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Cover Story

Bon Appetit, Celebrating Julia Child

Story By Alana Folen Photos By Nathalie Walker
June 24 - 30, 2012

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As a premier ocean-front destination resort, The Kahala Hotel & Resort is the epitome of pristine class and grandeur where exceptional cuisine stands at the forefront. And with the welcoming of the summer months, this top-notch establishment is gearing up to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of celebrated American chef Julia Child. Child was one of the first women to introduce the French culinary techniques taught at Le Cordon Bleu to the American public, through TV emissions and many publications. Julia Child also received the Legion of Honneur in 2000 and the Medaille Presidentielle de la Liberte in 2003. The month-long party hosted by The Kahala will kick off Aug. 1, finally winding down Aug. 31.

“In true Kahala style, we are dedicating the entire month of August to celebrate Julia Child’s 100th birthday (which is Aug. 15),” says Hoku’s manager Dante Camara, who collaborated with The Kahala’s general manager Roseann Grippo to bring this elaborate culinary series into fruition. “The Kahala is such an amazing place to emulate Julia Child’s style and the mastery of French cooking. We’re really utilizing every aspect of the hotel, and all of our food and beverage outlets. We’re putting together an amazing celebration.”

The Kahala’s Julia Child Tribute culinary series will include a gourmet French dinner benefiting the James Beard Foundation; French cooking classes and demonstrations at the resort’s Universite Patisserie; Julia Child’s famous recipes featured on the menu at Hoku’s, a special Chef’s Table Grand Experience custom fiveor six-course dinner, and so much more. Guests and participants also can look forward to Parisian Pleasures specialty menu at Veranda for late-night snacking, and regional French cuisine featured weekly at Plumeria Beach House’s Bounty of the Seven Seas buffet.

“We are cooking our way through Julia Child’s cookbook,” Grippo says with a smile. “We put together this incredible menu based on what Julia Child has established, and when you look at her cookbooks, such as Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a lot of the food that we’re celebrating is from years bygone. We’re really reinventing a lot of these items such as Lobster Thermidor, and it’s going to be an exciting time,” she adds.

In addition, guest chef appearances and a Kahala Wine and Food Festival: A Celebration of France, and a Better with Butter high tea in the Veranda as well as a breakfast brunch buffet in the resort’s Plumeria Beach House will captivate all appetites during the month of August. Also, a la carte menu items made from recipes found in Child’s cookbook will be featured in the hotel’s restaurants.

“We’re very passionate about Julia Child,” Grippo declares. “Keep in mind, Julia was a woman who did not go to culinary school until she was 39 years old. She attended Le Cordon Bleu, which is touted as one of the best culinary schools in the world. She graduated at the top of her class against all odds, as she was the only female in her class and no one took her seriously,” she explains. “It’s really our desire that people will come and enjoy our tribute to this inspirational woman. The James Beard Foundation Dinner is really the focal point during the entire celebration — it will be like Julia’s birthday party.”

The James Beard Foundation Dinner is set for Aug. 12 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. in The Kahala’s Maile Ballroom. The James Beard Foundation was founded in 1986 to celebrate and cultivate America’s diverse culinary heritage and cuisine. According to Grippo, this exquisite dinner (early bird reservations before July 1, $275 per person; reservations after July 1 $325 per person), will showcase the divine masterpieces of Hawaii’s regional chefs, including the hotel’s own Team Kahala comprised of executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi and pastry chef Michael Moorhouse. Other local celebrity chefs being featured are Warren Uchida, Colin Hazama, Ryan Loo and Patrick Okubo.

“We have an amazing pool of talent, and another special guest for the evening will be Mitchell Davis, Ph.D., executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation in New York City. We’re delighted to have him here,” Camara explains.

“Working with the James Beard Foundation and giving back to the community is so important. Food is love in every aspect, and we’re engaging local purveyors and they’re truly taking the spotlight,” Grippo adds. “Allowing these amazing chefs to have this opportunity to be a part of this celebration is truly magic in the islands, and it speaks volumes as to where we’re going as a culinary society.”

As for Hirabayashi, he believes Child helped pave the way for many aspiring chefs, including himself.

“Julia Child really brought French cuisine into the homes of America. She made it look so simple and made people realize that it wasn’t impossible to create. Julia loved butter and cream so, of course, that’s emphasized in the cuisine,” he says, noting a handful of hearty Julia Child-inspired dishes such as French Onion Soup, Boeuf Bourguignon, Pommes Frites, Waffle Potatoes, Pomme Parisienne, Raspberry Charlotte, Pomme Lyonnaise, Gratin and Potato Tarte, which patrons can expect to feast on all month long.

“Julia Child taught us about the passion of mixing ingredients and that everyone has a cooking style all their own,” Grippo shares. “The one thing that I thought was always great about Julia was that she never gave up — she crossed boundaries and went on to become one of the best chefs that we will ever know in our lifetime.”

For more information on The Kahala’s Julia Child Tribute and to make reservations, call 739.8760, email restaurants@kahalaresort.com or visit kahalaresort.com.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort

  • Where
    • 5000 Kahala Avenue
    • Honolulu, HI 96816
  • Call
    • (808) 739-8760 for reservations
  • Website