WRITTEN BY DANIA NOVACK-KATZ
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DUKE KENNEY
For those of us living in Hawai’i, being social often seems to come as second nature. Is it our particular social scene or just the natural tendency to be outdoors because of the warm, inviting weather? Despite our love of socializing, making the effort to bring everyone together for a planned event is often skipped due to lack of time or simple failure to make it a priority. We’re here to encourage you to invite a few friends and family over for drinks and pupu– then ask each of them to invite someone you don’t know to grow your circle! There’s no telling who you’ll meet and the impact that person might have on your life.
It all starts with a great location. Choose some place centrally located that has a good vibe and a great reputation. For our recent event, we chose The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club, a boutique hotel that’s as close to time travel as your likely to get amidst the beaches and bustle of Waikiki. Recently renovated to reflect the style and vibe of 1960s O‘ahu, The Surfjack’s loyal execution of this retro theme is immediately winning. The hotel’s remodel also includes an exciting partnership with like-minded restaurateur, Ed Kenney, for the launch of his fourth O‘ahu-based restaurant, Mahina & Sun’s. Both hotel and restaurant make good on their promise to treat visitors to a healthy dose of “modern aloha.”
Once a location has been chosen, focus on the guest list. Who to invite? We selected friends from all the islands and created a simple invitation detailing the who, what, where, when, and why.
Quickly, all of our open spots filled up with a great mix of personal and business friends. We also decided to give an opportunity to young, up-and-coming photographer Duke Kenney to capture and record our gathering. Looking at the images afterwards, we are thrilled to have quality photos of our event to share and remember our time together.
Now for the food & cocktails. Obviously, the food coming out of the kitchen under the creative supervision of Erik Leong, Chef de Cuisine, was going to be delicious and thoughtful, but the participation of Bar Lead Robert Bidigare kicked things up a notch with the addition of Koloa Rum inspired cocktails serving as perfect compliment to the food. Natalie Aczon, Restaurant Manager of Mahina & Sun’s, made sure the service was on point, and Eric Faivre, VP of Food & Beverage Operations at Aqua-Aston Properties, was there to oversee everything and make sure the event came off without a hitch.
The gathering was flawless. Food and cocktails were delicious, but it was really the people who took the time to come and talk story that made this social event great.
A very special HUI HO to Jeanne Toulon for her friendship with edible Hawaiian Islands magazine – enjoy your retirement and we look forward to our next cocktail!