Categorized | Featured, Food

Third annual Celebrity Chef Tour (Jan. 18-19)


The “Eric Clapton of Chefs,” a Food Network Superstar, a James Beard award-winning Pastry Chef of the Year, a trend-setting restaurateur, an iconic Hawaii chef, a team of local culinary talent and a crowd-pleasing cocktail mixologist bring their culinary genius to the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows for Hawaii’s third annual Celebrity Chef Tour benefiting the James Beard Foundation from Jan. 18-19.

This two-day oceanfront gastronomic event is a chance to get up close and personal with some of the biggest names in the industry while enjoying masterful cooking influenced by Hawaiian culture, tradition and sustainability.

The event celebrates local farmers and puts the abundance of seasonally-driven produce grown on Hawaii Island in the spotlight.

The Celebrity Chef Tour benefits the James Beard Foundation, whose mission is to “celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s diverse culinary heritage and future.” To date, the Celebrity Chef Tour has raised more than $1 million for the James Beard Foundation.

The 2013 Hawaii Celebrity Chef Tour will see Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto NYC) Aaron Sanchez (Food Network Chopped and Heat Seekers, Mestizo Kansas City) Nancy Silverton (Osteria Mozza L.A.), Bruce Bromberg (Blue Ribbon NYC and Las Vegas) Sam Choy (Kai Lani and Breakfast Lunch & Crab Hawaii), Clayton Arakawa (Mauna Lani Bay Executive Chef) and Allen Hess (Mauna Lani Bay Chef de Cuisine) present their takes on island-style cuisine.

Former chef and now international award-winning cocktail mixologist, Manny Hinojosa, will prepare a selection of exclusively designed Grey Goose cocktails using Hawaii’s bountiful fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs.

The Celebrity Chef Tour opens with the Grey Goose Oceanfront Soiree featuring Manny Hinojosa’s stunningly beautiful drinks and live Hawaiian entertainment 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. Chef Sam Choy will prepare delectable canapes showcasing his signature Pacific Rim style.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at Mauna Lani Bay’s famous Canoe House restaurant, chefs Waxman, Sanchez Silverton, Bromberg, Arakawa and Hess will prepare an unforgettable six-course dinner.

Each course will be matched with premium Rodney Strong wines and some courses complemented with gourmet-treated cocktails by Hinojosa.

The chefs will hand-select their ingredients from local farms including Hirabara Farms, Hawaii Island Goat Dairy and the community-initiated and supported Malaai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.

The 3/4-acre organic garden supports student learning by integrating core curriculum as well as cultural learning and healthy life skills into student’s academic schedule.

WHAT: The Grey Goose Oceanfront Soiree with Manny Hinojosa and Sam Choy. Live Hawaiian music.
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
WHERE: Oceanfront at The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Kohala Coast, Hawaii
TIME: 5-7:30 p.m.
COST: $100

WHAT: Six-course family-style culinary experience matched with premium Rodney Strong wines. Presented by Jonathan Waxman, Aaron Sanchez, Nancy Silverton, Bruce Bromberg and Clayton Arakawa. Hand-crafted cocktails for select courses by Manny Hinojosa.
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013
WHERE: CanoeHouse at Mauna Lani Bay
TIME: 6 p.m.
COST: $250 (inclusive of tax and tip)

SPECIAL OFFER: Attend both events for $300.


TRAVEL: Apply discounted rate code of ECMU392 on airfares from any Alaska Airlines departure city into Kona through Jan. 23, 2013.

STAY: Take advantage of Mauna Lani Bay’s Celebrity Chef Tour room rates starting from $230 per night. Contact (800) 367-2323 or visit

About the Celebrity Chef Tour

Since its inception in 2004 the Celebrity Chef Tour dinner series has become a favorite event for both chefs and guests and has raised more than $1 million for the James Beard Foundation.

The Celebrity Chef Tour brings James Beard Award winners and other celebrity chefs to venues around the country for spectacular dining events. These events are designed to replicate the “once-in-a-lifetime” experience of dining at the famed James Beard House in New York City.

The Tour was created to benefit the James Beard Foundation and to promote culinary arts across America.

Jonathan Waxman

Working as a successful chef, restaurateur and author, Waxman has graced such prestigious kitchens as Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael’s in Los Angeles. Waxman went on to open his own restaurant in New York City — Jams, described by the NY Times as ‘a culinary comet’, as well as the famed Washington Park.

Today, Waxman is the chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan’s West Village. His first cookbook, A Great American Cook, was published in 2007 and his second book, ‘Italian My Way’, was released in April of 2011.

He participated in two seasons of Top Chef Masters on Bravo, where he earned the nickname ‘Obi Wan Kenobi’ and Jonathan Gold of the L.A. Times has referred to Jonathan as ‘the Eric Clapton of chefs’. Giving back is important to Waxman and he works closely with many charities including City Meals on Wheels and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.

Aaron Sanchez

Sanchez is the co-star of two Food Network hit series (Chopped and Heat Seekers) and the chef/owner of Kansas City’s Mestizo. He is also the culinary visionary behind Crossroads at House of Blues nationwide and Tacombi Tacqueria in New York City.

The son of celebrated Mexican cooking authority Zarela Martinez, Sanchez’s passion, commitment and skills have placed him among the country’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.

Sanchez’s cooking “transforms the familiar” (New York Magazine) with his take on Latin favorites. Celebrated by critics and contemporaries alike, Sanchez recently appeared at the White House as a celebrity guest chef and received the “National Award” at the Flavors of Passion Awards, honoring the nation’s best Latin chefs.

The bilingual Sanchez was tapped as the spokesperson for Bud Light’s “Amigos y Carne Asada” national grilling campaign for 2012 & 2013.

Sanchez has starred on multiple Food Network shows including: Heat Seekers, Chefs vs. City, Chopped, Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Dear Food Network Thanksgiving Special.

In 2011 Sanchez appeared on the debut season of The Best Thing I Ever Made, where Food Network stars share their culinary secrets.

In addition to being a restaurateur, television personality, consultant and spokesperson, Sanchez is an author and entrepreneur. His first book, La Comida del Barrio, was published in May 2003.

His second book, Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican- Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours, was released in October 2011. Sanchez also designed the first ever signature chef shoe line for MOZO Shoes.

Sanchez’s creativity extends far beyond the kitchen. He is an admirer of the arts – so much in fact that he has tattooed nearly his entire body with portraits and vivid artwork. An avid music lover, he enjoys cooking to the sounds of Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Sade, The Cure and the music of his wife, singer/songwriter IFE. Sanchez lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

Nancy Silverton

Began her delicious career in Sonoma, Calif., where she started working in a vegetarian kitchen in her college dormitory. After discovering cooking was her passion, she decided to pursue an “official” culinary education, and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in London, England.

Graduating with a solid foundation in culinary arts, Silverton returned to the states to begin working at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif. under Jimmy Brinkeley. It was there that Silverton discovered her passion for pastry and returned to Europe to attended Lenotre Culinary Institute in Plasir, France to perfect her skills.

Upon returning to the states, Silverton was invited by Wolfgang Puck to be the head pastry chef at his world renowned southern California restaurant, Spago.

In June of 1989, Silverton opened the restaurant Campanile with partners Mark Peel and Manfred Krankl; an institution that all Angelenos cherish to this day. When developing the restaurant menu and sourcing premium ingredients and vendors, Silverton soon realized that the same bread she tasted and studied in Europe was nowhere to be found in Los Angeles.

In fact, there was no authentic artisan bread in all of Southern California. Longing to serve a crisp crust and soft airy interior, with the tang of an all- natural sourdough starter, Silverton began teaching herself the ancient art of sourdough bread baking.

Little did Silverton know that her lesson in baking would become the nation’s top artisan bakery; on Jan. 1, 1989, La Brea Bakery opened its doors in the 1,500 square foot storefront bakery adjacent to Campanile. Silverton has developed hundreds of recipes, keeping the shelves stocked at La Brea Bakery.

Today, as La Brea Bakery celebrates its 20th Anniversary, freshly baked breads are available in 17 countries, and maintain the same signature taste, texture and quality that was born in on South La Brea Avenue so many years ago.

In 1990, Silverton was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. These days, you can still find Silverton busy creating and innovating in the kitchen. She completed her 7th cookbook, “A Twist of the Wrist”, released in March of 2007.

In November of 2006, Silverton opened her first new restaurant since departing Campanile in 2004. Pizzeria Mozza, one half of a two-part restaurant with partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. Osteria Mozza, quickly followed in July of 2007, and was nominated as Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation for that year.

Silverton is also heavily involved in the Garden School Project of Los Angeles and the Meals-On-Wheels program in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. By supporting the Garden School Project’s commitment to nutritional education in public grade schools and raising funds and awareness for the elderly that are fed each day by Meals-On-Wheels, Silverton is dedicated to sharing her love of food with two very different generations. Silverton practices what she preaches. “Simple, all-natural ingredients lead to artful nutrition.”

In 2003 Silverton was nominated as a member of Marshall Fields (now Macy’s) Culinary Council. Macy’s has since opened six La Brea Bakery cafe kiosks: three in Chicago, one in Detroit, and two in Minneapolis, all inspired by the original bakery in Los Angeles, opened by Silverton in 1989.

Silverton has an amazing capacity for embracing the beauty of wonderful food, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for the rest of her ingredient inspired life. Each loaf, each leaf of lettuce, each lunch, is an entire world of its own waiting to be discovered, and she will never stop exploring.

Bruce Bromberg

Together with his brother Eric, Bromberg has set culinary trends and ignited passions for almost 20 years, most notably as founders and guiding forces behind the Blue Ribbon Restaurants Group.

In their early twenties, Bruce and Eric Bromberg each attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, graduating with the highest honors with Eric holding the distinction of being the first American to teach classes at the prestigious school.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Eric followed cooking school with apprenticeships at top restaurants in France, including Le Recamier in Paris. He then cooked at Raoul’s and Jonathan Waxman’s JAMS in New York City, the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, and Nick and Eddie in Manhattan.

Bruce also worked at the American Hotel before attending Le Cordon Bleu, and then apprenticed in Paris at Le Recamier, Bistro du Louvre and the Michelin two-star Duquesnoy.

He learned the art of bread baking at Boulangerie Poilâne in Paris and haute cuisine at Michelin three-star restaurant Pierre Gagnaire in Saint-Etienne.

In 1992, the brothers created the first Blue Ribbon in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The original Blue Ribbon restaurant ushered in a new era in dining, one with no reservations and an eclectic mix of familiar and fine foods dressed up or down.

From 1992 to 2011, Blue Ribbon Restaurants have been recognized with a slew of “Top 10” and “Best Of” awards from publications including Wine Spectator, Zagat, Time Out New York, The New York Press, New York magazine and The New York Observer and many more. The original Blue Ribbon received Gourmet magazine’s prestigious America’s Top Table title in 1996, and was Food & Wine magazine’s pick for Chef’s Choice Best Dining in 2003.

The Blue Ribbon burger was also selected as one of Martha Stewart’s top nine favorite NYC burgers on her television show MARTHA in 2009. Eric and Bruce were James Beard Award Restaurateur of the year Semi-Finalists in 2010, and James Beard Award Restaurateur of the year Finalists in 2011.

Bruce and Eric Bromberg released their first cookbook, The Blue Ribbon Cookbook, Better Home Cooking in April 2010 to rave reviews. The book is a finalist for The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) 2011 Cookbook Awards, the prestigious honor considered the gold standard for culinary publishing.

In it they share culinary secrets and wisdom learned serving and entertaining their clientele of culinary luminaries and neighborhood regulars. Most of the recipes are dishes from their restaurants that the Brombergs have carefully honed over the last 20 years.

Sam Choy

Years of cooking alongside his parents provided him the skills and inspiration to make him a local Hawaiian celebrity in the early 1990s. It is his exceptional creativity, love of good food and aloha for the guests he serves that has propelled him into the status of an internationally-recognized chef today.

Choy’s colorful personality and welcoming smile have drawn customers to his multiple restaurants over the last 30 years, but it is his award-winning cooking that keeps them coming back.

While growing up on the North Shore of Oahu, Sam learned to cook in his parent’s restaurant and work alongside them catering lu’aus for large groups of locals and tourists. In addition to his young training, living in his home state of Hawaii with its bountiful year-round hillsides of fresh meats, vegetables, fruits and fresh fish gave Sam an upper hand at making his mark on the culinary world.

Also, the multiple cultures that have gravitated to the islands isolated in the center of the South Pacific sprinkle flavors from around the world into the mix. He characterizes his cuisines as “a melting pot of the freshest ingredients from every culture on the Hawaiian Islands.”

After the early days of working with his family, Sam spent 20-plus years mastering his craft in the kitchens of noted hotels and resorts on the mainland and Hawaii. Following the footsteps of his heritage, Sam and his wife, Carol, opened Sam Choy’s in their newly adopted home town of Kailua-Kona in 1991.

Years of local and international regulars enjoying Choy cuisine shave let to the opening of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai in the summer of 2011. The combination of a million-dollar view and Sam’s delicious menu make this a not-to-miss dining experience on the islands.

For the last 16 years, Sam has appeared on his weekly cooking show, Sam Choy’s Kitchen, on the Hawaiian Island’s local NBC affiliate. He has authored 16 cookbooks, has a frozen food line with a major international distributor, has his personal recipe sauces and dressings available in national food store chains, has his own food truck “Pineapple Express” in Los Angeles and has designed first and business class menus for American’s Airlines international flights.

Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award, winning in 2004. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Poke” and the Culinary Ambassador of the Big Island. Sam also enjoys catering for private events and donates his time to support multiple charities

Clayton Arakawa

His passion for showcasing local ingredients in bold and innovative ways is evident in each dish he prepares. Born and raised in Hawaii, Arakawa’s personal take on contemporary Hawaii cuisine draws from the Islands’ diverse multicultural population, while emphasizing the distinct flavors that are truly unique to Hawaii.

Arakawa attended St Louis School in Honolulu before moving to Northern Arizona University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education. It was during this time that Arakawa’s passion and curiosity for food developed, and which later drove him to attend the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland.

In Arakawa’s 15 years of hospitality experience he has held positions such as Head Chef for the 18,000 acre luxury Crazy Mountain Ranch in Montana, Executive Chef for the Grand Union Hotel (also in Montana), and at the famed Tree Room Restaurant at Sundance Resort.

Arakawa returned to Hawaii in 2007 where he was the Banquet Chef at the Grand Wailea Resort on Maui. He was responsible for managing events of up to 2000 people, from weddings to high-profile corporate functions, each with personalized menus and often incorporating many different cuisines.

Arakawa was also responsible for overseeing multiple dining outlets at the resort including the Bistro Molokini and the private cabana dining experience.

The opportunity to come to Mauna Lani Bay and work with the best and freshest locally grown ingredients is what Arakawa says is one of the best things about returning home to Hawaii. He acknowledges great traditions such as roasting Kalua Pig and that being in the center of the Pacific Ocean, you can’t get fish any better than Hawaii.

Working closely with the farmers and ranchers of Hawaii Island is at the forefront of his culinary creations.

Arakawa’s cooking style is simple and unique, creating a harmonious balance of textures and flavors on the plate. His famous signature dish is “Small Kine Jerk Monchong”, where he utilizes Hawaiian Chile Pepper, which he says is not as fiery as the Jamaican Jerk, with a mango relish and coconut bubbles.

Allen Hess

Describes his cuisine as “innovative” and “progressive”, but importantly, as “culturally sensitive”. While he’s not one to stereotype himself as having a signature style, his food embodies a ‘slow food’ take on Hawaii Regional Cuisine inspired by Hawaii’s plantation era.

Hess comes to Mauna Lani Bay from his namesake restaurant in Waimea, Allen’s Table, where he was both co-owner and chef. Prior to this, he was Executive Chef for Merriman’s restaurant, (also in Waimea) and Sous Chef at Alan Wong’s Hualalai Grille at the Four Seasons and at Roy’s Restaurant in Waikoloa.

Visiting local farmers and ranchers to select the best possible ingredients is part of Hess’ daily routine. Where possible he makes menu items in-house, such as sausages, pates, and dry-aged meats sourced from Hawaii Island beef producers. He is perhaps most recognized for his mouth-watering house smoked and cured bacon, seasoned with peppercorns, cloves and nutmeg.

In 2010 Chef Hess was selected to represent Slow Food Hawaii at the annual Terra Madre conference in Torino, Italy. Terra Madre gathers sustainable food producers, farmers, chefs, educators and activists from around the world to connect and share their stories and traditions, in addition to determining innovative solutions for keeping small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production alive and well.

Hess is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and has called Hawaii Island home for the past 12 years.

Manny Hinojosa

Hinojosa is an award winning mixologist who creates his own syrups, juices and garnishes and pours as if each drop were liquid gold. When Hinojosa pours a drink, you can feel the passion. Manny grew up and was educated in Mexico City, and is fluent in both English and Spanish.

He is extremely charismatic and enthusiastic about his craft and comes with years of experience in the business (he was responsible for running a profitable white tablecloth bar in San Francisco Bay Area for 11 years).

Hinojosa is regarded as an invaluable member of the Bacardi team because his spirit, coupled with his magical mixology abilities and his practical insights helps build praised cocktail programs for restaurants and bars.

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