Chef Colin Hazama, center, and chef Darren Demaya, far left, presented the finale of the “From Farm to Chef” dinner series at the Sheraton Waikiki’s Edge of Waikiki July 31.
BY NADINE KAM
Colin Hazama chose the finale of the Sheraton Waikiki’s “Flavors of Hawaii: From Farm to Chef” dinner series to make the announcement of a new beginning as he makes the leap from senior executive sous chef at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort to executive chef at sister property the Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort.
It was a bittersweet evening for the chef who started the ambitious dinner series last year, and he had a choked up moment as he thanked his crew for all the support they have shown him during his tenure at the Sheraton.
Not to worry, this won’t be the end of the events that aim to showcase the farmers that make it possible to sustain a culinary scene that is as inviting to sophisticated travelers as it is to us. Hazama has always been an advocate for local farming and other sustainable practices, and is envisioning a Fanta-sea table for the Royal Hawaiian, highlighting aquaponic farming and aquaculture, tentatively beginning 2016.
Ever so humble, as soon as I got there, Hazama goes, “Sorry, you probably wanted to be at Joy of Sake tonight.”
Uh, let’s see. Hazama’s food, table side at the beautiful oceanfront vs. long lines and standing and eating from disposable plates? There was no place else I wanted to be.
In the meantime, the finale dinner brought back farmers and their produce highlighted through the course of the series including Ho Farms, Nalo Farms, Twin Bridge Farms, Naked Cow Diary, Shinsato Farms and Wailea Agricultural Group. Chateau St. Michelle and Stags leap provided the wine pairings.
Wailea Ag presented a display table stocked with some of its Big Island produce, including hearts of palm, and an array of citrus fruits and whole spices: nutmeg, cloves, mace and bay leaves. A look at their web site shows cinnamon is coming soon. I was particularly taken by the finger lime, which I’d never seen except for those sensationalistic ads connected to weird Facebook stories that people share. Of course now that I’m looking for one I can’t find it, but the ads usually read, “Eat this and never diet again,” or something along those lines. Clicking on it just sends you to some infomercial.
But the finger lime is a relatively new Hawaii experiment, imported from Australia. As the name implies, it is about the length of a finger or gherkin, in a smooth casing that opens to reveal juicy, citrusy pearls that explode like caviar or ikura on your tongue, which is why it’s often referred to as lime caviar or citrus pop rocks.
I can always count on finding something new at Hazama’s table, and for now I’ll say thank you and see you across the lawn. Congratulations!
The baked potato was based on one of chef Colin’s favorite childhood treats.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.