Show 570, March 23, 2024: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

“The story of Copia Vineyards begins with the passion of Anita and Varinder Sahi, their shared love of wine and the beauty of its source. The Sahis each had different paths to this world. He has an engineering and business background, and she is a restaurant and marketing veteran. He globetrotted for work and his love for wine grew. She worked side-by-side with some of the finest restaurateurs and Michelin-starred chefs, cultivating her zeal for fine food and wine. Their shared interests, entrepreneurship and life’s ever-winding path sparked a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country in 2015. Essentially, they never left. In 2017, the Sahis’ search to find a special site to produce world-class Rhône and Bordeaux varietals was successful. They became the proud stewards of 50 acres of paradise-on-earth in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. It is now a veritable winemaker’s dream with nearly 40,000 vines planted in 24 distinct blocks. In 2022, their estate grew to include 26 acres of dramatic landscape in the Adelaida District. The vines on the Copia Estate are now producing some of the most opulent, concentrated fruit with densely rich varietal characteristics.” Anita and Varinder Sahi join us to gently pull the cork on all that is Copia Vineyards and Winery.

“In 2017, VOX Kitchen opened in the heart of Little Saigon, bringing the ‘Chifa’ culinary movement —a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisines—to Orange County. The award-winning restaurant entered into 2024 with an expanded kitchen and dining room, new menu offerings, and a second location set to open in late 2024 at South Coast Plaza. The expansion allows Founder and Executive Chef Viet Ngyuen to dig deeper into the culinary ethos of VOX Kitchen and explore Chifa cuisine through the lens of seafood, a staple in Peru. VOX Kitchen is one of nearly a dozen pan-Asian fusion restaurants under the KEI Concepts umbrella, a trailblazing culinary group helmed by Nguyen. As the group’s founder, CEO, and executive chef, Nguyen is passionate about connecting diverse communities through the universal language of food – an ethos evident across all his concepts. Nguyen sees each restaurant as a canvas for this mission, where the culinary creations are not just dishes but cultural ambassadors.” Founder and Executive Chef Viet Nguyen is our guest.

“Indulge in a decadent world of sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii. The BICF promises an unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive walk-around gala of all galas! This year the theme as ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to the 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.” Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand along with a bar of pure Hawaiian chocolate.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. Restaurants in California are still struggling to fully recover from the pandemic and now there are more storm clouds on the horizon. Insurance underwriters in California are frequently now not renewing restaurants’ policies. Chef Andrew provides the concerning overview.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Show 570, March 23, 2024: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part One

Farsheed Bonakdar of Cocoa Outlet and Andy Harris

“Indulge in a world of tempting sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

“The BICF promises unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive gala of all galas! This year the theme is ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.”

“The Festival encores their beloved gala setup with even more tantalizing food booths outside and inside this stunning venue. The 2024 Gala evening event, on Saturday, April 27, 2024, promises unlimited tastings at 15 to 18 chef created food stations featuring delectable sweet and savory offerings, along with unlimited beer and wine pours from the Festival’s generous sponsors. Awards are given to the participating chefs as judged in various categories so this is a friendly, but highly competitive, competition!”

“Enjoy the rhythmic beats of a lively DJ or live music, explore a fabulous silent auction, and immerse yourself in all-around extravagant chocolate-themed fun. Don’t miss the chance to make your life even decadently sweeter by joining The 11th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the most savored Hawaii-based event of the year!”

“The mission at the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. (the Presenters of The Big Island Chocolate Festival) is to cultivate the Big Island’s cacao industry, making the festival an educational beacon for cacao farmers, the hospitality sector, and chocolate enthusiasts alike.”

Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand.

Show 570, March 23, 2024: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part Two

Farsheed Bonakdar of the Kona Cacao Association

“Indulge in a world of tempting sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

“The BICF promises unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive gala of all galas! This year the theme is ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.”

“The Festival encores their beloved gala setup with even more tantalizing food booths outside and inside this stunning venue. The 2024 Gala evening event, on Saturday, April 27, 2024, promises unlimited tastings at 15 to 18 chef created food stations featuring delectable sweet and savory offerings, along with unlimited beer and wine pours from the Festival’s generous sponsors. Awards are given to the participating chefs as judged in various categories so this is a friendly, but highly competitive, competition!”

“Enjoy the rhythmic beats of a lively DJ or live music, explore a fabulous silent auction, and immerse yourself in all-around extravagant chocolate-themed fun. Don’t miss the chance to make your life even decadently sweeter by joining The 11th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the most savored Hawaii-based event of the year!”

“The mission at the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. (the Presenters of The Big Island Chocolate Festival) is to cultivate the Big Island’s cacao industry, making the festival an educational beacon for cacao farmers, the hospitality sector, and chocolate enthusiasts alike.”

Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association continues with a ripe cacao pod in hand.

March 23: Copia Vineyards and Winery, VOX Kitchen, Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part One
Segment Three: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part Two
Segment Four: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part One
Segment Five: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part Two
Segment Six: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part One
Segment Seven: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Andy Harris, Executive Producer and Co-host previews the show.

“The story of Copia Vineyards begins with the passion of Anita and Varinder Sahi, their shared love of wine and the beauty of its source. The Sahis each had different paths to this world. He has an engineering and business background, and she is a restaurant and marketing veteran. He globetrotted for work and his love for wine grew. She worked side-by-side with some of the finest restaurateurs and Michelin-starred chefs, cultivating her zeal for fine food and wine. Their shared interests, entrepreneurship and life’s ever-winding path sparked a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country in 2015. Essentially, they never left. In 2017, the Sahis’ search to find a special site to produce world-class Rhône and Bordeaux varietals was successful. They became the proud stewards of 50 acres of paradise-on-earth in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. It is now a veritable winemaker’s dream with nearly 40,000 vines planted in 24 distinct blocks. In 2022, their estate grew to include 26 acres of dramatic landscape in the Adelaida District. The vines on the Copia Estate are now producing some of the most opulent, concentrated fruit with densely rich varietal characteristics.” Anita and Varinder Sahi join us to gently pull the cork on all that is Copia Vineyards and Winery.

“In 2017, VOX Kitchen opened in the heart of Little Saigon, bringing the ‘Chifa’ culinary movement —a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisines—to Orange County. The award-winning restaurant entered into 2024 with an expanded kitchen and dining room, new menu offerings, and a second location set to open in late 2024 at South Coast Plaza. The expansion allows Founder and Executive Chef Viet Ngyuento dig deeper into the culinary ethos of VOX Kitchen and explore Chifa cuisine through the lens of seafood, a staple in Peru. VOX Kitchen is one of nearly a dozen pan-Asian fusion restaurants under the KEI Concepts umbrella, a trailblazing culinary group helmed by Nguyen. As the group’s founder, CEO, and executive chef, Nguyen is passionate about connecting diverse communities through the universal language of food – an ethos evident across all his concepts. Nguyen sees each restaurant as a canvas for this mission, where the culinary creations are not just dishes but cultural ambassadors.” Founder and Executive Chef Viet Nguyen is our guest.

“Indulge in a decadent world of sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii. The BICF promises an unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive walk-around gala of all galas! This year the theme as ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment. Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand along with a bar of pure Hawaiian chocolate.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries. French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut perfectly crisp fries. Chef Andrew shares his proven technique.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Anita and Varinder Sahi of Copia Vineyards and Winery

“The abridged story of Copia Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles: Passionate curiosity, tireless effort and a sense of gratitude.”

“The word Copia is a Latin root word that means abundance or plenty. It’s an apt name for a winery that is created by two people who have always chased the glass half full.”

“The story of Copia Vineyards begins with the passion of Anita and Varinder Sahi, their shared love of wine and the beauty of its source. The Sahis each had different paths to this world. He has an engineering and business background, and she is a restaurant and marketing veteran. He globetrotted for work and his love for wine grew. She worked side-by-side with some of the finest restaurateurs and Michelin-starred chefs, cultivating her zeal for fine food and wine. Their shared interests, entrepreneurship and life’s ever-winding path sparked a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country in 2015. Essentially, they never left.”

“In 2017, the Sahis’ search to find a special site to produce world-class Rhône and Bordeaux varietals was successful. They became the proud stewards of 50 acres of paradise-on-earth in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. It is now a veritable winemaker’s dream with nearly 40,000 vines planted in 24 distinct blocks. In 2022, their estate grew to include 26 acres of dramatic landscape in the Adelaida District. Both vineyard sites have breathtakingly beautiful slopes, calcareous soils and strong marine influence. Simply put, the Sahis believe that these vineyards are legendary. The vines on the Copia Estate are now producing some of the most opulent, concentrated fruit with densely rich varietal characteristics.”

“Guests are invited to experience Anita and Varinder Sahi’s tireless passion for premium winemaking, cutting edge viticulture and warm hospitality in equal measure. Copia’s Adelaida Vineyard Estate offers a lux oasis for guests to enjoy a signature wine flight of premium wines with a curated culinary pairing. The 60 to 90 minute in-depth experience takes place in their modern Tasting Room and cozy outdoor patio areas (weather permitting).” Appointments are recommended.

Anita and Varinder Sahi join us to gently pull the cork on all that is Copia Vineyards and Winery.

Viet Nugyen of VOX Kitchen

“In 2017, VOX Kitchen opened in the heart of Little Saigon, bringing the ‘Chifa’ culinary movement —a fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisines—to Orange County. The award-winning restaurant entered into 2024 with an expanded kitchen and dining room, new menu offerings, and a second location set to open in late 2024 at South Coast Plaza. The expansion allows Founder and Executive Chef Viet Ngyuen to dig deeper into the culinary ethos of VOX Kitchen and explore Chifa cuisine through the lens of seafood, a staple in Peru.”

“VOX Kitchen is one of nearly a dozen pan-Asian fusion restaurants under the KEI Concepts umbrella, a trailblazing culinary group helmed by Nguyen. As the group’s founder, CEO, and executive chef, Nguyen is passionate about connecting diverse communities through the universal language of food – an ethos evident across all his concepts. Nguyen sees each restaurant as a canvas for this mission, where the culinary creations are not just dishes but cultural ambassadors.”

“In January Nguyen unveiled an enhanced VOX Kitchen—a testament to his unwavering commitment to the brand’s innovative ethos. The enlarged dining room, boasting an additional 60 seats, elevates the restaurant’s capacity to 120, creating a more immersive dining experience. This expanded space serves as a canvas for Nguyen to not only diversify his menu offerings but also to introduce an open-concept kitchen.”

“Culinary creativity is a borderless concept,” comments Nguyen. “Culture and cuisine are powerful connectors, giving people a sense of pride and identity. With all our restaurants, our mission is to celebrate culture while bridging diverse communities through the universal language of food.”

“Nguyen opened his first restaurant, Súp Noodle Bar, in 2014 and since has grown the KEI Concepts roster to include, VOX Kitchen, Gem Dining, Nep Café, ROL Hand Roll Bar, Kin Izakaya, and INI Ristorante, all of which offer distinct interpretations of pan-Asian dining experiences pulling global influence from Italian, French, and Japanese cuisines.”

Farsheed Bonakdar of the Kona Cacao Association

“Indulge in a world of tempting sweetness at the 11th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) in Hawaii presented by the Kona Cacao Association, taking place on April 26-27, 2024, at the beautiful beach-front Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

“The BICF promises unforgettable experience filled with chocolate cooking demonstrations, cacao growing presentations, and the most festive gala of all galas! This year the theme is ‘Mystical Chocolate Masquerade’ and guests are encouraged to dress up, wear masks and get creative to win tickets to 2025 event. Picture a venue adorned with rich colors, luxurious velvet, and opulent gold accents, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening of sweet enchantment.”

The Festival encores their beloved gala setup with even more tantalizing food booths outside and inside this stunning venue. The 2024 Gala evening event, on Saturday, April 27, 2024, promises unlimited tastings at 15 to 18 chef created food stations featuring delectable sweet and savory offerings, along with unlimited beer and wine pours from the Festival’s generous sponsors. Awards are given to the participating chefs as judged in various categories so this is a friendly, but highly competitive, competition!

“Enjoy the rhythmic beats of a lively DJ or live music, explore a fabulous silent auction, and immerse yourself in all-around extravagant chocolate-themed fun. Don’t miss the chance to make your life even decadently sweeter by joining The 11th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the most savored Hawaii-based event of the year!”

“The mission at the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. (the Presenters of The Big Island Chocolate Festival) is to cultivate the Big Island’s cacao industry, making the festival an educational beacon for cacao farmers, the hospitality sector, and chocolate enthusiasts alike.”

Farsheed Bonakdar, President of the organizing Kona Cacao Association joins us with a ripe cacao pod in hand.

Chef Andrew Gruel of Big Parm and the Calico Fish House

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel, the menu-maker behind the full-service Calico Fish House (in the Sunset Beach area of Huntington Beach) and also the founder and pizzaiola of the fast-casual Big Parm (New Jersey-style pizza) located in the Mess Hall in Tustin provides another timely and informative Ask the Chef segment where he responds to listeners’ thoughtful inquiries.

French Fries…! There is nothing better than fresh-cut, perfectly crisp fries. Something that seems so simple, however, is rarely done right. Chef Andrew shares his perfected technique.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part One
Segment Three: Copia Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, with Anita and Varinder Sahi Part Two
Segment Four: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part One
Segment Five: VOX Kitchen, Fountain Valley, with Founder & Executive Chef Viet Nguyen Part Two
Segment Six: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part One
Segment Seven: Big Island Chocolate Festival, Hawaii with Farsheed Bonakdar Part Two
Segment Eight: Chef Andrew Gruel, Co-Host and Proprietor of Calico Fish House, with “Ask the Chef”

Show 523, April 29, 2023: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

BIg Island Chocolate Festival

Aloha from the 10th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. After a four-year hiatus we’re delighted to be back at this educational and entertaining celebration of all decadent things chocolate and cacao!

“The inaugural, first of its kind Pizza City Fest Los Angeles takes place April 29-30, 2023 at L.A. LIVE – Downtown Los Angeles’ Sports and Entertainment District – offering fans the unique opportunity to sample pizzas from Southern California’s best pizza makers all in one location over two days. Steve Dolinsky – a 13-time James Beard Award-winning food reporter and “The Food Guy” at NBC 5 Chicago – has turned his love of pizza into an all-encompassing endeavor. Now he has brought that same experience to Los Angeles (as he did last year in Chicago) and showcase the diversity – in both geography and styles – that the region exemplifies.” VIP for both days is already sold out. Limited tickets are available for Saturday with better availability for Sunday.

The celebrated Kanekoa Family on The Big Island of Hawaii have been cooking professionally for 3 generations. Jason Kanekoa is the long-time Executive Chef at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. His son, Ocean Kanekoa, is a past poke champion of the Hawaii Island Aloha Festival. During the pandemic Ocean created baskets of local farmers fruits and vegetables that he sold in an online store to benefit the struggling farmers who had lost their customers due to the closure of all restaurants and hotels. Ocean and his older sister, Jaydene, (Senior Marketing Manager for Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort) were part of the group of promising young chefs selected to compete on the first season of Peacock’s “Top Chef Family Style.” Chef Ocean’s goal is to open his own restaurant by Age 18. We’ll meet the already accomplished Ocean and Jaydene Kanekoa.

Kona Cacao Association is the creator of the Big Island Chocolate Festival. “The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the 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.” The Founder of the Kona Cacao Association, Farsheed Bonakdar, is our guest.

Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Stephane Treand is again participating in The Big Island Chocolate Festival on Saturday with the creation of a magnificent all chocolate showpiece designed to stun party guests and serve as a stunning buffet centerpiece. Tréand’s prestigious Pastry School in Tustin, California instructs students of all abilities in the pastry and baking arts. The finished creation will be a key feature on display at the Saturday Gala from 6-10 p.m.

The talented Culinary Team at the Fairmont Orchid is one of the participating restaurants in the Saturday Night Gala at The Big Island Chocolate Festival. “The vistas alone are worth a leisurely evening at Brown’s Beach House, The Fairmont Orchid’s AAA Four Diamond signature restaurant. Perched above Pauoa Bay, the celebrated fine dining venue takes in one of the island’s most spectacular sunset panoramas.” Representing the Fairmont Orchid is their Executive Sous Chef Daniel Sampson who is also an acclaimed pastry chef. Chef Daniel holds the honor of being Pastry Chef of The Year 2019 by ACF Kona Kohaha Chefs Association

Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa heads the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort’s progressive culinary program overseeing all food and beverage outlets, including the signature Hawaii Calls restaurant. His expertise permeates all the resort’s restaurant and catering menus. Chef Jayson is the Host Chef for the Big Island Chocolate Festival. 95 per cent of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort’s food and beverage offerings are proudly locally sourced. Chef Jason started at the property as a cook’s helper way back in 1986 and in 2014 was promoted to Executive Chef.

Chef Jason Kanekoa joins us with a freshly brewed cup of Kona Coffee in hand.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Show 523, April 29, 2023: Farsheed Bonakdar, Founder, Kona Cacao Association – Producer of the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Farsheed Bonakdar of the Kona Cacao Association

Kona Cacao Association is the creator of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. “The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Island of Hawai‘i by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.”

“This year’s beneficiaries of The Big Island Chocolate Festival include Hawaii college culinary programs, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Kona Dance & Performing Arts and Keahole Center for Sustainability.”

“In-person activities at The Chocolate Festival include culinary demonstrations for the home cook, cacao growing and processing seminars by industry experts, a new VIP-PLUS pre-gala Sunset & Pupu Pairing and a festive evening gala with culinary booths serving sweet and savory chocolate creations, chocolate fountain, entertainment, dancing, a silent auction and some surprises! Guests can enjoy unlimited wine, beer and a custom spritzer by Ola Brew, iced tea and coffee.”

The Founder of the Kona Cacao AssociationFarsheed Bonakdar, is our guest.

April 29: Live from the return of the Big Island Chocolate Festival

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Dolinsky, Founder, Pizza City Fest L.A.
Segment Three: Ocean and Jaydene Kanekoa, Contestants, “Top Chef Family Style” on Peacock
Segment Four: Farsheed Bonakdar, Founder, Kona Cacao Association – Producer of the Big Island Chocolate Festival
Segment Five: Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Stephane Treand, The Pastry School, Tustin, CA
Segment Six: Fairmont Orchid with Executive Sous Chef Daniel Sampson
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort
Segment Eight: John Dominguez, Director of Sales & Marketing, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort

We’re previewing the show with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris.

BIg Island Chocolate Festival

Aloha from the 10th Big Island Chocolate Festival at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. After a four-year hiatus we’re delighted to be back at this educational and entertaining celebration of all things chocolate and cacao!

“The inaugural, first of its kind Pizza City Fest Los Angeles takes place April 29-30, 2023 at L.A. LIVE – Downtown Los Angeles’ Sports and Entertainment District – offering fans the unique opportunity to sample pizzas from Southern California’s best pizza makers all in one location over two days. Steve Dolinsky – a 13-time James Beard Award-winning food reporter and “The Food Guy” at NBC 5 Chicago – has turned his love of pizza into an all-encompassing endeavor. Now he has brought that same experience to Los Angeles (as he did last year in Chicago) and showcase the diversity – in both geography and styles – that the region exemplifies.” VIP for both days is already sold out. Limited tickets are available for Saturday with better availability for Sunday.

The celebrated Kanekoa Family (“The Cooking Kanekoas”) on The Big Island of Hawaii have been cooking professionally for 3 generations. Jason Kanekoa is the long-time Executive Chef at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. His son, Ocean Kanekoa, is a past poke champion of the Hawaii Island Aloha Festival. During the pandemic Ocean created baskets of local farmers fruits and vegetables that he sold in an online store to benefit the struggling farmers who had lost their customers due to the closure of all restaurants and hotels. Ocean and his older sister, Jaydene,(Senior Marketing Manager for Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort) were part of the group of promising young chefs selected to compete on the first season of Peacock’s “Top Chef Family Style.” Chef Ocean’s goal is to open his own restaurant by Age 18. We’ll meet the already accomplished Ocean and “big sister,” Jaydene Kanekoa.

Kona Cacao Association is the creator of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the 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. The Founder of the Kona Cacao Association, Farsheed Bonakdar, is our guest.

Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Stephane Treand is again participating in The Big Island Chocolate Festival on Saturday with the creation of a magnificent all chocolate showpiece designed to dazzle party guests and serve as a stunning buffet centerpiece. Tréand’s prestigious Pastry School in Tustin, California instructs students of all abilities in the pastry and baking arts. The finished creation will be a key feature on display at the Saturday Gala from 6-10 p.m.

The talented Culinary Team at the Fairmont Orchid is one of the participating restaurants in the Saturday Night Gala at The Big Island Chocolate Festival. “The vistas alone are worth a leisurely evening at Brown’s Beach House, The Fairmont Orchid’s AAA Four Diamond signature restaurant. Perched above Pauoa Bay, the celebrated fine dining venue takes in one of the island’s most spectacular sunset panoramas.” Representing the Fairmont Orchid is their Executive Sous Chef Daniel Sampson who is also an acclaimed pastry chef. Chef Daniel holds the honor of being Pastry Chef of The Year 2019 by ACF Kona Kohaha Chefs Association.

Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa heads the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort’s progressive culinary program overseeing all food and beverage outlets, including the signature Hawaii Calls restaurant. His expertise permeates all the resort’s restaurant and catering menus. Chef Jayson is the Host Chef for the Big Island Chocolate Festival. 95 per cent of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort’s food and beverage offerings are proudly locally sourced. Chef Jason started at the property as a cook’s helper way back in 1986 and in 2014 was promoted to Executive Chef.

Chef Jason Kanekoa joins us with a freshly brewed cup of Kona Coffee in hand.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Steve Dolinsky and Andreew Gruel

“The inaugural, first of its kind Pizza City Fest Los Angeles takes place April 29-30, 2023 at L.A. LIVE – Downtown Los Angeles’ Sports and Entertainment District – offering fans the unique opportunity to sample pizzas from Southern California’s best pizza makers all in one location over two days. Steve Dolinsky – a 13-time James Beard Award-winning food reporter and “The Food Guy” at NBC 5 Chicago – has turned his love of pizza into an all-encompassing endeavor. Now he has brought that same carefully curated experience to Los Angeles (as he did last year in Chicago) and showcase the diversity – in both geography and styles – that the region exemplifies.”

VIP for both days is already sold out. Limited tickets are available for Saturday with better availability for Sunday.

“I’ve seen the L.A. pizza scene explode recently, having visited about 60 places while researching over the past year,” said Dolinsky. “But with so much great pizza spread out from Santa Barbara to San Diego, there needed to be a way to highlight these artisans all in one place. Not only will we do that, but we’ll also bring together some of the most talented local pizza pros to share their knowledge and expertise with home cooks.”

Ocean and Jaydene Kanekoa of Top Chef Family Style

The celebrated Kanekoa Family (“The Cooking Kanekoas”) on The Big Island of Hawaii have been cooking professionally for 3 generations. Jason Kanekoa is the long-time Executive Chef at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. His son, Ocean Kanekoa, is a past poke champion of the Hawaii Island Aloha Festival. During the pandemic Ocean created baskets of local farmers fruits and vegetables that he sold in an online store to benefit the struggling farmers who had lost their customers due to the closure of all restaurants and hotels.

Ocean and his older sister, Jaydene, (Senior Marketing Manager of Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort) were part of the group of promising young chefs selected to compete on the first season of Peacock’s “Top Chef Family Style.”

Chef Ocean’s goal is to open his own restaurant by Age 18.

We’ll meet Ocean and Jaydene Kanekoa.

Farsheed Bonakdar of Cocoa Outlet and Andy Harris

Kona Cacao Association is the creator of The Big Island Chocolate Festival. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Island of Hawai‘i by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts.

“This year’s beneficiaries of The Big Island Chocolate Festival include Hawaii college culinary programs, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Kona Dance & Performing Arts and Keahole Center for Sustainability.”

“In-person activities at The Chocolate Festival include culinary demonstrations for the home cook, cacao growing and processing seminars by industry experts, a new VIP-PLUS pre-gala Sunset & Pupu Pairing and a festive evening gala with culinary booths serving sweet and savory chocolate creations, chocolate fountain, entertainment, dancing, a silent auction and some surprises! Guests can enjoy unlimited wine, beer and a custom spritzer by Ola Brew, iced tea and coffee.”

The Founder of the Kona Cacao AssociationFarsheed Bonakdar, is our guest.

Stephane Treand of the Pastry School and Andy Harris

Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Stephane Treand is again participating in The Big Island Chocolate Festival on Saturday with the creation of a magnificent all chocolate showpiece designed to stun party guests and serve as a stunning buffet centerpiece at the Saturday Night Gala. Tréand’s prestigious Pastry School in Tustin, California instructs students of all abilities in the pastry and baking arts. The finished creation will be a key feature at the Saturday Gala from 6-10 pm.

Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. In 2015, he moved his school to Costa Mesa along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop,ST Pâtisserie Chocolat, to the Soco Collection! Chef Tréand wanted to bring something unique and different to Southern California. He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato / sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door as me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!” Having an M.O.F. chef teaching hands on, one-on-one experience, in a small intimate environment is truly a treasure. There are only 4 M.O.F. chefs currently residing in the United States. Tustin is now the home of “The Pastry School”.

Daniel Sampson of the Fairmont Orchid

The talented Culinary Team at the Fairmont Orchid is one of the returning participating restaurants in the Saturday Night Gala at The Big Island Chocolate Festival. The vistas alone are worth a leisurely evening at Brown’s Beach House, The Fairmont Orchid’s AAA Four Diamond signature restaurant. Perched above Pauoa Bay, the celebrated fine dining venue takes in one of the island’s most spectacular sunset panoramas.

Representing the Fairmont Orchid is their Executive Sous Chef Daniel Sampson who is also an acclaimed pastry chef. Chef Daniel holds the honor of being Pastry Chef of The Year 2019 by ACF Kona Kohaha Chefs Association.

Jason Kanekoa of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort

Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa heads the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort’s progressive culinary program overseeing all food and beverage outlets, including the signature Hawaii Calls restaurant. His expertise permeates all the resort’s restaurant and catering menus. Chef Jayson is the Host Chef for the Big Island Chocolate Festival. “Unusually 95 per cent of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort’s food and beverage offerings are locally sourced.”

“Chef Jason attributes his passion for fresh, locally influenced cuisine to his upbringing in Kukuihaele on the Big Island of Hawaii. He attended the culinary program at Kapiolani Community College on Oahu before honing his culinary talents at the 297-room Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Kanekoa climbed the ranks to his position today from his entry as a cook’s helper in 1986, to becoming a supervisor, to being named Executive Sous Chef in 2000.” He was promoted to Executive Chef in 2014. 

Chef Jason Kanekoa joins us with a freshly brewed cup of hand-selected Kona Coffee in hand.

John Dominguez of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort

“Located on the Kohala Coast, and just a short drive from the Kona airport, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (the host Hotel for The Big Island Chocolate Festival) provides guests a complete Hawaii Island experience not to be found anywhere else.”

“At the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, this Big Island resort offers the best of Hawaii Island, however you want to enjoy it. For relaxing, soak in the sun and island vibes around one of their three swimming pools or on the soft, white sands of Anaeho’omalu Bay. For golf, the resort has three 9-hole golf courses, surrounded by lush, meticulously maintained grounds. For dining, Waikoloa Beach unusually sources most of their offerings locally, to give guests a true taste of the islands. For shopping, the property is steps away from two luxury outdoor shopping centers, the Queens’ Marketplace and the Kings’ Shops.”

“For self-care, their Mandara Spa has a range of treatments designed to reinvigorate you. For Hawaiian cultural enrichment, walking trails and historical markers around the property let you discover the history of the site’s fishponds and the surrounding area. For watersports, the property has everything you need right here to snorkel, surf, or SUP on Anaeho’omalu Bay. For adventures on land, choose from zip lining, hiking, helicopter tours, & more.”

The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resorts Director of Sales and Marketing, John Dominguez, joins us.

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Steve Dolinsky, Founder, Pizza City Fest L.A.
Segment Three: Ocean and Jaydene Kanekoa, Contestants, “Top Chef Family Style” on Peacock
Segment Four: Farsheed Bonakdar, Founder, Kona Cacao Association – Producer of the Big Island Chocolate Festival
Segment Five: Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Stephane Treand, The Pastry School, Tustin, CA
Segment Six: Fairmont Orchid with Executive Sous Chef Daniel Sampson
Segment Seven: Executive Chef Jayson Kanekoa, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort
Segment Eight: John Dominguez, Director of Sales & Marketing, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort

Show 516, March 11, 2023: Big Island Chocolate Festival Preview with Stephanie Beeby, Event Chair

Stephanie Beeby of the Big Island Chocolate Festival

“The delicious flavors and aromas of chocolate will “Indulge the Senses” at the Big Island Chocolate Festival April 28-29 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The “Indulge the Senses with Chocolate” theme marks the festival’s 10th anniversary.”

“In-person activities include culinary demonstrations for the home cook, cacao growing and processing seminars by industry experts, a new VIP-PLUS pre-gala Sunset & Pupu Pairing and a festive evening gala with culinary booths, chocolate fountain, entertainment, dancing, a silent auction and some surprises! Guests can enjoy unlimited wine, beer and a custom spritzer by Ola Brew, iced tea and coffee.”

“We are returning to our original gala format with chefs staffing sweet and savory culinary booths,” says Stephanie Beeby, event chairperson. “This year we are debuting a VIP-PLUS package (very limited availability) with entry Saturday night to both a Sunset & Pupu Pairing plus VIP gala section with table seating and exclusive wine and beer bar.”

In its 10th year, the celebration of chocolate is presented by the non-profit Kona Cacao Association (KCA).

A general admission gala ticket is $99 while a VIP-PLUS ticket is $189. Also available are specially priced event room packages at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. Educational activities and prices are detailed on the website. All event tickets are sold online and include additional tax and ticketing fees apply.

Event Chair Stephanie Beeby joins us with all the indulgent details.

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an appealing preview of Saturday’s Spirit of Aloha 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, and upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing… As always, we greatly appreciate you being a part of our loyal listening audience.

BIg Island Chocolate FestivalWe’re live from The 8th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. It’s pure chocolate indulgence. Hawaii is the only State in the USA where premium cacao (the base of chocolate) can be grown commercially. It’s an increasingly important crop in The Islands with almost unlimited potential.
Chef Bryan Fujikawa is the proprietor of the locals’ favorite for fresh grilled, locally caught seafood, Kona Grill House in Kealakekua. It’s a beloved hole-in-the-wall spot. He’s been a part of The Big Island Chocolate Festival’s concluding Chocolate Decadence Gala for years. Chef Bryan is known for his amazing lobster crab cakes. We’ll reel him in.

Farsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th 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. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs. We’re talking all things chocolate with Farsheed.

We first met Chef Christopher Galindo two years ago when he was overseeing Hau Tree on the beach next door at the Resort’s sister property, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Last year he switched beaches and moved over to The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s new Meridia as the menu-maker. It’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine created with locally sourced ingredients and infused with Hawaii’s rich local bounty. Also know for creative, signature https://socalrestaurantshow.com/wp-admin/edit.phpcocktails and a primo view of the Pacific at Sunset. We entice Chef Chris out of his busy kitchen for a chat.

Chef Stéphane Tréand debuted, The Pastry School in 2012, in San Clemente. This year he moved his school to Tustin (“a piece of Paris in Tustin”) along with his new pâtisserie (pastry) shop, ST Pâtisserie Chocolat. He wanted people to come and buy pastries, chocolates, viennoiserie (baked goods such as croissants), and gelato/sorbet at his shop. But he also wanted to show others, “you can learn and create beautiful items such as these, right-next-door with me (Chef Stéphane Tréand) as your teacher!” At The Big Island Chocolate Festival Chef Stephane is performing the culinary demonstration, “Creating an Artistic Chocolate Sculpture.”

Tattoo Tequila CEO, Tequila John” Atanasio (a Maui resident) set out 8 years ago with the goal of crafting a “Super Premium Tequila” that would use the highest grade of organic Blue Weber Agave available in the World and to use the best ingredients available to develop “The Champagne of Tequilas.” Tattoo Tequila today has legitimate brand positioning as a leader in the Craft Spirits sector. We’ll meet Tequila John.=

Tom Bean is acclaimed Chef Peter Merriman’s General Manager at the iconic Merriman’s Restaurant Waimea. This was Chef Merriman’s first solo venture with modest expectations. Last year Merriman’s celebrated their 30th anniversary and is consistently the highest rated restaurant on The Big Island. Chef Merriman is one of the original pioneers of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. We’ll talk story with Tom.

Tom Cross is the Hotel Manager for our host, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which recently completed a $50 million dollar renovation. It’s part of the Mauna Kea Resort on the Island of Hawaii. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is also the host property for The Big Island Chocolate Festival.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Show 321, April 27, 2019: Farsheed Bonakdar, President, Kona Cacao (KCA) and Proprietor of Cocoa Outlet

Farsheed Bonakdar of Cocoa Outlet and Andy HarrisFarsheed Bonakdar is the President of the Kona Cacao Association, the Producer of the 8th 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. The Festival benefits Island culinary arts and arts programs.

The 2019 Big Island Chocolate Festival proceeds will benefit the culinary programs at Hawaii Community College Palamanui, Kealakehe High School, Hawai‘i Island High Schools and Maui Community College, plus Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Waimea Country School, Kona Pacific Public Charter School’s West Hawaii Summer Lunch Program and Kona Dance & Performing Arts.

“If you think you know everything about chocolate—think again! Find out tricks for using chocolate in the kitchen and to better grow cacao—the tree that produces the coveted cocoa bean. All the fun is part of the Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) April 26-27. With the exception of a guided cacao plantation tour, all activities are at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort.”

We’re talking all things delectably chocolate with Farsheed.