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Hawaii Food & Wine Festival brings back popular culinary style

October 25, 2017 - 12:05am

KAILUA-KONA — The seventh annual Hawaii Food &Wine Festival is going retro on Hawaii Island this weekend, resurrecting an event series that both preceded the state’s premier culinary festival as well as helped to create it.

Cuisines of the Sun ran from 1991-2001 and featured the distinct wine and culinary stylings of sunny climates, including Hawaii’s.

Return of Cuisines of the Sun will showcase a “food-forward” take on the original event at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort &Spa Saturday evening, and the original chefs will be on hand to create the six-course dinner.

“Cuisines of the Sun started with four chefs and four winemakers featuring cuisines and beverages of warm, sunny climates,” Alan Wong, a co-founder of Hawaii Food &Wine Festival and one of Saturday’s featured chefs, said in a press release. “It grew into inviting chefs and winemakers from all over the world. It brought media attention (and) publicity to the Big Island, to the State of Hawaii, our food, culture, farmers, products and people.”

James Beard award winner Robert Del Grande of Houston and “Father of Southwestern Cuisine” Dean Fearing of Dallas will bring a Southwestern flavor to the meal featuring traditional Hawaiian ingredients.

Tannya Joaquin, director of public relations for Hawaii Food &Wine Festival, explained the dinner will be a tribute to these chefs, describing it as a “nice hybrid” of their Southwestern cuisine and the influence it had on developing Hawaiian cuisine.

Not to be left out, California will be represented by Los Angeles chef Mark Peel. Francois Payard will be in from New York to prepare a course, while Wong and Jayson Kanekoa will represent Hawaii. Southern Glazer’s Wine &Spirits of Hawaii will provide the wine pairings.

Joaquin said a handful of tickets are still available. General admission seating is available at $250 per chair, with dinner beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday night. VIP access is $500 a seat and includes a cocktail reception at 5 p.m. with reserved VIP seating for the dinner beginning an hour later.

The Hawaii Food &Wine Festival features master chefs, wine connoisseurs and culinary personalities from across the world. It is held on three islands over the course of three weekends and includes wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, extravagant dining experiences and above all, a focus on local ingredients.

The festival is sponsored by First Hawaiian Bank, the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Star Advertiser, among several others.

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