Category: Winter 2015

Mushroom “Chicharrónes”



Photography by Dania Katz
Course: Appetizer
Author: Chef Isaac Bancacco


  • Large Saucepot
  • Fine Mesh Sieve
  • Blender
  • Sheet Tray
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Rolling Pin
  • Steamer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Large Pot


  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Carrot (Large Dice)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Large Dice)
  • 1 Medium Leek (Halved, Rinsed, Sliced Crosswise Into 1-inch Pieces - White Part Only)
  • 2 lbs. Medium Button Mushrooms (Stems Trimmed And Quartered)
  • 6 Thyme Sprigs
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1.5 Quarts Water
  • 7 oz. Tapioca Flour


Prepare Mushroom Stock.

  • Heat oil in a large saucepot over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and leek and cook stirring occasionally until softened, about 8 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until mushrooms start to release moisture, about 4 minutes.
  • Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until stock has a pronounced mushroom flavor, about 1 hour. Pick out thyme sprigs and bay leaf, blend then place back on the heat.
  • After stock comes back to a boil, remove from heat and strain through fine-mesh sieve. Reserve stock and pulp.

Prepare Chicharrón.

  • In the blender add tapioca flour, 7 ½ oz cooked mushrooms, and ¾ oz. of mushroom stock, blend until a smooth dough forms.
  •  Place 1 lb. of mixture on a sheet tray with plastic wrap, with another on top. Flatten with a rolling pin till about 1/8-inch thick (3 mm). The dough should be nearly translucent.
  • Prepare a steamer. Steam the dough sheets, still wrapped in plastic, for about 15 minutes. Steaming will let the starch set so it is workable.
  • Unwrap steamed dough, and place on parchment paper. Place pan in the oven and let bake for 60 minutes, or until dough is dry and brittle. Flip the dough sheets occasionally to allow even drying. Once the dough is completely dry and brittle, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, break into desired bite-size pieces. (Note: Chicharrónes will triple in size when fried.)
  • In a large pot, fill with oil and set over medium and bring to 355° F. Working in batches, fry crisps until they are fully puffed. Let oil drain on a paper towel and season with salt.
  • To get extra fancy, paint with tempered dark chocolate and serve as hors d’oeuvres.

Ilocano Cow Skin

Recipe by Chef Sheldon Simeon
Photography by Mieko Horikoshi


2 lbs. cow skin, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 thumb-size pc. ginger root, crushed
½ C. apple cider vinegar
1 Kula onion, julienned
3 thumb-sized pcs. ginger root, peeled and chopped finely
1 Hawaiian chili pepper, chopped
salt and pepper

Place cow skin in a medium-sized sauce pan, pour in water to cover the pieces of cow skin, bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and discard boiling water.

Rinse cow skin with cool water to rid the scum and return to sauce pan. Add in fresh water up to about 2 inches over the cow skins. Add in crushed ginger and bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the cow skins are tender and chewable but not overly soft. Add more water as necessary. Drain boiling liquid and allow cow skin to cool.

Cut cow skin into thin slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Add vinegar, finely chopped ginger, onion and chili and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Behind The Cover Winter 2015

Each issue’s cover shot is such an important piece of the edible puzzle. It’s our team’s way of inviting new friends to the table and to those returning to share their stories. I love to know who our readers are and why they are a part of the edible family.

For this “EAT” themed issue, my editor really had me step out of my comfort zone by challenging me to delve deep into a sense of intimacy. The concept of pairing intimacy with food could not have been better epitomized than by the image of Chef Jeff Sheer, taken by the talented Meiko Horikoshi. In just one moment, all of the team’s contributions of words and images came together in raw form – and Jeff was such a good sport, allowing me to use this visual of his bare chest exhibiting a gorgeous lilikoi tattoo as the cover shot.

An intimate photograph for an intimate issue, the image signals all of the featured flavors of this innovative issue: Raw, intimate, skin, and pleasure. One of my greatest pleasures is to bring pleasure to the lives of those around me. For me, food is that connection. This issue is my way of tapping into the many other connections that food can create within my Hawaiʻi community.

Please enjoy.

Celebrating 25 Years Of Slow Food

By Tove Danovich
Photography by Alexa Van de Walle

A Conversation with Alice Waters and Carlo Petrini

It was the food movement’s version of a Fleetwood Mac concert: a question-and-answer session with Slow Food’s founder Carlo Petrini and its international vice president, Alice Waters of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse. They’d come from warmer coasts—Italy and California—in honor of Slow Food’s 25th anniversary.

The backyard of Roberta’s, the Brooklyn restaurant where the event was held, was a sea of pizza boxes and checkered picnic blankets. Whatever total capacity was for the outdoor space, it had been reached. Most of the audience were in that 20s-to-30s age group who had never really lived in a world without the influence of Alice Waters or Slow Food (Chez Panisse was founded in 1971 and Slow Food in 1989).

Though in the last decade we’ve witnessed local eating become trendy and urban farming a viable business model, the situation in the United States at the time of Slow Food’s founding was a bit of a culinary wasteland. There’s a good chance your neighborhood farmers’ market didn’t exist. Agricultural biodiversity had nothing to do with heirloom or traditional foods; it was the choice between red, green and yellow apples.

It took the combination of many voices to get us to today’s culinary landscape, and Alice Waters and Carlo Petrini were among the first to lead us there. Petrini planted the seeds of what would become the international Slow Food movement when he protested a McDonald’s opening on the Spanish Steps in Rome. For Waters, it was taste and a trip to France that led her to a lifetime of championing fresh, local foods.

Although in different countries and at different times, they were on the same page. Since 2002, Waters has served as vice president of Slow Food International, solidifying the ideological connection between her work and Petrini’s.

Carlo Petrini spoke in Italian throughout. “Not speaking English is also an example of biodiversity,” he said, getting a laugh from the audience. Though Petrini had a translator on hand, Patrick Martins of Heritage Foods USA did the official translation for the event.

If Petrini’s answers to the moderator’s questions felt like speeches, it may have had something to do with the audience hearing his appeals in Italian first. In a particularly evocative moment, he spoke of what it would be like to describe our current food system (“a criminal food system”) to his grandparents: “Do you know we live in a society where people spend more to get thin than to be fat, to nourish ourselves?”

That’s just the first of many problems Petrini and Waters continue to address when it comes to food. The difficulties seem endless—dwindling biodiversity, water scarcity looming on the horizon, land grabs — and though groups work tirelessly to combat them, it’s an uphill battle. Instilling Slow Food values, a phrase both Waters and Petrini mentioned multiple times, is central to this work.

“When you edibly educate kids,” Waters says, “they have a different set of values when they grow up.”

In a perfect world, Waters would love to see this form of education in every public school, “middle school kids, when they’re in the garden, don’t feel like they’re in school.” She would love to see children get school credit for eating well and be taught to cook with the seasons—ideally with locally and sustainably produced food. Nowadays, though, students lucky enough to have a garden or cooking program have classes slotted in as extracurricular enrichment. But food, Waters believes, is central to a real education. “They aren’t kitchen or garden classes; they’re courses in the lab of the garden and in the lab of the kitchen,” she says.

Though Petrini’s vision of educating new generations focuses more on the family—traditions and knowledge passed down from grandparents to grandchildren—he stands firmly beside Waters’ convictions.

“Alice seems all passive and tranquil but she is a force of nature,” he says. Farmers’ markets did not exist on the scale that they do now when he met her. Today a resurgence of markets in the United States and Europe has led to these events being known not in their native tongues but under the Americanized label of “farmers’ markets.”

It’s fascinating that the United States has become such a mecca for the food movement—and maybe it’s because we only had room to improve after exporting fast-food culture. In the last 20 years, Petrini had seen “unbelievably good things” coming from this country. He recalled there being only two kinds of beer when he first came to the United States. Now microbreweries spring up faster than a litter of rabbits. Organics and school gardens are proliferating. Where once generic cheddar, Kraft singles or Velveeta were the norm, domestic artisanal cheeses have come into their own.

“You were eating all these delicious microbes out of Europe and killing the same microbes here in the States,” Petrini says. Not any longer.

Because one of the most important changes is that events like the Carlo Petrini and Alice Waters talk exist at all. Though Slow Food certainly paved the way for creating a community around food, there are now scores of events and organizations devoted to eating carefully sprinkled throughout the United States. Even in New York City, people are doing their best to connect to their food. When Petrini asked how many attendees had gardens, roughly half the audience at Roberta’s raised their hands.

“I wasn’t looking for food, I was looking for taste,” Waters said of her own journey into the food movement. “I was looking for taste and then I found the farmers.”

Her reflection goes to show that not everyone falls into food advocacy for the same reasons or knows how far it will take us. Yet here we all are. And largely thanks to Petrini and Waters’ leadership, change has happened, is happening, and will continue to move forward for another 25 years and beyond.
For a recording of the interview, go to

Tove Danovich is the Founding Editor of Food Politic: Journal of Food News and Culture. Her work has been published in Modern Farmer, Miracle of Feeding Cities, Civil Eats, and others. She is currently working on a book about animal agriculture, sustainable farming, and vegetarianism.

The Chef Bloc

By Vanessa Wolf
Photography by Pacific Potography & Mieko Horikoshi

Monthly culinary collaboration for taking Hawai‘i’s cuisine to another level.

On a misty October morning on Maui, two dozen culinary professionals and enthusiasts gathered at Haiku’s Mālama Farms. The assembled group looked on with a combination of interest, excitement and— in some cases— horror.


The occasion? The dispatch and processing of ten Muscovy ducks to be used in the creation of Ka‘ana Kitchen’s Chef Isaac Bancaco’s first-ever Chef Bloc series dinner.

This statewide collaboration of chefs, sommeliers and mixologists will happen once a month at Andaz Maui in Wailea. Dinners are limited to a dozen participants and the meals focus on quality, artisanship and creativity.

“The vision involves bringing the industry together in a format where they can go ‘all out’ without volume, cost or staffing parameters,” explained Bancaco. “Moreover, from that platform we hope to provide an experience that inspires locals and visitors alike.”

Held in Ka‘ana Kitchen’s intimate Andaz Salon, the Chef Bloc series is likely to wow even the most jaded farm-to-table aficionados.


For the opening dinner in November 2014, Bancaco was joined by chefs Jeff Scheer of Maui Executive Catering and Sheldon Simeon of Migrant Maui.

Each were furnished with three ducks and encouraged to let their creativity run wild. The resulting nine-course meal featured such dishes as Duck Neck with Li Hing Mui and Shiso (Simeon) and Cured Duck Breast with Kupa‘a Roots (Scheer). It’s safe to say they lived up to— if not exceeded— expectations.

Even dessert got the Muscovy treatment with Foie and Chocolate Pots De Crème accompanied by a “Butterfinger” made from duck fat (Bancaco).

The intimate dinners are limited to a dozen guests in order to allow an interactive environment where diners can watch the process, ask questions, and even help plate the dishes.


“How often do you get to enjoy a meal prepared by two or three of your favorite restaurants and have an active role in the food preparation itself?” Bancaco enthused.

The diners aren’t the only ones benefitting.

“It’s about collaboration,” he continued. “How do we make Maui’s – and all of Hawai‘i’s – cuisine the best we can? We are involving chefs who share similar food philosophies and when we come together to create these meals, we learn from one another. My hope is that statewide we start bouncing ideas back and forth and ultimately, as a result, Hawai‘i is going to enjoy better cuisine.”


Although born and raised in the upcountry Maui town of Kula, Chef Bancaco did not grow up cooking.

Rather, one of his most poignant culinary epiphanies occurred at the hands of renowned Hawaiian chef Sam Choy.

“My grandmother would take me on what amounted to grandma and grandson dates,” Bancaco chuckled. “I was in high school when she took me to Sam Choy’s in Oahu. I don’t remember exactly what I had, but I remember walking out of the restaurant and thinking, ‘It would be really cool if I could learn how to recreate those dishes and that experience.’ It opened my mind to the idea that not only can you sit down in a restaurant and have wonderful food, but you can have a great interaction with a server and an elevated experience overall.”

Travel has also had a significant influence on the chef and his culinary journey.
“Around my junior year of high school I went on a trip to Japan to play baseball. While there, I stayed with one of the players and his parents owned what amounted to a bed and breakfast. The mother would cook lunch and dinner every day, and as a result I was exposed to traditional Japanese food for the first time.”


Growing up in Hawai‘i, Bancaco had been exposed to elements of Japanese cuisine, but hadn’t realized it.

“I’m five different ethinicities, but when I was a kid I didn’t know kimchi was Korean per se. Similarly, I had no idea musubi was Japanese-influenced and I certainly didn’t realize where all the components of a plate lunch came from.
Travel brought some definition to my childhood and gave context to what I’d been eating.”

This multicultural awareness can be found in Bancaco’s cuisine.

At the inaugural Chef Bloc dinner, one of his dishes presented a deconstructed Peking duck. Featuring orange peel, duck heart and shavings of aged pa’i’ai (the thick, mochi-like precursor to poi), no one can accuse the chef of playing it safe.
Similarly, his foie malasada with lilikoi sugar found the familiar Portuguese donut loaded with unexpected flavor profiles.

Moreover, Bancaco does not plan to limit upcoming Chef Bloc events to those associated with fine dining. Glancing at the 2015 schedule, everyone from food truck virtuosos to plate lunch wizards make the cut.

Although the resulting menus are likely to be as varied as the invited chefs themselves, locally sourced products will remain a feature of upcoming Chef Bloc dinners.

Future themes promise a focus on lamb, fish and even foraged products.
But will there be more first-hand bloodshed?

Perhaps, although it turns out the trip to Mālama Farms was technically an afterthought.

“We had heard of ducks being raised on Maui, specifically in Haiku,” Bancaco explained. “Initially, I was going to have them processed and just be done with it, but it occurred to me that many chefs don’t really understand where the food comes from.”

Originally limited to culinary staff, word of the field trip spread to other Andaz employees and resulted in a group of 23 participants.

“It was all about increasing the understanding of the full progression: to see the ducks alive and well and healthy and then, well, going through the procedures of processing them.

“Wasting food is a huge problem in America. Opportunities like this help us remember that what’s on your plate was once living, which in turn helps us develop a true appreciation – and a true commitment – to the food itself.”

Held the second Saturday of every month in Andaz Maui’s Ka‘ana Kitchen, getting on the waitlist for future Chef Bloc dinners is as easy as contacting the resort.

Praise The Lard

By Jon Letman

Hawai‘i’s chefs turn back the clock

Dietary trends can be such fickle creatures. Yesterday’s celebrated eats (comfort food, the paleo diet, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) may well be tomorrow’s culinary villain. In the modern kitchen what you grew up eating because you were told it was good for you may later be proven to be, in fact, just the opposite.

Now halfway through the 2010s, it’s clear one unlikely ingredient that has for decades been relegated to the fringes of popular cooking is making a comeback: the utterly unpretentious pig fat we call lard.

For hundreds of years lard was the cooking lipid of choice. Until the early 20th century Americans used lard the way most of us use butter, processed shortening or vegetable oils today. In the 1870s a relatively new soap and candle firm, Procter & Gamble, was also producing a food it called “family lard.”

But shortly after P&G introduced a new product called Crisco® in 1911, lard began its long descent into the culinary backwaters. As reported by NPR’s Planet Money in 2012, lard didn’t just fade away, it was effectively pushed out the door as processed food manufacturers promoted hydrogenated vegetable shortening as a “better” alternative to lard.

Before long lard was not only sidelined, but redefined as something just plain gross. The name alone—lard—became a term of abuse, and a rather bad one at that. These days, however, lard is increasingly seen in a new light and more than a few of Hawai‘i’s chefs are embracing it (ahem) whole hog.

In Honolulu, chef and restaurateur Ed Kenney believes in lard. He buys at least 50 swine a year (hybrids like Yorkshire-landrace and Berkshire/kurobuta hogs) from Shinsato Farm on windward O‘ahu. An ardent local supporter of local ag, Kenney says lard has gotten a bum rap. He points out the irony of how, in the pursuit of low-fat diets, people have spurned lard, only to later learn that artificial alternatives are no better, and may be worse, than natural fats.

Lard — simply rendered pig fat — is around 40 percent saturated fat and just over 50 percent unsaturated fat. Its appearance is pure white and it comes in several forms: the thick, white opaque backfat (or ‘fatback’), a hind leg fat and the leaf lard which is a drier fat taken from around the pig’s belly.

Kenney renders lard in a pot on a stove using a small amount of water over low heat. After straining the lard, he Vacu-Seals it in half-pound blocks which he sells at his Kaimuki Superette. He says his leaf lard “flies off the shelves” as more customers become familiar with the product.

For Kenney, cooking with lard is about staying true to local, natural ingredients when he makes luganica, sanguinaccio and wild boar sausages. Rather than dismissing pig fat, Kenney exclaims, “praise the lard!”

On Maui, Chris Kulis, chef de cuisine at Capische? at Hotel Wailea buys around ten hogs a year from Mālama Farm in Ha‘iku. He prizes lard for making his salami and sausages more flavorful and because it doesn’t melt away. Rendered lightly, it makes for a savory internal garnish in blood sausage and, treated with salt, sugar, herbs, Kulis cures it into lardo which can be sliced and eaten with sweet and spicy foods.

Having first tried lardo with walnuts and honey in Italy, Kulis has done the same in Hawai‘i, using macadamia nuts, pairing it with honey or guava mustard. Before searing lean white fish like onaga and opaka, Kulis wraps the filets in paper-thin sheets of lardo for a crispy texture outside and deep flavor inside.

He reminds us that the fat from a pig, which is what lard is, makes imu-cooked pork so flavorful, tender and moist.

If you want to incorporate lard into your own kitchen, Kulis suggests using it to season a pasta dish instead of pancetta or guanciale.

“People shouldn’t be scared of lard. It’s just a seasoning… another way to cook.”

Lotions & Potions

By Fern Gavelek
Photography by Mieko Horikoshi

Made-in-Hawai‘i skin care products boast ingredients from near and far. The use of some, like ‘alaea (iron-oxide red clay), are steeped in the practices of the traditional Hawaiian physician, the kahuna la‘au lapa‘au. Others are botanicals and products known for their healing and fragrant attributes, often grown in the islands or imported from around the world.

Coldwater Tea Farm

By way of Japan, a Minnesota native is growing tea, milking goats and creating soap on the North end of Kaua‘i. Michelle Rose combines her 100 percent estate-grown tea, goat milk and carefully sourced ingredients to fashion bars of creamy White Tea-Infused Goat Milk Soap.

Michelle got introduced to the world of tea as a food science college student studying in Japan. “I was enveloped in it,” she describes. Tea filled the fields around her—and she got to drink lots of it.

After visiting Hawai‘i, Michelle “made a promise” she’d live here. With a lifelong passion for agriculture, she came to Kaua‘i in 1998 and bought a 10-acre parcel so dense with vegetation that she couldn’t walk through it. Michelle harvested Cloudwater Farm’s first commercial tea in 2009— producing 5 percent of the state’s crop.

It was serendipity that got Michelle into soap making. She was gifted with a goat—she now has a herd of 27—and enjoyed using a friend’s homemade goat milk soap. With the encouragement of her husband, Michelle went into the soap making business.

“I wanted to make an honest bar of soap with the highest quality ingredients,” shares the Midwestern native.

The oils and butters used in Cloudwater Tea Farm’s soaps are chosen “from growers with integrity.” Her current formulation includes cold-pressed sunflower oil from Minnesota, coconut oil and cocoa butter from the Philippines, sweet almond oil from Italy, shea butter from Africa and kukui nut oil from Indonesia.

“This soap is food for your skin,” Michelle emphasizes. “The tea has a cleansing quality and the other ingredients maintain your skin mantle.” An imperceptible viscous fluid, the skin’s acid mantle maintains and protects skin’s overall health.

Michelle has used bamboo charcoal—she grows bamboo, too—to add a decorative element to the soap but it’s basically available in unscented and lavender-scented. Order online and find a list of retailers at

Queen Bee Productions


Queen Bee Productions of Maui combines honey with the medicinal value of herbs to create body products. At the helm are two gals who rely on the benefits of wild-crafted honey: Tiare Rietow, herbalist and Kether Quinlan, aesthetician/beekeeper.

Certified by the California School of Herbal Studies, Rietow harvests and dries the herbs used in QB products. Quinlan is a graduate of Spa Luna Holistic Aesthetics School and is a licensed holistic aesthetician on Maui. A beekeeper-in-training, Kether also has a background in growing plants and herbs.

“At Queen Bee we believe less is more and to keep it simple by pulling nature into skin care,” shares Quinlan.

The Maui residents formulate all their products using raw honey, beeswax and other organic ingredients; no synthetic fillers, parabens or petroleums are used.

Honey, which is naturally antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and has antibiotic properties, is at the heart of Queen Bee’s line of cleansers, body butters, oils, exfoliants and scrubs. The company operates an apiary to produce a third of its own liquid gold and purchases the rest from other Maui beekeepers. Green papaya powder, noni, lokelani rose petals, lavender, lemon balm and chamomile are also found on-island.

Other ingredients are obtained from Mainland distributors, like the alkanet root, which is used to naturally tint the Cherry Bomb lip balm a pretty magenta hue. The popular rose varieties of creams, cleansers and toners are crafted using authentic Bulgarian rose otto—the oil is the essence of rose and has the plant’s soothing and healing capabilities. Client testimonials at rave about the fragrance and effectiveness of the rose products.

“Rose is so soothing and healing,” notes Quinlan, who adds the bloom is good for the heart—both physically and emotionally. “It constricts the skin’s capillaries to keep down redness and helps with hot flashes.”

Kona Natural Soap Company


Created on the leeward mountain slopes of Hualalai on the Big Island, Kona Natural Soap blends natural oils and exfoliants with essential oils and filtered Hawaiian rainwater to create individually hand-cut bars. Local ingredients like cacao, coffee and kukui nut oil are used; there are no artificial or synthetic materials.

“Or philosophy is simple,” states co-owner Greg Colden. “We create the best quality product with reasonable cost considerations and make certain customers feel our soaps are a necessary indulgence.”

Kona Natural Soap is the result of a dozen years of research that started with instruction by California soap maker and environmentalist Alyson Kipplinger. After learning the importance of using aromatherapy grade essential oils, Greg delved into the properties of fatty acids and vegan oils to find sustainable ingredients that are best for the body.

“After attempting to procure oils that had a smaller carbon footprint, we found an expeller who sells us first-pressed extra virgin olive oil; it makes a creamier, natural glycerin soap as the oil is denser,” details Colden. He says experimenting with farm- grown products has enabled Kona Natural to understand “what makes us unique.”

Farm finds include coffee, which is grown on site at Kokoleka Lani Farms and added to the exfoliant soaps, along with cacao— the chocolate bean— and lime and Calamondin seeds.

Colden and partner Marty Corrigan craft their soaps in a customized, solar-powered facility. There are nearly 25 different varieties—each sports its own hue and Hawaiian name. Po Hau, Greg’s fave, boasts the essence of rosemary, an antiseptic, and wintergreen, a coagulant. Marty likes to wake up to a scrub using Luakaha, as it contains invigorating orange and lemongrass. Find all the choices, with pictures, at


Eat The Skin; It’s Where The Flavor Is!

Words by Wanda A. Adams
Photography by Mieko Horikoshi

Two culinary generations ago, the speaker was chef Paul Prudhomme, not yet a then household name — just a visitor giving a cooking demonstration at the original Sur La Table in the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Both Prudhomme and Sur La Table would become nationally known brands for the then-new “foodie” tribe.

Prudhomme was teaching us to make a skin-on cut of pork fried in pork fat, then braised. When he called for questions, I innocently asked “But chef, why can’t you make these dishes without all the fat?”

The room went still. “But, cher,” he said, “that’s where the flavor is!”

In that era of skinless, boneless chicken breast and pork that had no fat or flavor whatsoever (“the other white meat”), he had put his finger right on it.

When I was a child on Maui, my favorite thing about my Grandma’s Portuguese bean soup was gnawing on the knobby, impossibly rich ham hock that absorbed and encapsulated all the ingredients in the mixture.

For that all-important fat, Prudhomme explained, you need skin. Almost every form of animal protein (except for wild game) is outfitted with a layer of fat under the skin.

Today, chefs have rediscovered this in ways that make the most of the least. Their dishes aren’t drowning in grease. They’re using techniques from braising to broiling to melt away fat but concentrate flavors in those enticing, crisp and yet soft outer layers.

Edible Hawaiian Islands talked to a number of nutritionists who, although they admitted that fat is needed to metabolize certain important nutrients, invariably ended by saying “Moderation in all things.”

Avoid mass-produced fast food, learn how to fry (temperature is an all-important key because deep-frying actually seals the food and keeps the fat out). Occasionally indulge in a few tablespoons of chopped bacon or fish skin scattered over fresh, local vegetables and whole grains. Delectable, and you’ll want to eat things that are good for you.

My view of Brussels sprouts, for example, changed when I learned to core them like tiny little cabbages, toss the leaves in a wok together with bits of salt pork, herbs, onions and a good grind of black pepper.

Many cultures treasure dishes involving skin: Japanese deep-fry scaled salmon skin or that of other fish to become a sort of condiment or snack (perfect with beer). Filipinos have lechon (roast suckling pig brined in a sugar/salt/water mixture and slow-roasted, often outdoors in a masonry oven). Even the “skin” of tofu becomes a delicacy when it becomes aburage, a salty-sweet pouch for sushi rice or other ingredients.

Over the course of the next week will be posting the recipes of four Island chefs that strip to the skin and show us how. Check back into our Recipe category often!

Letter Of Aloha – Winter 2015

MHH_2026Skin. It protects, it breathes, it shines and is a tell tale of what lies beneath in terms of our health and figuratively in how we choose to adorn ourselves. When we created the theme for this issue we contemplated between the return to using butter and lard with eating skin of animals from a cultural point of view coupled with the growing chef culture of tattooing food related images onto their skin.

In the end, as the stories came together for our Winter 2015 is a common thread of a renegade food culture centered around risk taking, revealed itself to be about something deeper. Passion.

Passion is flavor. It’s the drive and commitment to eating high quality, good tasting food. Passion is in the compulsion to keep learning, to keep refining and to keep feeding others because there is no other life for those that cook.

This issue is a gallery made to honor those that love what they do so deeply, it’s become a way of life. You see this in the department, Meet Your Farmer with Doni Chong of Oahu, who is not the kind of farmer you’d expect. You’ll also see this in the passion and dedication with Pastry Chef/Owner Michelle Karr Ueoka of MW Restaurant, and of course in the latest creation by Isaac Bancaco of Ka’ana Kitchen at Andaz Wailea and his monthly Maui Chef Bloc dinner series which promises to be a culinary laboratory for the next wave of dishes to inspire the restaurants throughout Hawaii.

We interviewed a handful of chefs from across the Hawaiian Islands on what inspired their food tattoos. The stories we uncovered were inspiring and took our appreciation of the power of food to a whole new level. We made our own butter and returning lard to the table, recipes for eating skin, foods that feed your own skin and a highlight of natural skin products that are sourced and made locally in the islands.

This is the Skin Issue, but it’s also very much about eating and passion, transformation and stepping outside of the food box in order to enjoy bigger flavors with each meal. Skin is the rebel, the innovator and a return to deeper flavor.

Elena Rego