‘Project Kōkua’ Culinary Event to Support Lava Relief
In efforts to support the Pahoa and Puna community in the midst of June 27 lava flow activity, Maui and Big Island chefs have teamed up for the cause.
Project Kōkua, a culinary fundraiser in support of neighbors, friends, family, and farmers in the Puna area, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Owner of Laulima Events and Catering on Maui, Chef Lyndon Honda’s efforts are what lead to the creation of Project Kōkua. In September 2014, Honda first rallied Maui chefs to support Big Island families, friends, and neighbors who were impacted by Tropical Storm Iselle.
In less than three weeks, a culinary fundraiser was born that was a sold-out success, raising more than $28,000 for relief efforts. As a result of the event, the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset distributed 31 $750 farm grants and $5,000 to the Food Basket of the Big Island.
With the same spirit in mind, Honda hopes to extend aloha to aid in the relief of the latest Big Island threat, the June 27 lava flow.
“I love that here in Hawai’i, we all work together in times of need,” Honda said. “It’s all about helping one another especially those who see their way of life and their family’s way of life being threatened. It’s not even a question. We just jump in and help our community as much as we are able.
Through Project Kōkua, chefs will help through a shared love of food. Guests who attend the culinary fundraiser will be served a sampling of dishes by the top chefs and restaurants from across the island. BigIslandNow.com and MauiNow.com meteorologist Malika Dudley will emcee as special guest entertainment is scheduled.
Organizers with Project Kōkua are aiming to raise more than $20,000 and to have at least four businesses or individuals match the proceeds dollar for dollar, with a potential of $100,000 going to help businesses and communities affected by the lava flow.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at any of the five East Hawai’i Rotary Club locations. Cost is $50 plus one canned good per person.
All proceeds will go to relief efforts. Project Kōkua has partnered with the Rotary Club to aid in the distribution of the relief funds.
Chefs, owners, and businesses from across the Big Island scheduled to participate at the event include: Mark Pomaski of Moon and Turtle; Chris Damskey of ‘ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge, Four Seasons Resort Hualālai; Ippy Aiona of Three Fat Pigs Restaurant/Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ; Mike Remen of Hilo Hawaiian Hotel; Nikki Kekaualua of Cupcakes, BOOM!; Colin Nakagawa of Seaside Restaurant and Aqua Farm; Casey Halpern of Café Pesto Hilo; Lori Kong of Aloha Lehua Café; Kanoa Miura of Aloha Mondays; Maria Short of Short N Sweet Bakery & Café; and Peter Kaluna of Sodexo University Dining Services at UH Hilo.
Additionally, chefs from Maui who will present include Lyndon Honda of Laulima Events & Catering; Sheldon Simeon of MiGRANT, and George Gomes of 5 Palms Kīhei.
Sponsors who are helping to make the event possible include the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Laulima Events & Catering, Suisan, Hilo Fish Company, Anheuseur-Busch, Bud Light & Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market Company, Pepsi Cola, @SFDHawaii, Ka’uhane Inc., Sugar & Shake, BigIslandNow.com, MauiNow.com, Hawai’i Paper Products, Hi I Like You/Positive Apparel, KTA Supermarkets, Hawai’i AgriTourism Association (HATA), Edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine, Puna Chicks, Ke Ola Magazine, and Hilo Community College Culinary Program.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting Chef Honda at [email protected] or (808) 989-4733.