Show 221, April 29, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Big Island Chocolate FestivalIt’s a very special day of indulgence and celebration on the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We’re live from the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. We’re broadcasting from the Reef Lounge with an incredible ocean view.

Hawaii is the only state in the USA where cacao, the primary base of chocolate, can be successfully grown commercially.

Now a properly decadent preview of this Saturday’s full show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case that’s probably a pretty good thing…

When it comes to insider’s knowledge of the vibrant Chicago food scene one of the best sources is Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News Food Reporter, Steve Dolinsky, “The Hungry Hound.” Steve was recently nominated for his potential 14th James Beard Foundation Award for journalistic excellence in reporting. The James Beard Awards Gala is May 1st at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a veteran of The James Beard Awards in both New York and Chicago, Steve joins us with a preview of what’s in store and a report on the Media Awards.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of the Kona Cacao Association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawaii by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

Hawaii Island native Peter Abarcar, Jr. was promoted in 2015 from executive chef of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel to director of culinary and beverage operations. Chef Abarcar now oversees all culinary, food and beverage operations at the 350-room oceanfront resort including the resort’s signature restaurant, Coast Grille. He also supervises operations for extensive catering and banquets, the Ocean Terrace Restaurant and The Beach Bar. We pull him out of the busy kitchens and “Talk Story.”

Alicia Boada is an acclaimed pastry chef and instructor with 20 plus years of experience in the culinary industry. She is the West Coast Technical Advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate (The Barry Callebaut Group) whose brands include Cacao Barry, Callebaut and Mona Lisa, among more. As a Corporate Pastry Chef & Chocolatier, Chef Alicia’s role often calls on her to perform demonstrations and training worldwide keeping her on the edge of what’s happening in the contemporary pastry and chocolate world. Chef Alicia will be performing a chocolate demonstration as part of the Festival in addition to judging the Gala’s delicious offerings.

Maui Chef Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery is a judge for the Gala as well as the College Competition. She is a veteran of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chef Betty has been in the culinary field since 2003, developing a love for baking at a young age from her mother and grandmothers. She has been fortunate enough to travel with her husband living and working in the four corners of the country.

Guittard’s Chocolate Company’s Executive Chef and Chocolatier, Donald Wressell, really needs no long introduction to listeners. Prior to his joining Guittard Chocolate as the in-house pastry chef, Donald Wressell spent 19 years at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills where he was named the 2005 Pastry Chef of the Year, won Silver and Gold medals in the Grand Salon Culinaire and placed second at the Les Masters du Chocolat competition. Chef Donald also represented the USA four times in Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie and captained the winning team at the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship.

Chef instructor Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of University of Hawaii – Maui College oversees the college competition at The Big Island Chocolate Festival and has done it for several years. The Festival has had student participants from UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo and UH-Palamanui in Kona. It is Friday, April 28th and winners are announced at the Festival Gala. Chef Shurilla has been working and teaching in the culinary field for over thirty-four years. Prepare to be judged…

Andrew and William GruelChef Andrew Gruel is at Trade in Irvine this Saturday (busily training & cooking) in the soft opening phase of Two Birds and Butterleaf. He’ll happily fly the coop and be back with us next week.

Mahalo nui loa to The Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and Prince Resorts Hawaii, our gracious hosts in Hawaii.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

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