Celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower headlines star-studded Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival

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The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival will launch its eighth annual event May 9th and May 11th at The Kahala Hotel & Resort with a one-two punch celebrating Jeremiah Tower, the pioneer of Modern American cuisine, original celebrity chef, and subject of Anthony Bourdain’s biographical documentary The Last Magnificent. Tower will headline an intimate six-course dinner California Dreamin’ on May 9th with five Hawai‘i master chefs including HFWF Co-Founders Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong. His revolutionary California Regional dinner menu inspires a second event featuring dishes by ten of Hawai‘i’s hottest contemporary chefs on May 11th called Heart & Soul – Starring Local Ingredients.

“We’re honored to celebrate Jeremiah Tower for the inaugural Culinary Heroes event as we launch our eighth annual festival” says Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival (HFWF) Chief Executive Officer Denise Yamaguchi. “California Dreamin’ will be reminiscent of the start of the food revolution four decades ago at Chez Panisse and later at Stars Restaurant where Tower changed the course of modern American cuisine.”

“All I can say is that it’s a dream for me to come back to Hawaii which, for all my California years, was a place of inspiration and recuperation,” shares Jeremiah Tower. “After seeing all the fish, fruit and flowers in Honolulu’s Asian markets and its Chinatown, I would retire to my corner suite at The Kahala with champagne and make notes for new dishes to put on the menus at my restaurants. From those visits I have never forgotten the mind-blowing lessons in coffee from Alan, my first great visit to Roy’s that inspired me to do my own tropical beach themed restaurant, and turning Kahili pineapples and pikake leis into sorbet at Kelvin’s. Now I get to cook again with all of them and discover new things with George, Chris, and Michelle. I can’t wait for even more inspiration at this Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival.”

California Dreamin’ will showcase dishes by Tower, Wong, Yamaguchi, George Mavrothalassitis, Chris Kajioka and Michelle-Karr Ueoka. Shep Gordon, celebrity talent manager and founder of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, will moderate a live interview with Tower about his life and journey as the “Last Magnificent.” It will be an intimate affair, with a limit of 100 guests.

Heart & Soul – Starring Local Ingredients showcases ten of the State’s best chefs, coveted wines, craft cocktails, and a fireworks finale to kick off the fall festival. Featured chef talent for the walk-around event are Vikram Garg, Daisuke Hamamoto, Wayne Hirabayashi, Chad Horton, Ed Kenney, Andrew Le, Kevin Lee, Mark Pomaski, Wade Ueoka, and Lee Anne Wong.

The two-night launch is the official HFWF kickoff celebration when the talent and themes will be announced for the fall festival, happening October 6-28, 2018. #HFWF18 will welcome more than 100 culinary masters, 50 wine makers, and a dozen mixologists to events on Hawai‘i Island, Maui and O‘ahu.

HFWF is a program of the nonprofit, Hawai‘i Ag and Culinary Alliance. Its mission is to attract national and international attention to the extraordinary culinary talent and the diversity of quality locally grown products to ensure Hawai‘i maintains its competitive edge as a world-class destination. In the past 8 years, HFWF has expanded from a 3-day festival with 30 chefs in Waikiki to more than 20 events with 10,000 attendees and 100 chefs spanning 3 Islands. Since its 2011 launch, HFWF has donated more than $2 million to community organizations that support sustainability, culinary programs and agriculture.