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Sam Choy Poke Contest At Kamehameha III Fete

February 27, 2014, 8:53 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 6:52 PM
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Celebrity chef Sam Choy’s Third Keauhou Poke Contest will be held Sunday, March 16, at the Sheraton Kona Resort Convention Center.

The popular culinary event featuring fresh Hawaiian ahi is one of several this year during the resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 14-17.

Poke festivities are set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m and include a “Poke Throw Down,” celebrity “Poke Chop” cook-off, guest speakers, the Royal Hawaii Band Kona and cultural demonstrations.

Public poke tasting starts at 12:30 p.m.

Admission to all contest activities is $5 (limit of five poke tastes) or $10 for an event bag and unlimited tastes until gone. Keiki under 12 are free.


Proceeds benefit the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui campus. Last year’s contest donated $5,000 to the effort.


This year a new competition category — poke with Hamakua Mushrooms — encourages the use of mushrooms from the Big Isle’s gourmet fungal company in Laupahoehoe. It joins four other culinary categories: traditional, cooked, poke with Aloha Shoyu soy sauce and non-seafood.

Suisan Company Ltd. will donate 15 pounds of fresh filet ahi to the first 50 entrants using fish and offer additional fish if needed at wholesale price.

“The poke contest is all about sharing our favorite recipes and using local products,” said chef Choy. “Put your braggin’ in the bowl and enter to win prizes.”


Entry fee is $15 for amateurs and $30 for professionals. Culinary students can participate for free. High-schoolers can enter in a new High School Division and college culinary students may again enter the non-professional category.

Chefs from Facebook’s campus restaurants on the mainland are bringing a contingent to vie in the professional division. Last year’s overall contest winner was ‘Umeke’s of Kailua-Kona.

Contest entry deadline is March 10; find forms at www.SamChoysKeauhouPokeContest.org.

Other festivities being held to commemorate Kamehameha III, the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli, include:

  • Free Puana Ke Iki Lecture by Lily Dudoit, “Keauhou-Where the Current Continues to Renew Itself,” 5:30-7 p.m. March 14 at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay
  • Lani Kauikeaouli Canoe Race, 7 a.m. March 15 at Keauhou Bay, hosted by Keauhou Canoe Club
  • Free 14th annual Kamehameha III “Lani Kauikeaouli” Concert, 4:30-10 p.m. March 15 on the lawn at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay with emcees Skylark Rossetti and Kimo Kahoano with performances by Punahele, Mailani, Nina Kealliwahamana, Marlene Sai, Sonny Lim, Ladies of Na Lei O Kaholoku, Mark Yamanaka and Kapena.
  • Free Daughters of Hawai‘i Tribute, 10 a.m. March 17 at Keauhou Bay with Royal Order of Kamehameha and 200 Kamehameha Schools Ipukukui students.

A free trolley will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) 4-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

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