Show 223, May 13, 2017: Pam Cooper, Co-Founder, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii

Pam CooperThe Big Island of Hawaii’s first tree-to-bar chocolate producer is The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory established in 1999. In Kailua-Kona they grow cacao on their own plantation, ferment it, dry and process the beans and then create premium, single origin chocolate of the highest quality in a multi-step process.

“Welcome to Kona on the Island of Hawaii, home of Original Hawaiian Chocolate – the only chocolate of its kind in the world!”

“Beginning in 1997 we have dedicated ourselves to creating the most delicious and unique of chocolates – 100% Hawaiian made and grown. There is something about our volcanic soil, Island showers and tropical Hawaiian sun that blesses the cacao trees with a unique flavor that is world renowned.”

“We are the first producers to grow and process 100% Hawaiian cacao chocolate anywhere on earth. We process only Big Island grown cocoa beans. Our processing factory is completely self-contained, assuring total quality control from the fields to the final chocolate bars.”

“We invite you to experience our exceptionally unique chocolate, grown, harvested, processed and packaged in Hawaii – America’s own. And remember, Chocolate is Aloha!

Plantation tours (highly recommended) are available Wednesday and Friday mornings. The on-site Chocolate Shoppe (with unique specialty items) hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays. Most of their artisan, single origin chocolate products (Individual Bars, One Pound Bars, Large & Small Plumerias and Roasted Cacao Nibs) are also available via their Website and shipped FedEx.

Founder Pam Cooper joins us.

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Show 221, April 29, 2017: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao Association (KCA)

Farsheed BonakdarFarsheed 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.

Beyond creating, implementing and promoting the Big Island Chocolate Festival, the Kona Cacao Association works with cacao growers, producers, chocolate enthusiasts and chefs to help create a recognizable brand for Hawaii Island Chocolate. KCA members work together towards creating a structure to maintain the quality of cacao grown, marketed and shipped from Hawaii for the future growth of this fledging industry.

Working with the American Culinary Federation, Kona Kohala Chefs Association, KCA encourages the advancement of culinary students at both the High School and College levels.

The 6th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala sold out with a capacity 600 guests.

We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

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Show 43, October 12, 2013: Ken Love, President of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Sharwil AvacadoThe State of Hawaii has some of the most fertile agricultural land in the United States yet, in recent years, this dirt hasn’t been used for agriculture. Sadly they need to import most of their fruits and vegetables from the Mainland. Change is in the tropical Hawaiian breezes…

On the Big Island of Hawaii, for example, over 200 varieties of avocados grow. The pearl of the group is the Sharwil. It’s creamy with a rich buttery flavor, and prized by local chefs.

Surprisingly until very recently the USDA wouldn’t allow the Sharwil to be imported into the continental 48 states. This is a real shame because the seasons of the Sharwil match the seasons of availability for imported avocados from Mexico. Wouldn’t you want to enjoy a made in the USA fruit which also supports our economy?

Ken Love, the President of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, joined us from The Big Island to explain what has changed…It’s a baby step but marks significant progress.

Fingers crossed…

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June 1: Hawaiian Food and Restaurant Special

Podcasts

Segment One: Hawaii Food Tours’Chef Matthew Gray
Segment Two: Jeffrey Vigilla, executive chef of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s, Honolulu
Segment Four: Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier and partner in DK Restaurants, Honolulu
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, The Big Island, Hawaii
Segment Six: Les Apoliona, Land Asset Manager, Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools of Hawaii

Summer is upon us and the vacation travel season is at hand. Both Jet and Producer Andy have recently been to Hawaii. Saturday will be our Hawaii special bringing you the best (and tastiest) tips for visits to Oahu and The Big Island.

Matthew Gray of Hawaii Food ToursChef and food critic Matthew Gray has been objectively observing the Oahu food scene since 1993. He was previously the food critic for the local newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Whether it’s a joint in Chinatown making their own noodles or the best in high-end cuisine Matthew knows the territory.

Some six years ago he created Hawaii Food Tours to provide visitors with highly entertaining, one-of-a-kind food adventures. His signature food tour is his Hole-in-the-Wall Food Tour where you discover the rich history of Honolulu through food. Matthew takes his guests to unusual places they would never discover on their own.

Chef Jeffrey Vigilla of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach ResortJeffrey Vigilla is the accomplished executive chef of the 2,860 room Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu on 22 lush tropical acres. It’s the largest hotel property on the famed Waikiki Beach with the widest stretch of beach. Chef Vigilla is going local with as much of his menu ingredients as possible. His chocolate is from Waialua Estates on Oahu and he even sources local honey.

 

Alan WongHawaii’s Alan Wong is one of the pioneers of Hawaiian Regional cuisine. Now, sourcing and serving the freshest local ingredients is in vogue. In Hawaii, Alan owns the flagship Alan Wong’s in Honolulu as well as the more casual Pineapple Room in Ala Moana Center. On Maui his most recent establishment is Amasia at the Grand Wailea.

The President dines with the First Lady at Alan Wong’s on his yearly vacations on Oahu.

On Sunday, June 2nd Chef Alan will be one of the celebrity chefs cooking at the Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation Benefit at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach.

Chuck FuruyaChuck Furuya of the D.K. Restaurant Group with hugely successful properties on Oahu, Maui, and The Big Island was only the 10th person in the United States to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier examination. He’s the recognized leader in the Islands in furthering wine education.  He loves to introduce undiscovered wines to his guests and good value is always part of his mission. No wine snobbery here…

Sam ChoyThe Big Island’s Sam Choy is known as Hawaii’s culinary ambassador to the world. He has a new restaurant on The Big Island, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, with a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. He’s also known as the “Godfather of Poke” which is his signature dish. Chef Sam is the author of 16 cookbooks and is a regular culinary celebrity chef aboard Crystal Cruises.

Kamehameha Schools is Hawaii’s largest private landowner with some 365,000 acres on The Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. They own the choice land in Waikiki that are the sites of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and associated upscale retail complex. One of their new initiatives is to support value added agriculture with entrepreneurial leaseholders of their land. Two out of three coffee estates in the Kona area are on Kamehameha Schools leased land.

Les Apoliona, a land asset manager for the north Kona district for the Land Assets Division of Kamehameha joins us to talk about the inventive effort to support these businesses and the move to make The Big Island more self sufficient in the production of food. Les has a background in food service and hotel management and is well-known in the restaurant community of The Big Island.

Podcasts

Segment One: Hawaii Food Tours’Chef Matthew Gray
Segment Two: Jeffrey Vigilla, executive chef of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu
Segment Three: Celebrity Chef Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s, Honolulu
Segment Four: Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier and partner in DK Restaurants, Honolulu
Segment Five: Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, The Big Island, Hawaii
Segment Six: Les Apoliona, Land Asset Manager, Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools of Hawaii/a>