(Media release) — Marking 20 years of celebrating Hawai‘i’s local products and the people who produce them, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Oct. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar — plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.
While confirmations are still coming in for the nearly 40 invited restaurants and their chefs, the culinary lineup already reads like a who’s who of good eats. Headliners for the Taste evening gala to date include Bravo’s “Top Chef” Fan Favorite Sheldon Simeona of Maui’s Migrant Restaurant; Kevin Hanney of Oahu’s 12th Avenue Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Best Restaurant of the Year; and the host of TV’s “Family Ingredients,” Ed Kenny of Honolulu’s Town Restaurant.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine founders Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman will lead the pre-gala’s educational offerings, which are open to the public. Chef Yamaguchi of Roy’s instructs the 2015 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. while Peter Merriman of Merriman’s Restaurants offers an informative presentation geared for college culinary students at 1:30 p.m.
The time for this year’s Taste gala is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy all the cuts of pasture-raised beef— everything from tongue to tail — prepared expertly by Hawai‘i chefs. Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.
While “tasting,” attendees can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at booths and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. They can also enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!
Anniversary festivities will include honoring the event’s 20-year participants and others who have been major Taste supporters.
“We had 16 participating restaurants at the first Taste,” shares Dr. Russell Nagata, event chairperson and administrator of Hawai‘i County Extension Services for the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). “We invited all of them, who are still in operation, to participate in our anniversary event.”
Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 is $10 while the 1:30 p.m. class is free. Tickets go on sale in July at island-wide locations and online. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.
For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.
Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Russell Nagata at 808-969-8228 no later than Sept. 7.