SAN FRANCISCO — Hawaii is a rich culinary melting pot where cultures and flavors blend to create Hawaii Regional Cuisine, a movement that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
On Sunday, Oct. 30, James Beard award-winning chef Alan Wong (Alan Wong’s Honolulu and The Pineapple Room) and Hawaii food historian Arnold Hiura will bring a taste of the Islands to the Bay Area with a tasting and a “talk story” book-signing event at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco Japantown.
Attendees will learn about the evolution of the Islands’ unique culinary landscape and how it has inspired Wong. They will also have the opportunity to taste Hawaii — literally. Wong will serve dishes from his newest cookbook, “The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong,” and Hiura, assisted by Hukilau Restaurants, will serve classic Hawaii fare featured in his book, “Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands.”
A ticket to the event is $75 and includes the “talk-story” book-signing and tasting, and a choice of Wong’s book or Hiura’s book. Space is limited. Visit www.thebluetomato.net/tastehawaiitour for information and ticket purchases.
About Alan Wong
Wong is known the world over for his creative, cutting-edge cuisine. A 1996 winner of the James Beard Award, he is a tireless ambassador for Hawaii Regional Cuisine and a leader in America’s farm-to-table movement. He has worked previously at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Lutèce in New York City and The Canoe House on the Big Island of Hawaii. In 1995 he opened Alan Wong’s Restaurant —now Alan Wong’s Honolulu — and, in 1999, The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong, also in Honolulu.
More than just a cookbook, “The Blue Tomato” is a testament to Wong’s conviction that anything is possible in today’s world — with the right mix of creativity, persistence and innovative thinking. It is a personal journey with the chef, featuring more than 200 individual recipes, some of his own photography, travel anecdotes and the sources of his inspiration. An indispensable guide for the home cook, it is also a resource for the serious cook or professional seeking the how and why of Wong’s culinary techniques and creative process.
About Arnold Hiura
Hiura is an independent writer, editor and media consultant based in Honolulu. He previously served as editor of The Hawaii Herald and curator for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Born and raised in the sugar plantation town of Papa’ikou, about five miles north of Hilo on the Big Island, he spent several years researching Hawaii’s culinary traditions to compile his book.
In “Kau Kau” (the traditional all-purpose pidgin word for Island food), Hiura explores the history and heritage of food in Hawaii, with little-known culinary tidbits, interviews with chefs and farmers, more than 70 recipes ranging from local plantation classics to Hawaii Regional Cuisine, and a treasury of rare photos and illustrations.
“Kau Kau” and “The Blue Tomato” are back-to-back recipients of the Hawaii Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po’okela Award of Excellence in Cookbooks in 2009 and 2010, respectively, both published by Watermark Publishing of Honolulu.
The Taste Hawaii Tour was made possible with help from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Hawaiian Airlines, HAWAII Magazine, Hukilau Restaurants, the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, and the JCCCNC.