Guest Column —- In Favor Of A Utility Co-Op System

Dear Editor,

If the NextEra merger does not go through, a utility co-op system for Hawai‘i Island could be part of the solution to prepare us for coming changes.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) has been operating for 12 years and its results have been impressive. KIUC was 100 percent debt-financed through a co-op financing system, and millions of dollars have gone into equity since then and have been refunded to its ratepayers.

There are 900 utility co-ops nationwide, which have gotten together and formed co-op banks to help finance utility co-ops. These banks have excellent credit ratings. The Cooperative Financing Corporation (CFC) has assets of $26 billion, and Co Bank has $100 billion.

KIUC’s electricity costs were the highest of all the Hawai‘i counties when it started. But in 12 years, its costs have risen the least. This is despite its not having geothermal and not being able to use wind because of bird kills.

This coming weekend, KIUC is having a blessing of its new Anahola photovoltaic system. That system is significant because it is using daytime sun for nighttime use, and it’s one of the first such systems in the nation.

The co-op system, with its locally managed board of directors, is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people. It’s nimble and practical.

A hybrid electricity system for our state might be just what we need to prepare for the future.

Richard Ha
President, Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative

18 Years After Peter Boy’s Death, The Kemas Arrested On Unrelated Charges

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Eighteen years after then-6-year-old Peter Kema’s suspicious disappearance, his parents have been arrested for welfare fraud, firearms, and drug related charges.

The Hawaii Police Department reported today officers assisted the Department of Human Services’ Welfare Fraud Investigation Division with the execution a search warrant on Tuesday, Nov.  3 at a home on Uilani Drive in the Ainaloa subdivision in Puna.

As a result of the search, 45-year-old Jaylin M. Kema of Pahoa was arrested on suspicion of theft and taken to the Hilo police cellblock for investigators from the Department of Human Services.

In the course of executing the search warrant, police recovered items unrelated to the DHS investigation.

On Wednesday morning, while Kema was still at the cellblock, Hawaii Island police arrested her on suspicion of ownership prohibited of a firearm, altering a serial number on a firearm, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug.

At 2:25 p.m. today, police arrested her husband, 45-year-old Peter J. Kema Sr. of Pahoa, on suspicion of ownership prohibited of a firearm, ownership prohibited of ammunition, altering a serial number on a firearm, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug.

Both remain at the cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continue the investigation.

In the last 18 years  that the boy widely referred to as “Peter Boy”  has been missing, people have been very vocal about their suspicion the parents are guilty of foul play. Over the years the public has questioned the boy’s disappearance, it has been revealed the couple was abusive to their children and had regular encounters with Child Protective Services.

As Peter Boy’s siblings have gotten older, they have publicly revealed details of the abuse they and Peter Boy endured. Peter Boy’s sister has recalled seeing her brother placed in the “trunk of the car” when the family went out. Also, the girl has said she found Peter’s apparently lifeless body in a box in the closet after witnessing her parents trying to administer CPR on him.

Police and prosecutors have not formally charged the Kema couple for Peter Boy’s disapperance, however.


Guest Column — Death As Your Advisor

imageDear Friends,
Today on this “Day of the Dead” holiday honoring those who are gone but not forgotten, I would like to share a few homespun thoughts with you about living and dying.
While the topic of death is a conversation largely avoided in modern America, the remembrance of deceased ancestors and loved ones is a millennia old tradition amongst diverse cultures around the globe. Moreover, in these turbulent times of worldwide strife and tragic natural disasters, nobody’s lacking for reminders regarding the fragility and impermanence of our mortal existence.
Consequently, with heartbreaking human misery, senseless bloodshed and apocalyptic devastation from near and afar daily flooding our senses, it’s essential we make every effort to direct our focus on the upside of life and—while we’re at it—on the upside of death. Whereas doing so won’t eliminate the downside, it provides perspective that helps balance it. A good starting point is to remind ourselves that every day is a gift, each morning a fresh beginning.
All yesterdays should be yesterdays, all tomorrows should be tomorrows. Sufficient is it to know that the way we lived our yesterday has determined for us our today, and that the way we live our today determines for us our tomorrow. And so it goes throughout our life until the day we “join the majority”.
Death is our eternal companion, always nearby, watching, and ever will be until that fateful moment it taps us upon the shoulder. It’s difficult to feel important or irritable when we remember that death is always stalking us. Indeed, a great deal of pettiness is often dropped and clarity of perspective gained when we catch a glimmer of our own death.
The 19th century Yaqui Indian Warrior and Man of Knowledge Don Juan Matus believed that death is the only wise advisor we have. He emphasized the importance of using our death to keep perspective, yet without sadness, remorse or worrying. Don Juan held that the only deterrent to despair in this short-lived existence is awareness of our impending death, and that this awareness subsequently gives us strength to withstand the duress and pain of our lives and our fears of the unknown.
He further advised that no matter what happens to us, no matter how badly we feel, when things are going wrong, even when we believe ourselves about to be annihilated, we need only turn to our death and ask if this is so. Don Juan insisted your death will say you are wrong, that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you “I haven’t touched you yet.”
What’s more, we must stubbornly refuse to live in fear of death, though it’s perfectly natural to fear what we don’t know. For those possessing faith in an afterlife forever reunited with loved ones on the Other Side, the transition from life to death can be less frightening—and for some, even gently beckoning.
Not knowing what lies beyond the veil is yet another piece in this mystical life of ours puzzle. It’s the final surprise. Sooner or later and altogether conveniently, to unravel the mystery of death one only has to die.
On a personal note, I still recall the huge wave of relief I felt as a youngster when a kindly old soul assured me “Death is like jumping out of an airplane with no parachute, but there’s no need to be frightened, because there’s no earth either.” Whoa. Decades later this otherworldly vision continues to bring me comfort.
What’s certain is that death really is the end of the world as we’ve known it. To live with such unblinking awareness of our death is to live with correspondingly acute awareness of the brevity of our life. Enlisting death as our trusted ally can paradoxically serve to motivate us to make the most of our limited time alive no matter how long we shall live.
Few people live their lives with conscious awareness. Many live hypnotized, going through trance-like motions of safely existing. A life lived unconsciously—or rarely leaving your comfort zone by taking risks, making mistakes and pursuing dreams—forfeits its possibilities for joy and success. And in exchange for what, meager returns of stale sameness and the desperate hope for increased security and safety that will minimize suffering and failure? To call such a reality “life” is to confuse existing with actually living.
Life often requires of us to take leaps of faith and to make the hard choices without having all the facts or guarantees that everything will work out as hoped. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Win some, lose some, live and learn from your mistakes. It’s been noted that mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.
Like most things of real value worth having, you have to make an effort to prosper in life. You must choose to take intelligent risks and avoid taking foolish ones, which of course requires discerning the difference between the two and acting from emotional intelligence and mindfulness versus knee-jerk reaction and impulsiveness.
As a species humans are innately hardwired to be risk takers, pushing ourselves and our limits ever further as we follow our passion for increasing understanding, awareness of and dominion over our world, both within and without. It is our very Nature to expand upon what we know to better ourself, to improve our life and ultimately—for anybody who’s forgotten—to fulfill our own highest potential.
The quickest way for jumpstarting this process is to vigorously shake your soul awake! Many of us have apparently gone to sleep without realizing it. And electronic technology has only exacerbated the problem. We have far too eagerly replaced solid relationships and real experiences with flimsy online imitations to the point of ridiculousness. A person would have to be living in a dream-world to think a virtual “Climb a Tree” app could ever replace the visceral thrill of actually climbing the real thing itself!
Allow me to be a little preachy: Far too much time is wasted both on- and offline that distracts us from what’s happening and what really matters, namely living in the moment versus living vicariously, virtually or mindlessly running on auto-pilot. Alternatively, we must remember what it means to be fully human—time-limited as it is—by living with emotionally intelligent mindful awareness of our imminent demise. It isn’t hard to do.
When all is said and done, humankind’s most sacred duty is to embody goodness benefitting all sentient beings, which at heart consists of manifesting Life, Intelligence, Truth and Love in our thoughts, words, and deeds. There is no higher aim, no vaster problem, no greater purpose, no grander glory. And, in today’s mad-dash-paced world, perhaps no greater challenge.
Mindful awareness requires vigorously disengaging from our hypnotic state, and replacing it with conscious right thinking and action that emancipates us from the bondage of ignorance, fear and distraction. Only thusly unshackled can we ever begin exercising free will to make better choices that bring us more of what we want and less of what we don’t.
No matter how long your life, we are all just passing through. No one lives forever. Life is unapologetically short, and death the irremovable companion travelling with us throughout our lifetime. Here one second—poof!—gone the next.
While it may sound cliché, you never know when your time will be up. Death can come to anyone without warning. At best, life is uncertain and death inescapable. This is what makes death the only wise advisor we have. The evidence speaks for itself: There are no survivors on this earth!
Believe it, accept it, be here now and make a choice and commitment to wake up and mindfully live your life before your death touches you. Make it your habit to live and love like there’s no tomorrow because—while our personal expiration date is as yet unknown and hopefully far-off—it’s an inevitability for every single one of us. Knowing we’re here for only a short while gives us all the more reason to make every act count.
There is no guarantee that you will live another minute.
Let yours be a good life, justly lived and well loved, by taking intelligent risks and by reaching out to others with unconditional love, compassion and understanding. Spend time with those you love, and shower them with hugs and kisses. Bestow the milk of human kindness to strangers in passing through a warm smile or friendly greeting. Never miss a chance to engage in acts of unselfish decency.
Do the things you love. When opportunity knocks and you’re hesitant, thump yourself on the head while asking aloud, “What on earth am I waiting for?” Then push and keep on pushing against any fear or resistance until you break through it.
When you have life you have everything. To live with death as your advisor is to live with great enthusiasm, and above all, to authentically connect with people that matter to you. Don’t miss your chance! It will feel so good when you do and feel so bad when you don’t. Circumstances may never again be as favorable or even possible, and life’s too short to live in regret mode. At the risk of belaboring my point, don’t squander your life by living timidly. While it is indeed a risky thing to live deliberately, it’s riskier still to live indecisively.
Make time on this remembrance holiday as well as throughout the year to show respect for your loved ones who walk no longer upon this earth by fondly recalling and praying for them. Take comfort in keeping their cherished memory alive that your love for them will live on always—love truly is eternal.
Why not also give thanks today on this Day of the Dead—and on each and every day upon waking—that you are still here amongst the Living. Say a little prayer of appreciation for all the good in your life. Give thanks for your health, and for the ongoing health, happiness and wellbeing of those you care about deeply. By holding this “attitude of gratitude” everything we have feels all the more precious in this fleeting life of ours.

“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

The choice to empower your impending mortality as a trusted advisor is your own to make. While this admittedly unconventional concept may seem counterintuitive to some and outright weird to others, making an ally of your death releases your fullest innate potential for living and loving. Eventually, when the end finally does come, may yours be a “good death”—a seamless, painless and peaceful transition free from fear.
Make up your mind to use your death to transform your life, starting this moment. After all, “If not now, when?” There is no future. The future is only a way of talking. What better way to live in the moment with conscious awareness of your impermanence than by honoring and fondly remembering departed family and friends, all the while as you joyously celebrate another day of life amongst the living.
To be sure, nothing could be godlier—or more human.

Michael Ra Bouchard, Ph.D.
Hilo, Hawaii

* Dedicated to Paul R. Allen. Rest in Peace Dear Friend. *

Michael Ra Bouchard, M.A., Ph.D is a professional mental health counselor specializing in sex therapy and marriage counseling for all sex, relationship and intimacy concerns. You may reach him at or 808. 965. 8800

Puna News — Celebrate Puna’s Resiliency Saturday

image(Media release) — Saturday, Oct. 24, will be a day for Puna residents to celebrate their resiliency of spirit.

The day will begin with a volunteer event hosted by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee, who will be working side by side with residents to control trees on a stretch of Highway 132 once known as the “tree tunnel” due to its towering albizia. Hundreds of these trees fell during Iselle and many more were cut back or removed by the state after the storm to prevent additional damage. A year later, regrowth of the notoriously fast-growing albizia trees along the roadside is visible, while large stands of remaining trees continue to seed the area.

Volunteers who want to join in the community effort to control this threat and become “Albizia Assassins” are invited to meet at 9am at Lava Tree State Park for training and a half-day of albizia control. Volunteers are asked to wear long pants, long sleeved shirts, and sturdy shoes. BIISC staff will train volunteers to treat albizia with herbicide using an easy and safe method developed at the University of Hawaii. There will be refreshments, and all participating Volunteers will receive a free “Assassin” t-shirt courtesy of Sen. Russell Ruderman, who has been a staunch advocate for albizia control in the state legislature.

From 3-8pm, the Main Street in Pahoa will be closed to traffic for the Puna Resiliency Block Party, hosted by the UH Hilo Anthropology Department. Puna residents of all ages are invited to enjoy live music, local craft vendors, and education booths. More than 50 organizations and individuals will be on hand to share the community’s unique and creative approaches to resiliency.

For more information on the event day, see or email

Kitchen Diva — Taste Of The Hawaiian Range: Imagine Food Paradise

By Sofia Wilt

Imagine a kind of food paradise : more delicious and varied food than you could possibly consume, all exceptional quality and hand-made by skilled chefs, served in a gorgeous tiki-torch lit tropical sunset venue by the ocean. Your olfactory senses are overloaded with the smell of grilled, smoked, frying and braised meats wafting in the air, the sheer abundance and beautiful presentation is dizzying. You’re full but continue to sport eat, it’s too good not too! Such was my experience of the 20th annual Taste of the Range, the Big Island’s annual food festival featuring pasture raised beef, pig, goat, mutton, lamb and wild boar all from our island held at the Hilton Waikoloa. Frankly I can’t imagine missing another year, ever.

There were well over 30 food stations and many celebrated chefs and restaurants participating with several hundred attendees. Chefs were not given the choice of what meat they got to work with, it was assigned to them, having them call upon both flexibility and creativity to properly honor their ingredient. It would take entirely too long to mention every dish created but some memorable ones include the Oxtail Soup from 12th Ave Grill, Lamb Confit with Pickled Chili Peppers & Lemon Marmalade from Three Fat Pigs, Beef Heart Tacos from Town Restaurant, Grilled Lemongrass Flank Steak with Pickled Veggies and Chili Pepper Aioli from West Hawaii Culinary School, Classic Chili with Cornbread from Merriman’s, Sauerbraten on a Pretzel by Tropics Ale House, Flap Meat Tamales with Heirloom Tomatoes & Dragon Fruit Relish from Tommy Bahama’s, Pork Sliders from Village Burger, and of course the curious and crowd drawing Rocky Mountain Oysters by Blue Dragon Restaurant. Apologies to the presenters I didn’t mention, trust me though, everything was delicious.

Not everything was meat-centric, there were many different farms and food producers sharing their goods as well. Big Island Booch and Cultured Cafe of Hilo, featuring their Kombucha and other ferments, Papa’a Palaoa Bakery also from Hilo shared some of their finest baked goods, Buddha’s Cup Kona Coffee, Big Island Bees Honey, Hawaii Green Earth : Bokashi Education, PunaChicks free range chicken, and many more were there to talk story and represent the rest of the fantastic agricultural bounty we have on our island.

Aside from the fun and good eats an event like this offers, there’s another angle that I certainly hope people recognize. Hawaii relies far too heavily on imported food, roughly 85% of what people eat here is brought in by barge or plane, adding an exorbitant carbon footprint to every bite you eat. This event showcases the largess we have available locally and encourages island residents to become familiar with and favor local food purveyors. Your local farmers and ranchers are true unsung heros, they tend the land and keep us nourished and healthy. Moreover, holistic land management which involves pasture raising animals is one of the most effective ways to sequester carbon and ultimately reduce climate change. It’s a win-win for everyone. Bravo to everyone who raised the animals, grew the vegetables, cooked the food and did the logistics for this incredible event. Again, I won’t miss another year!

(Sofia has lived on the Big Island for over 20 years, having started out working as a park ranger at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. She then worked for the County of Hawaii as a 911 dispatcher before pursuing a degree from the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Sofia has worked as a personal chef for more than 12 years and is basically a food/health/nutrition geek playing in her kitchen finding new yummy ways to stay healthy and well nourished.)



Island Events — Lilikoi Festival is Oct. 17

imageIndulge your passion for Passion Fruit at the 3rd Annual Lilikoi Festival Oct. 17.
This year’s festival is being held at the Maku’u Market just outside of Pahoa.
Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This popular and fun event features a Lilikoi themed cooking contest, cooking demonstrations, vendor booths, live music and keiki activities.
Entry fee $5. Children 11 & under are Free!!

More information at:

Vendors and cooking contest entries are still welcome! Contact Fran at 982-7511.

Puna News — Puna Hongwanji Mission annual bazaar is Oct. 10

(Media release) — Puna Hongwanji Mission will hold its annual bazaar Saturday, October 10, from 8 a.m. until noon. The fun fundraising event will feature clothing and housewares in the rummage sale, lau lau and bread in the food market, bagged cinders in the landscape area, farm fresh vegetables, and a silent auction, among other items. Come early for the best parking. Puna Hongwanji is located at 16-492 Old Volcano Road in Keaau. Committee chairs are Jason Hashimoto, Sam Horiuchi and Clifford Furukado. Subcommittee chairs are: Robin Sato, finance; Tammy Molina, scrips; Jean Tamashiro and the Buddhist Women’s Association, rummage; Ethel Miyashiro, Marilyn Sato and Claire Arakawa, silent auction; Sam Horiuchi, cinders; Clifford Furukado, laulau; Alvin Oyadomari, produce; Jason Hashimoto, cut flowers; Bryon Toma, security; Roy Toma, manpower; Wendell Toma, refreshments; Janet Watarida, food for workers; Glenn Watarida and Gary Sunada, parking; Earl Mukai, site lay out; Cary Tanoue, signs & banners; Ann Toma, first aid room set up; K.T. Cannon-Eger publicity; and Gordon Heit, public address system. There will not be a plant sale this year due to concerns about spreading plant pests and diseases. Donation needs include the following grocery items: rice, mochi rice, flour, butter, nishime konbu, Hawaiian salt, shoyu, brown sugar, and bottled water. Donated items for the rummage sale are being accepted now through Friday, October 2, at the temple. For further information on the bazaar or on other activities at Puna Hongwanji Mission, contact Jason Hashimoto at (808) 937-5941.

Tsunami Advisory in Effect

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense,  Hawaii has moved from a Tsunami Watch to a  “Tsunami Advisory.” The Pacific Tsunami Center reported waves 3.2 feet above normal  in Hilo every 16 minutes, as of 2  a.m. That’s not anything close to the 1946 or 1960 tsunamis, but unexpected waves and currents could present a hazard to swimmers, boaters and beach goers.

Based on all available data a major tsunami is not expected to
strike the state of Hawaii. However…sea level changes and
strong currents may occur along all coasts that could be a hazard
to swimmers and boaters as well as to persons near the shore at
beaches and in harbors and marinas. the threat may continue for
several hours after the initial wave arrival.

The Civil Defense announcement:

“The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami Advisory for the State of Hawaii effective 3:24 p.m.  this afternoon.  An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 occurred off the coast of Chile.

“A tsunami advisory is issued due to the threat of a potential changes in sea level and strong currents which may be dangerous to those in or near the water. The threat may continue for several hours after the arrival of the initial waves or sea level changes, however significant widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory.  Presently, the initial arrival of any wave action or sea level changes and currents for Hawaii Island is expected around 3:00am tomorrow morning and may last for several hours.  Again, widespread inundation is not expected.  This will be the last information update unless conditions change.”


More Flooding News….

Hawaii Police Department reports that Highway 11 is closed between the 58 and 59 mile markers (Kawa Flats).  This closure is between Pahala and Na’alehu in the Ka’u District.

Hualalai Road between Hinalole Street and Queen Kaahumanu Hwy in Kailua-Kona is now open, but motorists are urged to proceed with caution.  Kuakini Highway, which had also been closed, is now open again.


Tsunami Watch Declared

A magnitude 8.3 quake has occurred off the coast of Chile, causing the Pacific Tsunami Center to declare a tsunami watch for Hawaii.   According to the Center’s latest bulletin, the earliest a tsunami is expected to reach here, if one happens, is 3 a.m. tomorrow morning.

IF THERE IS A TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII, read the latest update.

The center will be publishing hourly updates.

The tsunami that devastated Hilo in 1960 also originated off Chile’s Coast.  That quake was somewhat stronger, at M8.6.


Features — Not An Ordinary Homecoming — 5th Annual Kipimana Cup For Kamehameha and Kea’au is Friday


KipimanaCup(Media release) — Homecoming on the Kea’au campus of Kamehameha Schools will be extra special, falling on game day for the 5th annual Kipimana Cup.

The Kipimana Cup is a goodwill football game between the public and private schools located within a few miles radius.

“We look forward with the two schools and the community to this game every year,” said Bill Walter, president of W.H. Shipman, Limited. “I am always pleasantly surprised by the goodwill shown by both teams.  The coaches and staff have made this more than simply a game but also a time to celebrate Kea’au as a great place to live, work and be educated.”

Kamehameha Schools and Kea’au High School didn’t play against each other, being in different divisions — Kea’au being in Division 1 and Kamehameha being in Division 2.  The Big Island Interseholastic Federation League ultimately changed that, but not before W.H. Shipman, Ltd. first pitched the annual Kipimana Cup five years ago.

Kipimana is how Hawaiians referred to Shipman more than 100 years ago, and both Kea’au and Kamehamhea Schools are located on land formerly owned by Shipman.

W.H. Shipman provides $500 to each of the school’s booster clubs following the game, and a trophy to the winning team.

Kamehameha Schools has won all four of the previous Kipimana Cups, but not without a fight. “They always play us very tough,” said Dan Lyons, head football and aquatics coach at Kamehameha.

“The Kipimana Cup is a great way to showcase the Kea’au and Puna areas of the island of Hawaii as well as the graciousness of W.H. Shipman,” said Dan Lyons, the head football and aquatics coach at Kamehameha Schools.

Both he and Dean Cevallos, principal at Kea’au High School, emphasized that the Kipimana Cup is meant to be friendly competition amongst the neighboring schools.

“It’s an expression of Shipman’s commitment to high school athletics and the two school’s athletics,” noted Lyons. “We always need good competition, and something we look forward to…” Read more

Kamehameha’s Spear Recovered

The removal of King Kamehameha’s spear from his statue in Wailoa State Park was more a case of vandalism than of theft.  The upper section of the bronze  spear, which police determined had been “forcibly removed” was recovered from the overgrowth near Alenaio Stream near the statue.  But the HPD’s public notice about the recovery of the spear still refers to it as “stolen.”

Police checking the stream in a boat discovered the missing section.  Detectives, with the aid of a Fire Department ladder truck, also collected additional evidence from the statue and “determined that the section of the spear was forcibly removed from the lower staff section.”

“The spear segment will be processed for any forensic evidence and returned to the statue’s organizers,” continued the police communique. “Detectives continue to check nearby businesses and buildings for the existence of video surveillance.

The Chronicle asked the police if the gold leaf that covered the end of the spear as still there when the spear was recovered.  It was, so stealing the gold wasn’t a motive (even if it had been, it would have been misguided; the amount of gold was minuscule.  The only motive appears to have been pure maliciousness.

The removal of the spear was first reported last Sunday in the early afternoon.

“Police continue to ask for the public’s assistance in identifying the responsible person or persons in this case to call Detective Sandor Finkey at 961-2384 or email him at “or an call CrimeStoppers anonymously at 961-8300.  A reward of up to $1000 has been offered for evidence leading to the solution of the case.

Kitchen Diva — ‘Seven Chefs’ And An Island Filled Culinary Inspiration; Food And Wine’s Farm To Table Event Doesn’t Disappoint

imageBy Sofia Wilt

I was fortunate to recently attend the 5th Annual Food & Wine Magazine’s annual festival at the Hilton Waikoloa on August 29th representing the Big Island Chronicle. This year’s signature event was titled Seven Chefs, One Big Island and featured some of the best chefs in the country, including some from Hawaii and New Zealand. The Hilton served as an ideal venue for gourmet enthusiasts to enjoy bio-regionally specific haute cuisine. The current farm to table trend that focuses on local ingredients was emphasized and with the incredible and varied gifts we have here in Hawaii from both land and sea, the chefs were provided outstanding ingredients to dazzle guests.

Beginning just before sunset there was a VIP reception featuring cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Hans Lentz and his team from the Hilton Waikoloa Village. If this was any indication of what we would be feasting on later, we knew we were in good hands. There were several delicious offerings inducing : Roasted Kabocha Pumpkin Shooter with Ohia Honey, Coconut Foam and Ginger Brittle; Opihi Poke Nori Wonton Cup with Yazu, Uni Creme Brulee and Micro Wasabi; my favorite was the Charred Gochujang Kauai Prawns with Kalamansi Compressed Watermelon, Cotija Cheese, Lime Caviar & Micro Cilantro. I missed out on the Berkshire Pork Belly Crostini with Pineapple Adobo Gastrique with Crispy Pancit, but heard rave reviews.

After the reception we were guided to our tables in the adjoining banquet hall for dinner. As a custom in Hawaii for a special gathering, a traditional Hawaiian Pule or chant was performed, first in Hawaiian and then in English. The Pule was to bless the attendees, the chefs and the food and wish everyone safety and wellbeing following the meal. The land and sea were both honored for their contributions as well as the many (many) hands that put the time and effort to make such a grand and beautiful event possible. A band onstage performed live music throughout the event.

The first course was from Chef Michael Meredith of Merediths Restaurant in New Zealand. It was a Beetroot Cured Ono with Japanese Cucumber, Kauai Shrimp & Avocado Cream. It was paired with Kitaya Kansansui “Cold Water Mountain” Junmai-Dai-Ginjyo Sake from Fukuoka Prefecture. This was perhaps my favorite dish of all, it had a slight citrus backnote, the fish had a lovely mouth-feel and was infused with the beautiful color of beets. All the textures and flavors had a nice interplay. I am not usually one for sake, but this one was extremely smooth and matched the flavors perfectly.

The second course was from Hawaii’s own Chef Roy Yamaguchi who has his signature restaurants all over the Hawaii islands as well as a few places on the mainland. His offering was Miso Charred Lobster with Toasted Rye Cavatelli, Beurre Noisette Lemon Cream and Smoked Ikura. It seemed everyone at my table was initially confused as to what the Cavatelli is, it’s a rustic handmade rye pasta in a small cylinder shape. The lemon cream was a delightful counterbalance to the smoked ikura. Lovely presentation. The wine pairing was a 2011 Bouchard Pere et Fils Puligny Montrachet from Burgundy and it was nothing short of outstanding.

Our third course was from the famous Chef Ming Tsai of the Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA. His offering was a Steamed Kona Abalone and Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Black Bean Flash. If you like Foie, you love it, and if you don’t, I’m so sorry for you. There were a few folks at my table that were not fans and I certainly felt sorry for them because they were truly missing out. The foie was inside of the abalone shell and the abalone was on the outside. There was a serrano chili garnish that provided a nice spicey offset to the richness of the dish. The wine pairing was a 2013 Maison L’Envoye Cote de Py’ Gamay, Beaujolais, France, as somewhat surprising choice of red with seafood, but really the star of the dish was the foie.

Our fourth course was from Chef Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose in Anaheim CA. His offering had multiple directions and flavors. Grilled Big Island Wild Boar Meat Loaf on Red Chile Chimichurri with Hearts of Palm Salad, Poha Berries and Macadamia nuts. There was the earthiness of the wild meat, the spice and smokiness of the chimichurri, the neutral and mild flavor of the hearts of palm and the sweet and crunch of the poha and macnuts. This wine was maybe my favorite of all them all, a 2011 Gramercy Cellars ‘Inigo Montoya’ (yep, think Princess Bride) Tempranillo from Walla Walla, Washington.

Our fifth course was from Chef Richard Rosendale of the USA Representative Bocuse d’Or 2013. This course was a Coriander Rubbed Grassfed Beef with a Short Rib Dumpling, Lapsang Souchong Poached Beets, Seared Bok Choy and Orange & Pepper Puree. The beef was outstanding, perfectly prepared. The was some confusion at my table about the dumpling which didn’t seem to have any noticeable beef inside of it. Otherwise the flavors married nicely and it was and a great way to finish the savory portion of the meal. The wine paring was a delicious 2012 Hobel Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, CA.

For dessert we had an incredible and playful offering from Chef Jayson Kanekoa of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. We were served a Lilikoi Sponge Cake with Hawaii Island Goat Cheese Panna Cotta and Lilikoi Macaroon with Lilikoi Meringue. What was also included was a curious plastic syringe of sorts filled with a kind of berry puree that allowed the dinner to administer onto their desert as desired. Frankly, even though I’ve mostly out-grown my sweet tooth, I cleaned this plate. The lightness of the cake which was thankfully not overly sweet melted in your mouth. We were served both Kona Coffee as well as a 2011 Domaine De L’Alliance Sauternes from France, a sweet dessert wine.

A huge thanks to the Food & Wine magazine, the chefs, the Hilton and everyone else that made this event possible. By the end of the meal after six courses and paired wine it seemed everyone had been swooned by the gracious efforts of the chefs. Hopefully next year we will see some new and exciting offerings from the event. I’d also like to thank my editor Tiffany Hunt for sending me to the event. This evening in particular had me think, lucky to live Hawaii.

(Sofia Wilt, also known as Kitchen Diva, is a columnist for Big Island Chronicle and a personal chef based in Puna.)