Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bon Appetit! A tribute to Julia Child at the Kahala

Nadine Kam photos
The Kahala executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi, left, with one of his interns from the Kapi 'olani Culinary Arts Program, general manager Roseann Grippo and Hoku's manager and event coordinator Dante Camara

Julia Child's 100th birthday is being marked by celebrations around the country in honor of the woman who awakened the first foodie stirrings in many an American housewife in the 1960s, by sharing her passion for French cooking in her debut cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," written with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and television programs including "The French Chef," which premiered in 1963. She opened the door to what was then the unfamiliar, paving the way for every generation of chefs to come.

The Kahala Hotel has devoted a month of menus in honor of Child and the glories of French cooking, highlighted by "A Tribute to Julia Child" James Beard Foundation benefit dinner Aug. 12; and the Aug. 18 "Kahala Food and Wine Festival: A Celebration of France"; and participation in the national Julia Child Restaurant Week ending Aug. 15, but that here will continue through the end of the month. During the Aug. 12 dinner, special guest Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation in New York will share his personal anecdotes and reminisces about Julia Child.

The hotel hosted a media preview Aug. 7, with executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi cooking up Julia's boeuf bourguignon in the hotel's lobby, dressed to replicate Child's mid-20th century kitchen, from blue pegboard for her pots and pans, to hand-painted cabinetry and vintage appliances.

As nice as it would be to taste food as Julia cooked it, Hirabayashi said the recipes had to be adapted because, frankly, our tastes have evolved over 50 to 60 years and most of us would be unable to stomach the amounts of butter and cream she used in her recipes, not over several courses anyway. He marveled that she died two days shy of her 92nd birthday in 2004, living to old age in spite of those ingredients we've come to consider bad for us. We surmised it had a little to do with a combination of enjoying life and great meals accompanied by red wine.

Chef Hirabayashi's boeuf bourguignon.

An area of The Kahala's lobby has been redone to replicate the ambience of Julia's kitchen. General manager Roseann Grippo said many of the utensils and equipment came from her home, though her kitchen does not look like Julia's at all.

One of the countertops was set with a vintage Hamilton Beach milkshake mixer, circa 1940s and other mixers and kitchenware from the era.

Julia's presence in books and photos.

The Kahala's pastry chef Michael Moorhouse's cake celebrating Julia will be done up in three rectangular tiers during the James Beard dinner Aug. 12.

Moorhouse had two close encounters with Julia Child. One was at the James Beard House where he was representing the Drake Hotel's Restaurant Lafeyette. He remembers she attended the dinner with her husband Paul and wore a Chanel suit. The second time, he was lucky enough to get her autograph.

In talking up the five-course dinner benefiting the James Beard Foundation from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Maile Ballroom, general manager Roseann Grippo tempted us with promise of a "three-story" cake created by pastry chef Michael Moorhouse, but he clarified later that it will be a three-tier cake and he's experimenting with Julia's recipe for a Chocolate Marquise cake with orange buttercream between the layers, and fondant finished with a fleur-de-lis flourish.

But before dessert, guests will enjoy:

Hors d’Oeuvres:
>> Escargots and Shrimps a la Bourguignonne in Puff Pastry by chef Warren Uchida, Kapiolani Community College Culinary Program instructor.
>> Kona Crab Beignet, Local Mango Mustard and Sumida Farms Baby Watercress from chef Colin Hazama of the Sheraton Waikiki.
>> Smoked duck rillette, li hing cherries, gingered apricot gel, peppered almonds from chef Ryan Loo, returning home from the W Hotel Seattle for the event. He's also offering Five Mother Sauces served with appropriate sides.
>> Wines: Vine Cliff Vineyards Napa Valley

Amuse bouche:
Big Island Abalone Confit Poke, uni, morels, Waialua asparagus, Meyer lemon from chef Loo; paired with Armand de Brignac, Ace of Spades, Gold Brut NV.

Homard Aux Aromates with Beurre d’Estragon and Citron (Butter poached Kona Maine Lobster with Beurre Blanc with Tarragon) Waipoli island greens and Champagne Vanilla Bean vinaigrette from chef Uchida; paired with Hartford Court, Russian River, Chardonnay, 2010

Demi main:
Slow-cooked Hawaii kampachi with lapsang souchong, lime pickle puree, kiawe white honey lavender buttermilk Ka’u orange and Ho Farms tomato marmalade from chef Hazama; paired with
Domaine Laroche, Petite Chablis, 2010.

Peach carpaccio with lemon-basil sorbet from Hirabayashi; paired with Foley, Steel, Chardonnay, 2009.

Main course:
Tournedos Rossini (beef filets) with foie gras, truffles and Madeira sauce, Molokai sweet potato balls sauteed in Plugra butter, buttered peas, Wailua asparagus, and braised Manoa lettuce by Hirabayashi; paired with Guigal, Crozes Hermitage, Syrah, 2007

Point Reyes blue cheese soufflé with date chutney and hazelnuts from Moorhouse; paired with Edmeades, Late Harvest Zinfandel, 2006.

Classic strawberry bioche birthday cake and strawberry sorbet by Moorhouse; paired with Schramsberg, Cremant Demi-Sec 2007

The cost is $325 per person. Call 739-8760.

The tribute will continues with the "Kahala Food and Wine Festival: A Celebration of France," open to the general public from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 18, at a cost of $100 general and $150 VIP entry an hour earlier, with advance reservations. General admission at the door will be $125.

During the event, 10 chefs will offer up their Paris-meets-Hawaii take on classic French dishes, such as chef Hardy Kintscher's (Michel's) escargot Hamakua mushroom papilotte and chef Kanani Lincoln's (Hale Aina Catering) honey-soy duck beast with celeriac puree, li-hing cherry demi glace and Shinsato pork papardelle with turned vegetables and fine herbs.

Other participants: Chai Chaowasaree (Chai's Island Bistro), Russell Siu (3660 on the Rise), Colin Nishida (Side Street Inn), Goran Streng (Tangö Contemporary Cafe), Kevin Hanney (12th Ave Grill and SALT), Ronnie Nasuti (Tiki's Bar & Grill), William Chen Beachhouse at the Moana Surfrider), and Jon Matsubara Azure).

For those who prefer being in the kitchen, Kahala's "Université Pattiserie–Better with Butter" will offer the ins and outs of French cooking, from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays at Hoku's. Classes coming up are:
Aug. 11: French desserts
Aug. 25: Braising and basting techniques.
Sessions will be followed by Tea in The Veranda lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The cost is $85 for adults (includes graduation certificate, apron and The Veranda Classic Tea experience). Call (739-8760 or e-mail restaurants@kahalaresort.com for reservations.

Check the www.kahalaresort.com for details on nightly "Parisian Pleasures" dinners at The Veranda, "Better With Butter" teas Aug. 25 and 26, the Hoku's Chef's Table: A Grand Experience offered Thursdays andSundays, "Bounty of the Seven Seas: The Regions of France buffets Friday and Saturday evenings at Plumeria Beach House, and more.

Here's a link to all the events:

From Young’s Market Company of Hawaii, general manager Philana Bouvier and master sommelier Patrick Okubo were there to share wines, including the Chateau Lassegue Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2006 accompanying the boeuf bourguignon.

Seared ahi niçoise with pumpkin and tomato.

A selection of macarons from Moorhouse had fillings of pistachio and apricot, lilikoi and chocolate yuzu.

Sitting atop the display stove top were Le Creuset French ovens.

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