Stephanie Carpenter | Hawaii 24/7 Contributor
As Danny and Anna Akaka blessed the Mealani event, 35 chefs put the finishing touches on their dishes, which used 100 pounds of local beef, mutton, boar, goat and other meats, in a wide array of combinations to please any pallet.
The meat was sourced from humanely raised cattle, grass fed, free of antibiotics and hormones. The venue encourages education of local and sustainable agriculture.
“The primary reason to assign all the beef cuts is for chefs and attendees to get acquainted with them while having fun,” said Jeri Moniz, event chairperson and rancher. “By utilizing the whole animal, there’s no waste and the value of the animal goes up. This is important for our livestock industry.”
As nearly 2,000 hungry visitors grazed their way through the many creative presentations, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel presented one of my favorites. A pork noodle dish with a Kim Chee broth.
Also among the highlights — Roy’s delivered a great goat taco seasoned to perfection.
Delicious apple banana bread with lillikoi sauce, mac nut biscuits with papaya preserves prepared by first- and second-year Hawaii Community College Culinary Arts students.
One could even sample different varieties of sweet potato being grown to see which produce sweetness to quantity grown.
Outrageous coffee ice cream from UCC in Holualoa. Mahina Cafe delivered a vietnamese style goza. Kohala Burger and Taco created a mouth-watering beef taco.
Another great sampling was from Pueososteria a new restaurant in Waikoloa Village. Gnocchi with a delicate squash drizzle.
Outside, a handful of chefs continued to cook up their delicacies, despite a sprinkling of rain. On offer in the courtyard was the perennial crowd favorite – Beef Mountain oysters (also known as cow testicles).
Assisting in eco clean up were students from Kanu O Ka Aina Public Charter School in Waimea.
The event showcases the efforts of the island’s hard-working farmers, using a bounty of local vegetables, fruits and fungi in the chef’s culinary offerings.
Attendees had the opportunity to talk story with local growers, ranchers and producers of value-added food products at booths while enjoying samples of just-picked produce, juice, honey, chocolate, coffee and jams.
In addition, Taste of the Hawaiian Range offered sustainability and agriculture-themed educational displays.
Earlier in the day, those who wanted to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef could attend the event’s annual Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101 culinary demonstration.
This year’s guest presenter was Hubert Des Marais, executive chef of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.
A strong supporter of sourcing “local first,” Des Marais said he uses two or three whole beef carcasses per month at the AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort.
This is an event only comes once a year and not to be missed.
The ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, county Department on Environmental Management and community volunteers.
Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, county Research and Development Department, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores.
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