Categorized | Featured, Food

Porking out at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

For the first time, the Cochon 555 culinary tour made a stop on the Big Island and welcomed hundreds of foodies Sept. 21 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

The tour, now in its fifth year, was founded by Brady Lowe as a culinary contest and traveling tasting event to promote the sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. The tag line boasts ‘five chefs, five wineries and five pigs.’

“Quick orientation,” said Lowe before unleashing the hungry crowd on the tables and chefs. “We have five chefs up here, a thousand pounds of pig, about three to four dishes per chef.”

The five chefs typically compete with their dishes, but the Mauna Kea event was exhibition, said Peter Pahk, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s executive chef.

Chef Peter Pahk and his crew (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Chef Peter Pahk and his crew (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Pahk, who previously has competed in the contest, said he and Lowe were excited to bring the event to Hawaii.

“This happened kind of serendipitously,” Pahk said. “I called (Brady) in April, asked him if he could fit Mauna Kea Beach Hotel into his schedule, and he did. It’s non-competitive and just a fun event celebrating heritage and feral pigs.”

In addition to Pahk, chefs showing off their skills included Bistro Molokini’s Chef Michael Young, Pili Hawaii’s Chef Mark Noguchi, Town & Uptown Events’ Chef Ed Kenney, and celebrity Chef Lee Anne Wong.

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

This stop on the tour is something of a learning experience for the chefs visiting from the mainland, Pahk said.

“What is cool for Brady is that he learned so much about an insular and fragile environmental place that the Hawaiian islands are. Its a whole different creature,” he said “He learned how hard it is to do heritage pigs, how hard it is for farmers to deal with feral pigs and make it work. ”

Plenty for the pork was on offer – from pork blood noodles to pork pate on a cracker for dessert. For the not-so-squeamish, Chef Devin Lowder demonstrated how to butcher entire Hereford pig.

“We have a Hereford pig, which is a very rare heritage breed pig,” Lowe said. “You don’t know how lucky we are to have it here. Daphne and Ron (Ahualoa Hog Farm) are here. Along with chef Devin Lowder who did the cured meats. Its a pop up butcher shop, so everything on that pig is for sale to take home. And 100 percent of the proceeds go to the culinary school.”

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Pahk said the event is a boost for farmers, chefs and pork lovers in Hawaii.

“There’s a lot of disheartened farmers, not only on the Big Island but on Oahu, too,” Pahk said. “There’s not a whole lot of market for the local, heritage pig. What we want to do with this is bring awareness to the feral pig.”

While many consider the feral a nuisance, Pahk said, it’s also a local, sustainable food source, as well as a cultural icon.

“It’s a nuisance to the farmer, a nuisance to the resident. The pigs just tear up everything in sight. What the islanders have been doing is getting the feral pigs, selling them to Kulana Foods or other ranchers, and sort of ‘domesticating them’, raising them, slaughtering them, and turning it into a feral ‘wild’ pig item on the Big Island,” he said.

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Pahk said he and Lowe may return to Hawaii to throw more of the Cochon 555 spotlight on the feral pig.

“Brady has envisioned a feral, wild hog sausage throw down. The most sustainable way to do feral pigs is to grind it. Just get the pig, slaughter it, and grind it from head to tail and make beautiful sausage,” Pahk said.

“No. 1, it takes care of the whole pig. It takes care of the farmer because he doesn’t have to worry about selling parts. It takes care of the chef because he doesn’t have to worry about selling parts. Start with the pork chop, you know, end up with the loin, and then end up with the ham,” he said. “And it’s just difficult.”

In addition to the pork on parade, the event featured local fruits, cheeses, jams, jellies and a host of speciality beverages.

— Find out more:
www.cochonisland.com

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

(Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 

 

Become a fan on facebook

 

 

Quantcast
%d bloggers like this: