Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: The Kahala Hotel & Resort & Mountain View FarmRestaurant Insider
October 31, 2021
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
ANNE LEE speaks with executive chef at The Kahala Hotel & Resort JONATHAN MIZUKAMI and farmer/owner of Mountain View Farm DAVID WONG
Tucked away in Waianae Valley lies Mountain View Farm, a place where farmer/owner David Wong implements natural techniques and microorganisms to cultivate the soil to create magical moringa plants without any herbicides or pesticides. The end result is a product that is absolutely pure and free of any toxins. The natural farming methods are also used to raise pigs, which eliminates the use of antibiotics, vaccines, steroids and farrowing crates. As one of the largest pork producers on the island, their pigs are fed a diet of 100% fruit and vegetables, and used by some of the top restaurants in Hawaii.
Executive chef Jonathan Mizukami and his culinary team at The Kahala Hotel & Resort are avid supporters of local farmers and will have a Harvest Celebration dinner featuring Mountain View Farm products on Nov. 10. Seating is 5:30-7:30 p.m. and is limited to the first 100 guests. I spoke with David and chef Jonathan to talk about the menu and what guests can expect for this family-style dinner.
AL: David, please tell me more about the benefits of the moringa plant.
DW: The moringa plant is a very healthy, most nutritiously dense food. It’s the only plant food that has all eight amino acids for human protein. We are raising it without any fertilizer or toxic chemicals. We utilize the whole moringa plant. When this plant ages, it produces seeds. We harvest and dry the leaves to make a moringa powder that we make into capsules, and we take the oil from the seeds and produce a moringa oil. The oil is an effective natural skin conditioner and has powerful medical benefits. The moringa powder has helped many people get off of medications such as insulin, as it balances your microbiomes and improves your immunity.
AL: What is the difference between natural farming methods versus organic farming?
DW: I want to make sure that people understand the difference: organic farming still uses hazardous pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals are absorbed by the plant, leaving residual toxins and killing off any natural enzymes and microbes. Natural farming techniques completely eliminate the use of herbicides or pesticides. Natural farming was pioneered in Asia and uses natural micro-organisms to cultivate the soil and nourish the plant.
AL: Where can our readers find out more information about your farm or buy produce?
DW: We sell the pork at Don Quijote and Marukai Wholesale Mart. The produce right now is limited supply and only delivered to restaurants. One option that we can offer is to grow vegetables on your own. We have a “Farmacy Box” that comes with everything you need to promote healthy eating for you and your family.
We are working with schools and have these installed on their campus, teaching students to learn more about plants and the microbial power of the soil. Growing plants that are chemical-free will help clean and purify the air with all the pollutants. For more in formation, call 808-388-4267 or email email@example.com.
AL: Chef Jonathan, tell me which products you selected and prepared for the Mountain View Farm Harvest Celebration Dinner.
JM: I wanted to collaborate with David on a dinner to showcase the unique ingredients from the farm. It’s always good to showcase local farmers, especially when they are doing something special. In addition to moringa and pork, they farm other crops using natural farming and are constantly experimenting with new produce.
The dishes speak for themselves. When someone provides you with a product that is great to start with, I really do not have to do much to it. Each featured product shines by itself.
For the starter, we use David’s cucumbers and fresh mint from the farm and made Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup and Chicarrones. We took some of skin from the pork and made a chicharron chip, dusted with moringa powder and red wine powder, similar to a salt and vinegar chip. It’s light, refreshing and a great way to start off the course meal.
The first course is my take on a Cobb salad, which usually has avocado, eggs, blue cheese, and radishes. We start by using David’s Manoa lettuce, watermelon radishes and avocado, which are the stars and take some of the pork and made house-cured bacon. We add a blue cheese and buttermilk dressing and chopped egg and tomatoes.
The star of this entrée features David’s pork, as it’s fed a 100% vegetarian diet, no antibiotics or steroids. We created Mountain View Farm Pork Chops and Lemon Mignonette — we brine the pork and roast it and serve it atop bok choy and with steamed choy sum. This will be served with a Moringa pasta using the powder and making a tagliatelle and serve that with a moringa-infused macadamia nut pesto, tossing that with fresh basil and moringa leaves.
For our dessert, we created a local favorite, Coconut Tapioca, paired with David’s papaya and made a granité out of fresh local pineapple and added moringa to that — it gives it a green tea flavor. We serve that with coconut shortbread cookies. It costs $75 per person and seating is limited to 100.
(Please note, due to the family-style menu and unique products that we are sourcing from the farm, unfortunately we are not able to accommodate substitutions or dietary requests.)
AL: Is there anything else you want to share?
DW: This is the first collaboration dinner that we have been a part of and are very grateful to be able to share this. What chef Jonathan created is a demonstration of how you can really be healthy and not sacrifice any flavor or cut out meat. For more information about the farm, you can watch the Where Hawaii Eats episode featuring my interview.