Taste of the Hawaiian Range Returns to Waikoloa
The 21st Annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival was presented at Hilton Waikoloa Village on Friday, Sept. 9.
This annual event spotlights an impressive lineup of local chefs, and allows participants to sample food by local producers while learning about island agriculture.
Both inside and out, the convention center at the Hilton Waikoloa Village was packed with over 75 culinary stations, food producers and agricultural displays designed to educate the mind and tantalize the tastebuds of eager meat-eaters.
Chefs took center stage as they spotlighted fresh, nutritious food produced locally in Hawai‘i.
The stars of the evening included dishes prepared with pasture-raised beef, lamb, goat, mutton and pork.
Those with more adventurous palates had the opportunity to taste unique cuts of beef such as tongue, tail and bull testicles.
All the beef presented was pasture-raised and sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones.
Each chef was assigned to prepare an overwhelming 100 pounds of a specific cut of pasture-raised beef, locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar.
From head to tail, nothing was spared in this epicurean adventure. It’s was a unique and fun way to get acquainted with the more unfamiliar bits and pieces of meat. The eye-appealing presentations didn’t hurt either.
According to Russell Nagata, Hawai‘i County Extension Services County administrator, The Taste of the Hawaiian Range started as a way to encourage the use of rarely used portions of the beef carcass.
Ranchers and meat processors have no problem selling the middle meats like steaks and tenderloins. The lesser cuts of meats, like the chucks, rounds and brisket tend to get sold as hamburger.
This annual event promotes creating dishes with those lesser used cuts.
As guests grazed on professionally and artistically prepared cuts of meat, they were also offered samples of local food products while browsing educational displays on agriculture and sustainability.
Some new exhibitors this year were Beyond Organic Consulting, Waimea Butcher Shop, Paradise Hawaii Balsamics, Spicy Ninja Sauce, Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death, Farm Works Hawaii, Orchid Isle Traders, Hawaii Lassi-Akmal Foods, USDA Farm Service Agency and UH-CTAHR Veterinary Extension.
New restaurants that made their “debutante” entrance at the 2016 event were the Noodle Club, Waipio Cook House, 3 Fat Pigs, Daylight Mind Coffee Company Waikoloa, Monstera and The Fish Hopper.
The popular annual event also offered Cooking 101 demonstrations with guest presenters Chef Kevin Hanny and J Schoonover of O‘ahu’s 12 Ave Grill and Kokohead Café.
It was clear that everyone left satisfied, and hopefully with a new appreciation for sustainable agricultural practices as well new, innovative ways to prepare healthy, locally sourced meals for family and friends.