Category: Winter 2015

Probiotic Farming


Words by Raelinn Doty
Photography by Adriana Torres

Meet Doni Chong, businesswoman, philanthropist and yogurt farmer at Happy Heifer Yogurt.

How exactly does one “farm” yogurt, you might ask? It is perhaps the tiniest “crop” one can imagine. From a farming perspective this may seem unconventional, but not all farming is soil-based (as is the case with aeroponics, aquaponics and hydroponics.) This is also the case with yogurt. What Doni farms is unconventional as well— microbes, or probiotics, which later turn into the healthy bacteria that make yogurt just that: yogurt. She explains further saying:

“Probiotics are living microscopic organisms, or microorganisms, that scientific research has shown to benefit your health. Most often they are bacteria. Because there are good and bad bacteria for your body, we hope to showcase the benefits of digesting good probiotics into your body.”

Doni also explains that probiotics are fairly simple to understand: Yogurt has three helpful bacteria that aid in digestion and Kefir has 12 helpful bacteria that encourage intestinal health. “So when you consume a yogurt or Kefir product, you are getting a total body health supplement.”

With 25 years of experience in natural food processing, along with raising her children on natural foods, Doni takes special care in every aspect of Happy Heifer. She sources her milk from the only local dairy in Hawaii on the Big Island and then uses age-old methods to hand-churn the milk in small batches saying:

“The most unique thing about our yogurt is that we hand-make and hand-blend everything just like the olden days! We make everything fresh by batch and don’t rush the processing time to meet commercial demand.”

Happy Heifer also customizes their yogurt to meet their customers’ needs using soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. And they now occasionally offer small batches of Kefir and Kombucha, both of which contain probiotics. They will be expanding into non-edible products as well, like their new “HI drate” skin creams using all natural, locally sourced ingredients, and offering workshops on custom-blending with natural fragrance oils.

In addition to hand-farming her probiotics, Doni has an exceptionally big heart for her local community. She not only educates the public on the benefits of health and nutrition through the use of probiotics, but also shares the message of “churning the local economy.” She does this by helping women who have been previously incarcerated, were sex slaves or survivors of abuse. Doni says, “My passion is aiding domestic violence survivors since I share my own personal triumph and recovery.”

Happy Heifer Yogurt can be found at the HMSA Farmer’s Market and at their own location in a cozy and quaint plantation house nestled under 100-year-old Banyan trees on Kaneohe Bay. The house was built in 1927 by Dr. Theodore Richards who purchased the nine acres fronting the water. Happy Heifer is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. selling their yogurt and a small offering of a Farmer’s Breakfast. Be sure to relax on the wraparound porch that offers stunning views of the mountains and the bay.


Tumeric (Curcuma longa)

This semi-wild ginger was one of 22 principal plants introduced by early Polynesian culture. It is also known by its Hawaiian name, ‘Olena.

It was grown for its spicy yellow underground stems or roots. The leaf stalks come up in the spring, the yellow and white flowers bloom, then the plant dies down until the fall and winter.

In old Hawai‘i, the pounded root was mixed with seawater in a calabash (bowl) and the solution sprinkled in places where there was a need to remove the restrictions of a kapu restriction. The juice from the crushed root was dropped in to the ear to relieve earache, or into the nostrils for sinusitis. Kapa dyes were obtained from the raw root (yellow) and cooked or steamed root (deep orange).

‘Olena has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. While it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color.
New plants grow readily from sprouting roots. Today ‘Olena is enjoying a renaissance of being added raw to smoothies and salad dressings said to relieve inflammation.

DIY: Homemade Butter


Photos by Monica Schwartz
One of the easiest things to make is your own butter. It becomes even more exciting when you add any number of flavors and added ingredients to make delicious spreads. The recipe below can be varied in countless ways. You can make plain butter from organic cream, or you can add lavender, lemon peel, vanilla, spices like cardamom, cinnamon, or sage, rosemary, thyme, jams, honey, etc. The combinations are endless, and with a base recipe, you can explore them all.
Servings: 6 Cups


  • Blender or Hand Whisk or Mason Jar
  • Cheese Cloth


  • 12 Cups Unsweetened Cream (Will yield half the amount in butter)
  • Optional ingredients may include salt and any variety of herbs. (Have fun with it!)


  • Blend. You can use a blender, hand whisk, or mason jar to blend, whisk or shake. Do so until the liquid separates from the fat.
  • Using a cheesecloth, squeeze as much water from the butter as you can. Rinse the butter with fresh cold water until it runs clear.
  • Add salt and herbs as desired, and mix by hand. You can press the butter into any type of mold you would like.
  • Refrigerate until needed. Butter will keep fresh for up to two weeks.
  • Enjoy!

A Pastry Chef’s Dream

Words by Melissa Chang
Photography by Melissa Chang & Jamie Takaki

When Michelle Karr Ueoka was in high school, she wasn’t thinking about becoming an award-winning pastry chef: She was on the Hawaii golf team, making a name for herself in the golf circuit.

She wasn’t even thinking about it when she got to the University of Hawaii, when she was majoring in Travel Industry Management. But one day, it clicked.

“I was doing an externship at Alan Wong’s, and he asked me if I knew how to cook. I said no, and he thought I was being humble … but I didn’t know how to hold a knife correctly or turn on a pilot light,” she said. “I always enjoyed cooking with my grandmother, even though I didn’t cook. Working there inspired me to learn to be a chef.”

She headed to the Culinary Institute of America, using money she had saved from waitressing at Planet Hollywood Waikiki to pay for her tuition. While there, she decided to apply for a coveted externship at The French Laundry, and sent owner/chef Thomas Keller a toothbrush and a letter saying she would do anything for the opportunity, even scrub toilets with a toothbrush.

She got the externship, of course, and was at The French Laundry for two years until she graduated from the CIA in 2000. She came home to again work for Alan Wong, this time as a chef. (This is also where she met her husband, Wade Ueoka, the chef de cuisine.) Although Alan wanted her to work in savory, she was adamant that she become a pastry chef.

“I had to put myself on the path to my dream,” she said.

For Ueoka, the years of training in savory laid the fundamentals of cooking out for her so she could create the sweet.

“You need to understand how to make the basics first, or you can’t get creative,” Ueoka explained. “For example, there are so many custards … but if you don’t know how to make it, you can’t recreate it. What happens if you add coffee? Or coconut? You have to make a good custard before you can experiment with flavors.”

Ueoka became the first woman from Hawaii to be nominated for a James Beard Award — and being so humble, she had no idea she had been nominated, or that she was the first woman.

The day the nominations came out, her East Coast friends were texting her congratulations and she didn’t know what for. One friend called her to tell her she had been nominated, and she thought he was joking— so she hung up on him. She later apologized when he sent her a picture and a link.

“In my wildest dreams, I would never have thought I would have gotten the nomination. The other James Beard categories are separated by region. Pastry nominations cover the entire U.S.,” she explained. “It was truly an honor and great to share with the team.”

She’s been busy with husband Wade at their self-named MW Restaurant, which opened in October 2013. It’s been a learning experience for them in business and in cooking, and they’re moving forward with a new private dining room adjacent to the venue, as well as offering wine dinners, cooking demos and more.

“You gotta dream big,” Ueoka said, with a big smile. “It’s a journey. We’re striving for excellence, and looking to make things even better.”

Culinary Ink: Collin Darrell

Collin Darrell was only nine years old when he started washing dishes at a local farmer’s market in Philadelphia. (He wanted a new bicycle and wound up making enough money to buy two cars.) From there, he got a job working at a pizza shop— first as a dishwasher, then a pizza maker— and then opened a coffee kiosk at a train station. And he was still in high school. “I think what it did was show me the possibilities,” says Darrell, now 31 and creative director of Grow Culture, a Kaua‘i-based company that links chefs and farmers through innovative events. “I knew the experience was what you made of it.” It wasn’t until he was attending The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College and running a promotion company that he got interested in wine. He took a wine class taught by a passionate master sommelier, then worked for veteran sommelier Michael McCauley at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Philadelphia. “I had this incredibly door-opening experience,” he says. After a stint at James on 8th, he took a job as general manager and sommelier at the now-defunct Cassis by Chef Mavro in downtown Honolulu, learning from Mavrothalassitis about the art of food and beverage pairing. He continues to do this with the pop-up dinners he organizes on Kaua‘i. “The synergy between food and beverages at restaurants are few and far between,” he says. “I really believe in this.”

What is your tattoo?

Darrell has a full sleeve on his right arm of various corkscrews and leaves of Nebbiolo, a red Italian grape variety predominated associated with the Piedmont region.


When did you get it?

He got his first tattoo in 2010 and continues to add to it. He estimates he’s spent at least 25 hours in the chair already.

What was the inspiration?

Darrell chose Nebbiolo grapes because he appreciated the fact that they were so region-specific. “That sense of place was important to me,” he says. And he picked corkscrews because it represented his love for wine and food pairings and it was a symbol of a technological advancement in the industry that’s around now but may not be later. “Plus, they’re beautiful, mechanical devices,” he says. “I wanted something that shows more artisanship and personality. It’s a tool of my trade, the way chefs have knives. It’s the kind of thing you keep in your pocket all the time. It’s really my tool.”

Culinary Ink: Ed Morita

Ed Morita’s career path wasn’t fondant smooth. After graduating from the culinary program at Kapi‘olani Community College 10 years ago, he spent several years working as a pastry chef on the Mainland before returning home in 2007. He did some consulting work before landing a pastry chef position at Longhi’s Restaurant at Ala Moana Center. Then, two years into it, he crushed his right hand in one of the machines. That injury nearly ended his culinary career. But a year ago— after years of rehab, physical therapy and a lot of surgeries— he was named pastry chef at the newly opened Highway Inn in Kaka‘ako. Despite some limitations — he suffered nerve damage— Morita, now 36, has been able to juggle both baking and blogging. And his life has never been better.

What is your tattoo?

On Morita’s inner right forearm are the words, “Match Tough.” Beneath it is the kanji character for “sacrifice.”


When did you get it?

Morita got “Match Tough” in 2001. He had just moved to West Virginia to work at The Greenbriar.

What was the inspiration?

Morita wanted to remember what his mentor, Ernst Hiltbrand, had told him back when he was one of his apprentices at KCC. He told Morita that since he was such a talented baker, he wouldn’t be allowed to bake bread in that first year. “He wanted to make me, ‘match tough,’ which meant a pastry chef doesn’t just bake bread or decorate cakes,” Morita explains. “He had to do everything in the kitchen.”

Culinary Ink: Jeff Scheer

Jeff Scheer moved to Maui 10 years ago after seeing a video his cousin put together of his three years living on the island. “I watched it and said to myself, ‘That looks insane. I gotta check that out,’” he says. “So I got on a plane and was here. I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t know how long I was going to stay, I just came and never left.” A couple of years after moving, Scheer, 33, started Maui Executive Catering, utilizing the fresh ingredients grown on Maui.

What is your tattoo?

He has an artichoke on his left forearm and a lilikoi vine right above it, snaking up his arm, across part of his chest, over his shoulder and down his back.


When did you get it?

Scheer got the artichoke tattoo two years ago and the lilikoi vine six months ago, both done at Pāʻia Tattoo Parlor.

What was the inspiration?

Growing up in Athens, Ohio, Scheer ate artichokes at every special occasion. His grandmother liked to serve it simply steamed with a homemade hollandaise sauce. “It reminds me of something we always had at the dinner table growing up,” he says. “It was always a race to get to the heart!” For his catering business, he works with two farms, both in upcountry Maui about 3,500 feet above sea level, which grow artichokes. “When you’re on the farm, surrounded by artichokes, it fills you with this sort of peacefulness and all your stress goes away,” he says. “There is no noise except for the bees buzzing, and the views are amazing.” He added the lilikoi vine six months ago because he loves its beauty and flavor. “The flavor is so unbelievably intense,” he says. “And when balanced with sweet and spicy things, the opportunities are endless.”

Culinary Ink: Ed Kenney

Ed Kenney’s culinary philosophy is written all over his body — literally. On his left bicep is a small, black snail — the logo for the Slow Food movement. And on his forearm is an old sailor-style tattoo of a taro plant with a banner across it that reads, “Aloha ʻĀina.” Both represent the kind of food Kenney, chef/owner of town and Kaimukī Superette, strives to prepare and serve in his kitchens. “‘Aloha ʻĀina’ is love of the land,” says Kenney, 46. “Or, another way to look at it, the love of that which provides us food.”

What is your tattoo?

On his left bicep is a small, black snail, the logo on the back cover of the influential 2007 book, “Slow Food Nation,” by Carlo Petrini. (The actual movement started back in the ‘80s.)

When did you get it?

Kenney got this tattoo six years ago by close friend Gemma Hazen, now his bookkeeper and director of special projects. They were in culinary school together at Kapi‘olani Community College and opened town together. (He was the chef/owner, she was the morning barista.)

What was the inspiration?

In a nutshell, Slow Food is a global movement founded to counter the rise of fast food, promoting, instead, traditional and regional cuisines and a stronger commitment to the community and environment. This resonates with the way Kenney, who served as the Hawai‘i delegate to the movement’s international conference in 2006, cooks his food and runs his restaurants. (His mantra has long been, “Local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always.”) “It’s really about reconnecting people to the food they eat and those they eat with,” Kenney says. “It’s about promoting good, clean and fair food. It’s the same thing we have in Hawaiian — ‘ai pono. That’s what it means to me.”


Crispy Chicken Skin Bacon BLT


Photography by Mieko Horikoshi
A great flavor change-up for your BLT sandwich! You can make it like a traditional BLT or the way I like to— on rye toast with our Ho Farm pickled Gherkin relish and caramelized Kula onion aioli.
Course: Main Course
Author: Chef Kevin Hanney


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Two Sheet Pans
  • Parchment Paper



  • 3 Tbs. Real Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tbs. Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 Clove Garlic (Thinly Sliced)
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

Chicken Skin Bacon

  • 12 Chicken Skins
  • Salt (To Taste)
  • Pepper (To Taste)


Prepare Glaze.

  • Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl. Let stand refrigerated for 1-2 hours

Prepare Chicken Skin Bacon.

  • Preheat oven to 325. Place chicken skins flat on parchment paper on a sheet pan. Brush both sides lightly with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Place parchment paper on top and then another sheet pan.
  • Place in oven for approximately 45 minutes. Remove the top sheet pan and parchment paper and baste with glaze. Leave uncovered and bake for another 10-15 minutes more. Remove and cool.
  • Construct sandwich to your liking and enjoy!

Fried Kole


Photography by Mieko Hoffman
Course: Main Course
Author: Sheldon Simeon


  • Wok


  • Kole Fish (Scaled, Cleaned, Pat Dry)
  • Hawaiian Salt (As Needed)
  • Canola Oil (As Needed)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Hawaiian Chili Pepper


  • Fill wok with enough canola oil to deep-fry Kole. Fry the Kole over medium heat; while fish is frying, season with Hawaiian salt. Cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes on the first side.
  • When the first side is cooked, flip and season other the side with Hawaiian salt. Continue to cook the other side for 3 minutes. When fish is thoroughly crispy and golden, remove and set it on a plate lined with paper towels, allow oil to drain.
  • Mix soy sauce and Hawaiian chili pepper in a bowl, and use as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!