Getting to the Root of Today’s Island FareCover Story Features
February 15, 2015
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
With so many restaurants offering farm-to-table cuisine in line with the mainstream trend, the culinary wizards at Sheraton Waikiki Resort have taken the concept to a grassroots level by, appropriately, connecting intriguing menu offerings back to their sources.
As part of the revolutionary Table to Farm Wine Dinner Series, Sheraton Waikiki Resort’s senior executive sous chef Colin Hazama teams with Darren Demaya — executive sous chef at Kai Market — to present a special menu sourced locally with fare from Shinsato Farms and ‘Nalo Farms. The collaboration dinner takes place Friday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. adjacent to the resort’s picturesque Infinity Edge Pool. The event will follow a meet-and-greet, no-host cocktail session with Nicholas Miller, vice president of sales and marketing for Thornhill Companies (California), from which the wines paired with dinner originate.
“With the table-to-farm concept, you’re learning about what you’re eating and enjoying these special dishes with wine, all while the chefs and farmers explain what’s happening on each plate,” Hazama says, when describing the innovative concept.
Guests also are invited to participate in a special farm tour and picnic. Participants meet at Sheraton Waikiki’s Aloha Landing at 10 a.m. and are transported to the Windward side for an interactive lunch experience. Those on the tour will spend time with Hazama and Demaya, Amy and Glenn Shinsato (Shinsato Farms) and Dean Okimoto (‘Nalo Farms) while engaging in cooking demonstrations and enjoying a farm-inspired picnic lunch before returning to Waikiki at 3 p.m.
“My inspiration was to educate and inform the public, especially local residents, and to let them know that we have some great products from passionate local vendors,” says Hazama. “I wanted to go in-depth into what farm-to-table really is. The whole experience of being on the farm and enjoying an upscale wine pairing during which 85 to 90 percent of the meal is raised or grown locally in Hawaii is very inspiring.”
The exquisite dinner begins with a pupu of Drunken Shinsato Rabbit Liver & Pork Rillete served alongside pickled watermelon and ‘Nalo spicy micro cress, and paired with 2013 J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc. The five-course menu continues with Shinsato Farms Head Cheese Pork Tonkatsu (paired with 2013 Ballard Lane Sauvignon Blanc) and House Cured Shinsato Farms Prosciutto (paired with 2011 Bien Nacido Grenache), which features ‘Nalo Farms beets, radish, turnips, onions and arugula along with crispy pig ears and Shinsato bacon vinaigrette.
“We’ve cured Shinsato Farms pork for six months, so it’s got a lot of fat and marbling — the freshness and flavor of the dish is intensified, rather than pork from the Mainland that comes here frozen,” says Hazama of the prosciutto creation.
Rabbit + Peas & Carrots (paired with 2010 Solomon Hills Pinot Noir) is masterfully composed of Shinsato Farms juniper herb rabbit saddle, crispy rabbit leg confit, Ho Farms charred baby carrots along with ‘Nalo Farms pea pesto and micro mint and pea shoots. Pork enthusiasts will rave about Shinsato Farms Lechon Kewali (paired with 2011 Bien Nacido Vineyards Syrah), which is accompanied by pickled Ho Farms tomato salad, ulu maxime, mung bean puree, adobo Shinsato pork demi and ‘Nalo Farms micro rock chives.
“We offer a different outlook on what food in Hawaii has become,” Hazama explains. “It’s not just about Hawaiian fusion. Hawaii cuisine has become more sustainable, such as the rabbit dish that I created — rabbit was something that you would never think was raised and sold here, and now it is. Food nowadays is much more than Hawaii Regional Cuisine; there’s a real movement toward sustainability.”
To conclude the meal, diners are treated to ‘Nalo Farms Country Short Cake (paired with 2013 Smashberry White Blend), a decadent composition of ‘Nalo lemon verbena crème fraiche gelato, ‘Nalo starfruit and Kula strawberry compote, Naked Cow Dairy brown butter cornbread, ‘Nalo sweet honey syrup and ‘Nalo Farms tarragon kettle corn.
During the farm tour and picnic, participants will enjoy Tutu’s Portuguese Bean Soup, featuring kiawe smoked Shinsato Farms ham hocks and country-style rabbit sausage; Shinsato Farms “Porchetta” with Wailea lilikoi mustard and ‘Nalo country kim chee; and a “Quench & Munch” combo of Ume Yuzu Mojito with Koloa gold rum and ‘Nalo Farms micro mint, along with Adobo Chicharrones, pork rind-like morsels accompanied by yogurt poppy seed dip, chili threads and micro cilantro.
The extraordinary dining experience costs $103 (all prices inclusive of tax and gratuity); $133 with wine pairings; $170 for dinner in addition to the farm tour and picnic; and $200 for the dinner and wine pairings in addition to the farm excursion. Farm tour and lunch packages also are available for $103. Reservations can be made via the Starwood Dining Desk at 921-4600, and complimentary parking is available in the self-parking garage for both the dinner and during the farm tour.
Guests looking to turn the experience into an extra-special weekend also may book a room at Sheraton Waikiki for a special rate of $210 per night (plus tax and resort charge) for the night of March 6. Call 921-4610 and ask for the “Farm Tour” special room rate.
Chef Hazama also has three additional Table to Farm dining and farm-tour experiences planned April 10-11 featuring Twin Bridge Farms; June 5-6 at Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa, with inspiration from Wailea Agriculture Group (Hilo) and Kona Cold Lobsters; and Aug. 7-8 with an incredible blend of flavors and ingredients from farms and purveyors previously featured in the dinners and tours.
For more information on Hazama’s Table to Farm series, log on to www.FlavorsOfHawaii.com, and follow Sheraton Waikiki’s culinary team on social media via #flavorsofhawaii.