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Chefs for Hope

Features Order of the Day

November 23, 2013

Story By: Michelle Lee |

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Tomorrow evening (Monday, November 25, 2013) at the Neal Blaisdell Center, a group of chefs will rally together to host “Chefs for Hope,” a fundraiser for survivors of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, the second deadliest typhoon on record to hit the Philippines.

“The images of destruction are unbelievable,” says Chef Chai Chaowasaree, who is leading the efforts, along with Pacific Rim Concepts’ Lee-Ann Choy. “People have lost everything and entire towns have been washed away.”

The open-invitation event, which will feature live entertainment as well as food from more than 30 different restaurants, will donate 100 percent of ticket sales to the Salvation Army. “Despite the short amount of time we had to put everything together, I am confident it will be a success,” says Chaowasaree. “So far everything including food, sound equipment, lighting and venue space has been donated to us, so the support is certainly overwhelming.”

Tomorrow’s fundraiser is not the first charity event Chaowasaree has organized. In years past, the chef along with help from fellow colleagues in the culinary community have hosted three major relief efforts during the aftermath of the Southeast Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and Japan earthquake. The three events in total raised more than $500,000. “The people who make up our island have such a willing spirit and are eager to help out in any way possible,” says Chaowasaree. “I firmly believe what we can accomplish as a community is truly limitless.”

Attendees of the “Chefs for Hope” fundraiser can expect a night of fine dining and first class entertainment. “The night will feature food from some of the best chefs on the island,” says chef Chaowasaree. “Their participation in the night’s festivities not only confirms their talent as skilled chefs, but also displays their heartfelt compassion and generosity toward others.”

Confirmed participants include 12th Ave Grill, Alan Wong’s, the Beachhouse at the Moana, Cafe Laufer, Centerplate, d.k Steakhouse, HASR Bistro, Hawaiian Spring Water, Hiroshi’s, Hy’s Steak House, Hoku’s, Japengo, JJ Bistro & French Pastry, Kakaako Kitchen, La Tour Cafe, Mariposa, Michel’s at the Colony Surf, Morimoto, Nico’s, Nori’s, Ola at the Turtle Bay Resort, Paradise Beverages, Poke Stop, Rakuen Sushi Bar & Mercury Pub, Roy’s, SALT, Sansei Sushi Bar & Restaurant, Side Street Inn, Southern Wine & Spirits, Tango Contemporary Cafe, The Pacific Club and World Safe Imports Beverages.

In addition to food, live entertainment from The Brothers Cazimero, Hapa, Raiatea Helm, Jordan Segundo and more will perform throughout the night.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Neal Blais-dell box office on Monday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Patrons may also buy tickets at Chef Chai located inside the Pacifica building during the restaurant’s open hours. VIP tables of 10 cost $5,000; reserved seating for 10 cost $1,500 and individual grazing tickets cost $100. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for VIP and reserved seating and 6:30 p.m. for general admission.

Despite the large-scaled nature of the event, the need to solicit support has been minimal. “Literally as soon as we heard about the tragedy, people started asking me if I was going to plan something,” says the chef. “When I finally sent out the formal invitation last Saturday night, it nearly brought me to tears when the next morning I checked my inbox and everyone had enthusiastically confirmed.”

“Because we are such a melting pot of different cultures in Hawaii, there are many people here with strong ties to the Philippines,” says Chaowasaree. “To be able to extend a helping hand and assist our fellow friends during a time when they need it the most feels like the right thing to do.”