Hawaii Food and Wine Festival – Under the Modern Moon: Morimoto & Friends

Last week, I attended the 3rd annual Hawaii Food and Wine Fest on Oahu. Although it wasn’t my first time to the island, it had been a long while (about 15 years!) since I was last there. Getting to return to the island, not just as a tourist, but this time as a foodie-tourist, a “food-ist” have you, I was experiencing Oahu with fresh eyes and newly refined tastebuds. I was eager to explore all that was awaiting me on the island; beautiful sunsets, nearly clear ocean waters, and of course, amazing food.

The first evening event held on Oahu for the fest, was a collection of 15 international chefs and 14 wineries and mixologists for Under the Modern Moon: Morimoto & Friends. The venue couldn’t be more perfect – the stunningly beautiful Modern Hotel on Honolulu.

Timed just right, a perfect sunset ordered up for the event and then this…

East met West as the talented chefs prepared unique dishes from Asia and the Pacific. Led by the one and only, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, this was a great way to kick off the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival’s week long food extravaganza.

There were various “celebrity” chefs and quite a few well-known Los Angeles based chefs as well. At this event, I met Bryant Ng of  The Spice Table and his wife who graciously posed with me for a picture.

Edible stand outs included two AMAZINGLY decadent desserts; one: a “Royal Hawaiian” made with Hawaiian Waialua cocoa beans, Big Island macadamia, Kokoleka chocolate mousse and haupia Hawaiian vanilla cream mousse from Stanton Ho, a pastry consultant from Las Vegas…

…and this melt-me-away macadamia nut mouse from Stephen Durfee. I had two of each of these desserts. Local Hawaiian flavors sensually massaging my tastebuds… They were so good!

Also, a dish that was as beautiful to look at as it was to eat, from Chef Amber Lin from Taipei, Taiwan. It was a shrimp cocktail with tea risotto and mushroom sauce accompanied by her herbal and light chamomile tea blend.

I also loved this spicy gochujang braised pork w/ watercress and vegetable rice by Chef Lucia Cho from Seoul, Korea. She paired the dish with a perfect shot of rice based sake which made it all the tastier. This girl’s got game.

Fancy a sake-vodka cocktail? Don’t mind if I do. Mahalo Chef Ming!

Here are some more photos to recap the rest of the beautiful evening, and of course to make you wish you were there.

Check back soon for a video recap on all the rest of the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival Events!

Backyard Bite Under the Modern Moon

Backyard Bite Under the Modern Moon

Macaron tower and an old pal, Top Chef's Sheldon Simeon!

Macaron tower and an old pal, Top Chef's Sheldon Simeon!

Backyard Bite with Ono Pops Founders

Backyard Bite with Ono Pops Founders

Chef Ming poses with Chef Lucia Cho

Chef Ming poses with Chef Lucia Cho

Macarons from Roger Meier of the Honolulu Coffee Co.

Macarons from Roger Meier of the Honolulu Coffee Co.

Under the Modern Moon at the Modern Hotel

Under the Modern Moon at the Modern Hotel

The press poses! Backyard Bite with Ed Morita of NonStop Honolulu

The press poses! Backyard Bite with Ed Morita of NonStop Honolulu

Alan Wong addresses the crowd

Alan Wong addresses the crowd

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Under the Modern Moon

Under the Modern Moon

Under the Modern Moon Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Under the Modern Moon Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Anita Lo's Kampachi sashimi with avocado, kombu and radish

Anita Lo's Kampachi sashimi with avocado, kombu and radish

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Delicious Poke with ogo and quail egg by Chef Floyd Cardoz from New York

Delicious Poke with ogo and quail egg by Chef Floyd Cardoz from New York

Best dessert! “Royal Hawaiian” by Stanton Ho

Best dessert! “Royal Hawaiian” by Stanton Ho

Pretty Shrimp Cocktail from Chef Amber Lin of Taiwan

Pretty Shrimp Cocktail from Chef Amber Lin of Taiwan

Macarons from Chef Roger Meier, ginger lilikoi dipped in Hamakua chocolate

Macarons from Chef Roger Meier, ginger lilikoi dipped in Hamakua chocolate

Mmm Spicy and delicious!

Mmm Spicy and delicious!

Bryant Ng of the Spice Table in LA poses with Backyard Bite!

Bryant Ng of the Spice Table in LA poses with Backyard Bite!

Mac Nut Honey Mouse with Pineapple Sherbet and Mac Nut Crunch

Mac Nut Honey Mouse with Pineapple Sherbet and Mac Nut Crunch

Chef Stephen Durfee of the Culinary Institute takes a break from plating

Chef Stephen Durfee of the Culinary Institute takes a break from plating

Stunning view Under the Modern Moon

Stunning view Under the Modern Moon

Backyard Bite at the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Backyard Bite at the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Chef Ming Tsai makes a cocktail of vodka, sake and cucumber

Chef Ming Tsai makes a cocktail of vodka, sake and cucumber

Spicy gochujang braised pork w/ watercress and vegetable rice by Chef Lucia Cho from Seoul, Korea

Spicy gochujang braised pork w/ watercress and vegetable rice by Chef Lucia Cho from Seoul, Korea

Macarons from Roger Meier of the Honolulu Coffee Co.

Macarons from Roger Meier of the Honolulu Coffee Co.

Sake to accompany Chef Lucia Cho's spicy pork dish.

Sake to accompany Chef Lucia Cho's spicy pork dish.

Backyard Bite Under the Modern MoonMacaron tower and an old pal, Top Chef's Sheldon Simeon!Backyard Bite with Ono Pops FoundersChef Ming poses with Chef Lucia ChoMacarons from Roger Meier of the Honolulu Coffee Co.Under the Modern Moon at the Modern HotelThe press poses! Backyard Bite with Ed Morita of NonStop HonoluluAlan Wong addresses the crowdHawaii Food and Wine FestivalUnder the Modern MoonUnder the Modern Moon Hawaii Food and Wine FestivalAnita Lo's Kampachi sashimi with avocado, kombu and radishHawaii Food and Wine FestivalHawaii Food and Wine FestivalDelicious Poke with ogo and quail egg by Chef Floyd Cardoz from New YorkBest dessert! “Royal Hawaiian” by Stanton HoPretty Shrimp Cocktail from Chef Amber Lin of TaiwanMacarons from Chef Roger Meier, ginger lilikoi dipped in Hamakua chocolateMmm Spicy and delicious!Bryant Ng of the Spice Table in LA poses with Backyard Bite!Mac Nut Honey Mouse with Pineapple Sherbet and Mac Nut CrunchChef Stephen Durfee of the Culinary Institute takes a break from platingStunning view Under the Modern MoonBackyard Bite at the Hawaii Food and Wine FestivalChef Ming Tsai makes a cocktail of vodka, sake and cucumberSpicy gochujang braised pork w/ watercress and vegetable rice by Chef Lucia Cho from Seoul, KoreaMacarons from Roger Meier of the Honolulu Coffee Co.Sake to accompany Chef Lucia Cho's spicy pork dish.

Want more Hawaii? Check out some videos on my recent adventure by clicking, here.

Learn about the origins of the festival from the founders. Click here to watch the video.

[I was a guest of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and their partners and thank them for their Hawaiian hospitality. All comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own. Mahalo Rebecca Pang, organizers of the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival and all the new friends I made on Oahu!]

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