Destinations / GO
various island groups — and shine a welcome
spotlight on Hawaiian farmers and ranchers.
HRC chef Peter Merriman was also here to help
promote his newly opened Wailea restaurant
Monkey Pod. A regular on the festival scene,
Merriman particularly enjoys participating in
the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival on the north
side of the island. “It’s the granddaddy of them
all, and it’s held in gorgeous venues,” he says —
including his own restaurant. Moreover, most
of the chefs are based in Hawaii. “It’s always
fun to taste the food the other chefs are mak-
ing,” he adds, “and I don’t think I have ever met
a boring winemaker in my life.”
From a restaurant owner’s perspective, wine
and food festivals are a good way to introduce
chefs to customers, says Aaron Placourakis,
whose Fairmont Kea Lani dining venue Nick’s
Fishmarket just underwent major renovations.
The challenge, he adds, is coming up with dishes
to create in a very limited kitchen environment.
I can personally attest that this issue was
successfully addressed on both nights. The
challenge for me was finding the time and space
to enjoy each dish. Example: after chatting
about how he fishes right in front of his hotel
for his shrimp, chef Tylun Pang of the Fairmont
Kea Lani–based restaurant Ko explained the
preparation, which incorporates ideas and fam-
ily recipes from members of his staff. Balancing
a drink while shoving these not-so-bite-size
morsels into my mouth did not seem a sufficient
way to honor the results. So far, my best solu-
tion to this common food festival quandary
has been to find a table and a willing partner or
two to take turns refilling (er, tasting) the wine,
then hunt-and-gather multiple platefuls to
sample together. I scored on the first night, as
my friend turned out to be a picky eater. On the
closing night, as I stood in line for my eighth
spring roll from Alan Wong’s station, I found
myself next to Bud Piskrone, general manager
of the Wailea Resort Association. As he’d given
the welcome speech the night before, I figured
he might offer some interesting insights from a
host’s point of view.
Private. Luxurious. Breathtaking.
ASTON WAIKIKI BEACH TOWER
Enjoy one of Waikiki’s most luxurious and
private resort condominiums.
Elegant designer suites. Gourmet kitchens.
Spacious living room, dining and bedroom
areas. Private balconies with spectacular
oceanfront views of Waikiki Beach. On-site
concierge service. And personalized service
delivered with true island hospitality.