Kaua‘i farmers featured during luxury resort’s benefit: Supper That Sustains Us

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Diners sip champagne and enjoy the view of Hanalei Bay. Photo: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

Multi-award-winning winemaker Paul Hobbs, whom Forbes magazine once dubbed the “Steve Jobs of Wine,” first tasted fermented grapes from a Dixie cup.

“As a child, my parents had made a pact that there would be no alcoholic beverages served at the family table,” Hobbs said.

“At some point, my father decided to break the pact … We’re all sitting around the family table and my father appears with a tray of Dixie cups and asks us to taste the yellow-orange liquid that’s inside and describe it. Which we did. And my mother says, ‘Ed, that is the best fruit juice I’ve ever tasted.'”

Hobbs, who operates wineries throughout the world, supplied wine pairings and stories on Thursday during the most recent “Supper That Sustains Us” at 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.


It’s the luxury resort’s new series of multi-course dining events that uses local ingredients to benefit island community groups.

  • Seaweed chips with miso and caramelized honey, Kona lobster and sustainable caviar. Photo: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now
  • Salt-baked beet blini with goat cheese and macadamia nuts. Photo: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now
  • Smoked kanpachi, wing beans, eggplant mousse and XO sauce. Photo: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now
  • Lemon shortcake with fresh berries and cucumber basil sorbet. Photo: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

Thursday’s beneficiary was Mālama Kaua‘i, a nonprofit dedicated to improving local food production and access.

Mālama Kaua‘i’s programs include summer meal box and farm-to-school programs for keiki (children) and a kupuna meal program for the elderly. The nonprofit also supports more than 100 local farmers. Since 2020, Mālama Kaua‘i has annually purchased more than $500,000 of local food.

Many of the ingredients regularly used in 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay’s kitchens are obtained through Mālama Kaua‘i’s food delivery program.


“The produce that we’ll eat here tonight, I can track it to the very farm it grew on,” Mālama Kaua‘i Food Hub Manager Olivia Sue told the supper’s approximately 50 diners.

Executive Chef Mel Fogata’s first course consisted of Kaua‘i-caught ama ebi (sweet shrimp) and charred vegetable escabeche in a tamarind broth.

The ama ebi was preceded by champagne and canapes, including seaweed chips, miso and caramelized honey, Kona lobster and sustainable caviar; salt-baked blini with goat cheese and macadamia nuts; and Kaua‘i-raised chicken tocino with fried sweet buns and atchara.

Live music accompanied the multi-course dining event. Photo: Scott Yunker/Kaua‘i Now

It was followed by smoked kanpachi, wing beans, eggplant mousse and XO sauce; and venison served with mushrooms, crispy potatoes and onion soubise.


Dessert featured lemon shortcake topped with fresh berries and cucumber-basil sorbet.

Hobbs paired the dishes with a dry riesling, a chardonnay, two pinot noirs and a cabernet sauvignon from his wineries in upstate New York and Southern California.

Fogata gushed when discussing the quality of Kaua‘i-grown ingredients.

“The mizuna lettuce … it has a much more peppery punch. The Fresno chilies have the heat of a serrano. The serranos have the heat of habaneros. Everything just has much more flavor to it,” he said. “It’s just something about this island.”

Mālama Kaua‘i Food Access Coordinator Marina Mirelles was thrilled by Fogata’s culinary creations.

“I enjoyed the wing beans that were with the kanpachi … I make them at home, but to see them in a sophisticated dish was really special,” she said. “It shows how far local food can go.”

“Supper That Sustains Us” costs $195 per person, plus tax and gratuity. The series is currently held on a quarterly basis. Information about future events will be made available at

Scott Yunker
Scott Yunker is a journalist living on Kauaʻi. His work for community newspapers has earned him awards and inclusion in the 2020 anthology "Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter."

Scott can be reached at [email protected].
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