Hawaii’s favorite pupu gets its due at the first Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Sunday, March 18 at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa.
The inaugural culinary competition offers more than $10,000 in cash and prizes and is open to both amateur and professional chefs.
Poke is the Hawaiian word for “slice.” The local-style pupu (appetizer) consists of marinated, fresh local fish that’s raw, seared or cooked.
Spearheaded by celebrity chef Sam Choy, the contest celebrates locally sourced seafood with competition in four divisions. Culinary fun encourages the creative use of seaweed, seeds, herbs, spices, nuts, marinades, tofu, fruit, vegetables and seasoning.
Entry deadline is Feb. 28 and contest details are posted online on Facebook at Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest.
Contest-related activities start 10 a.m. and include a Hawaii Island Marketplace with fresh fish sales, guest cooking demo and a presentation on sustainable aquaculture by Guy Toyama of Friends of NELHA.
Poke contest judging starts 10 a.m. with an awards ceremony and tasting open to the public at 11:30 a.m. Admission to all activities is $3 at the door (keiki 12-and-under are free) and proceeds benefit the future culinary instruction facilities at Hawaii Community College-Palamanui.
A TV host, cookbook author and founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Choy put poke on the culinary map with his many tantalizing preparations. The award-winning restaurateur remembers the first poke contest in the early 1990s.
“It was held under a tent up in Kamuela and there were only a handful of entrants,” Choy said. “Today there are two dozen contests across the country.”
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.
Other weekend festivities include:
* Free Daughters of Hawaii Tribute 10 a.m. March 16 at Keauhou Bay
* Free Puana Ke Iki Lecture “1893 Executive Agreements & Impacts Today” by Dr. David Keanu Sai 5:30 p.m. March 16 at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa
* Keauhou Canoe Club’s Kuuipo Race HIPA Series Race March 17 at Keauhou Bay
* Free 12th annual Kamehameha III “Lani Kauikeaouli” Concert 5-10 p.m. March 17 on the lawn at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa.
Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is sponsored by the Keauhou Resort, Kamehameha Schools, the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort Spa, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai and Aloha Shoyu.