‘Bake Squad’ Star Headlines 2022 Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala

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The star of a Netflix TV series is headlining the 2022 Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala with a special treat that’s all about the textures.

Chef Gonzo Jimenez, who appears on the Netflix series “Bake Squad,” is creating the signature dessert for the Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala, which is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Saturday, May 14. (Courtesy photo)

Chef Gonzo Jimenez, who appears on the popular streaming service’s series “Bake Squad,” is creating the signature dessert for the gala, which is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Saturday, May 14. The celebrity chef will also make an appearance on stage during gala.

Jimenez’s dessert, Texturas de Maiz, or Textures of Corn, pays tribute to South American cuisine. The sweet corn bread treat will be enhanced with chocolate, vanilla and mango.

“It’s a dessert offering the many textures emblematic of the iconic ingredients found in Latin gastronomy — corn and cacao,” Jimenez, who was born in Argentina, said in a press release.


Texturas de Maiz joins an assortment of decadent desserts to be served during the festival’s four-course gala dinner. The cocoa-inspired menu also will include a seared ahi appetizer with white chocolate breadfruit mousse, a greens salad with chocolate biscotti crouton and warm rolls and grilled chicken breast with Hāmākua mushroom dashi and mango relish, with a vegetarian option available.

Those who attend also can enjoy unlimited wine and beer, a chocolate spritzer by Ola Brew, iced tea and coffee and a towering chocolate fountain with pastries and fruit. Gala festivities will include live music, dancing, a showpiece chocolate sculpture, fun photo booth, quickie chocolate portraits and a silent auction.

Tickets for the event are $200 until noon the day of the gala or $250 at the door.


The ninth annual installment of the chocolate festival returns Friday and Saturday, May 13-14, as a re-imagined, post-COVID event at the Waikōloa Beach Marriott and Spa Resort. The festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, whose mission and goal is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island.

Tickets for all of the events happening during the festival are available online. For more information and to see the full schedule of events, including many educational opportunities and a whole lot of chocolate, click here. You can also follow the festival on social media @BIChocoFest.

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