, and we’ve been working together since then.”

Mayor Choukou Taira

Mayor Choukou Taira

Okinawa, like Hawaii, is a long way from its nation’s mainland and Kumejima Island is at the most distant point.  Both already use deep water pipes to support industry, such as aquaculture and water desalination.  “The next steps are farming and energy,” said Kumejima Mayor Choukou Taira.  In a ceremony surrounded by Hawaiian culture, Taira and Hawai‘i Island Mayor William Kenoi inked a sister city agreement during the workshop.

The technical specialists debated whether a demonstration or pilot plant should be built, or if incremental research and development steps would be more politically and technically feasible.  The workshop participants debated that if a pilot plant were built, should it be the proposed 1megawatt size or something smaller.  Commercial plants are expected to be at least 25 megawatts, with plans on the drawing board for 100 MW and located offshore.

Saga University in Japan is conducting extensive OTEC research and seeks to work with Hawaii to develop next stage facilities in Kumejima and NELHA.
Breakout sessions outlined the following challenges and considerations.

Environmental aspects that need to be considered for onshore, the team decided:
Interruption or change of habitats, cultural issues, visual issues, assessment of deep-water nutrient impact, thermal issues and entrainment of organisms in the uptake pipe.  Offshore issues—cable impacts, acoustic, visual and navigational impacts.

Technical considerations:  No technical barriers to a 1 MW plant, but there are political ones including protecting downstream tenants from contamination.

Financial considerations for a 1 MW plant could include seeking support from the U.S. Department of Defense, a bilateral project with Japan/U.S.; or organizations like Blue Revolution Hawaii becoming a fundraiser.

Policy considerations: Need for healthy competition in the OTEC field; testing as large a scale as possible at NELHA should be entertained.

Workshops between the two countries will continue as part of the Task Force.

Legislative Update With Senator Josh Green

Senator Josh Green

Senator Josh Green

Media Release:

The 2011 legislative session has come to a close, and I am pleased to report that the legislature has approved over $30 million in funding for West Hawaii to invest in essential projects which will improve healthcare, education, law enforcement, transportation, and renewable energy research in our community, including:

  • $12 million for construction of a new Kona Judiciary Complex that will make our justice system safer and more efficient for our judges, juries, and police force
  • $6.8 million for improvements to Kuakini Highway, Queen Kaahumanu Highway, and Kohala Mountain Road
  • $6 million for improvements to Kona and Kohala Community Hospitals
  • $3.5 million for NELHA pipeline improvements
  • $1.5 million for construction and improvements to West Hawaii Explorations Academy

These projects were identified by our community as essential priorities for our district and will create jobs, encourage investment, and stimulate the economy of West Hawaii for years to come.

In addition to standing up for West Hawaii in the legislature, I continue to serve as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health.

I remain committed to doing everything possible to strengthen and improve Hawaii’s healthcare system, expand access to care and insurance, and address public health concerns from pollution, vog, and industrial contamination to childhood obesity and drug abuse.

This session, immediately after the earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami and nuclear crisis, I scheduled a series of emergency informational briefings in the Health Committee to keep the public informed of the latest and most accurate information on the potential for radioactive contamination reaching Hawaii.

As Chairman, I insisted that the Department of Health, the EPA, the FDA and other federal agencies provide us with continual updates on any possible impact this disaster might have on the people of Hawaii.

Going forward, I will continue to keep you fully informed of all public health concerns as they develop, and to do whatever is necessary to improve our healthcare system statewide.

Thank you again for your ideas and support. Please contact me any time at my personal email: joshuaboothgreen@yahoo.com

Let’s continue to work together to achieve more great results for our community.


Senator Josh Green