Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Culinary students helping out the chefs


Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local


One of my favorite Hawaii foodie events was held last week at the annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. The event celebrates eating local by highlighting locally grown Hawaiian grass-fed beef and other local meats, along with fresh produce and finished food products all made in Hawaii. The Taste is the major food event in Hawaii island and a true ‘Locavores’ delight, so it is definitely the place to sample some amazing food creations with chefs from all over Hawaii.

The highlight of the event is the grass-fed beef in which almost every part of a cow from the tongue to the tail is portioned off to a chef, culinary school or local restaurant to prepare and present some delicious tasting samples for the public to enjoy. This year’s event welcomed over 35 chefs from all over the Big Island and some neighboring islands to share their knowledge and creative talents.

Following are some amazing presentations and not to mention delicious bites to sample:


Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Ox tail beef Gnocchi on a Parmiano Reggiano wheel


Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Hualalai

It’s almost like having dinner with someone’s Italian grandmother with this delightful ox tail beef gnocchi ragout served no-less in the entire casing of a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel. The creative genius of this delicious taste comes from chef Nick Mastrascusa from the Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Hualalai who works his Italian magic with the ox tail beef.  Any takers for a sample taste of this sumptuous ragout while it’s being doled out?




Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Smoked Mutton from Tiki’s Grill


Tiki’s Grill

This colorful presentation comes from chef Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki’s Grill and is a delicious bite (well maybe two or more) of smoked mutton with a poha berry sweet and sour sauce, lamb jus for the middle layer surrounded by a kabocha squash wall and topped of with a Hawaiian poha berry and yellow pea shoots. A fantastic creation – it was a layered, creamy and savory delight!





Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Exciting Kalua pork surprise


 Mahina Cafe

Almost a small-scale luau wrapped into a little bite-sized presentation, this dish practically showcases what you will taste in a full-scale luau. Featuring kalua pork encased in a spring roll with poi and ohelo berry sauce. It includes a side of haupia and purple sweet potatoes which complements the meat infusing sweet and jello-like texture. This bite is truly an inventive creation that presents Hawaii food at its best, even if you didn’t get to try the dish go visit Mahina Café, if you are in the Captain Cook area.



Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Rocky Mountain Oysters


Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

If you’re squeamish don’t try this dish, but there are plenty brave foodies at the event that have no problems scarfing down these Rocky Mountain Oysters (bull testicles). This dish courtesy of the Mauna Kea Beach hotel is a collaboration of Korean and Filipino chefs that includes calamansi, Maui sweet onions, Ko Choo Jung, organic greens and jasmine rice.  The dish imbues traditional Asian heritage and ingredients over rice and is comfort food at its best.





Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Cinderella is ready for the ball.



Meanwhile just around the corner, I spotted Cinderella with her huge magic pumpkin – some say the largest grown in Hawaii. Coming to us from Recycle Hawaii, the pumpkin was created using a bokashi bucket kitchen compost system (kitchen scrap composter). Estimates and guesses are coming in at around 600+ lbs for this monster – do you think it will large enough for Cinderella to be whisked away to her Charming?



Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Ed Kenny of Town restaurant prepping with an assistant



Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

A lollipop lamb kabob

Town Restaurant – Honolulu

Chef Ed Kenny delights the crowd and offers a savory and playful bite with lamb chorizo dressed in fresh cilantro, leek and fennel. The tasty bite is complemented with a side of pickled beets and cucumber relish. Just taken off the grill, the lamb is hot, very juicy and full of flavor – just like a little bite of Mediterranean delight!




Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Top sirloin wrap


Hilton Waikoloa Village

Chef Dayne Tanabe offers a succulent bite (okay a few yummy bites) of this roasted top sirloin wrap and dressed with shiso and chimichurri sauce. It is topped with shaved and deep-fried Hamakua mushrooms. A very flavorful sirloin matched with crunchy, earthy goodness of the Hamakua mushrooms – it’s almost a satisfying meal on its own.





Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Oxtail beef in ravioli goodness


Pueo’s Osteria

A delicious bite of this smoked lamb ravioli will make you crave a whole platter of these yummy ravioli from chef James Babian .  The ravioli is filled with juicy lamb circled with sage butter sauce and a kabocha pumpkin flourish. Definitely the type of bite where you wish you actually had two or more ravioli on the plate or maybe just come back later for seconds. If you’re in Waikoloa village be sure to drop by and have a wonderful Italian meal at Pueo’s Osteria.




Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Outdoor festivities continue at the Taste


Considering that Hawaii typically imports over 80 percent of its produce and agricultural products, it’s wonderful that the community and various organizations can join together and help to promote and support sustainability and locally sourced products. Judging from the huge turnout of foodies, there’s always support from the public to buy local in Hawaii.



Taste of the Hawaiian Range and eating local

Long lines before the start of the Taste of the Hawaiian Range.


This would be an extremely long post if I showed every dish presented by the each of the amazing 35 chefs that presented a delicious bite. Instead I’ll give you the link to my Flickr page here, if you want to see more of the evenings events, the chefs and some more food porn.


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