Monday, October 6, 2008

Roy's 20th Anniversary

Last night, chefs and food-lovers from around the world gathered in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Roy Yamaguchi's Hawaiiain Fusion Cuisine Restaurants. The parking lot of Kapiolani Community College was transformed into a lantern-lit tent filled with the talents of 17 top-caliber guest chefs and their expert works of art.

Guests also enjoyed several stations of wine tastings and live entertainment. Of course, this celebration came with a price tag: $200 a person... but it was well worth it! In honor of this special event I "forgot" all the reasons I stopped eating meat, and indulged in the culinary expertise of these great artists!

Guests chefs included:
Hiro Sone & Lissa Doumani-Terra/Ame (San Francisco/Napa)
Josiah Citrin-Melisse (Santa Monica)
Raphael Lunetta-JiRaffe (Santa Monica)
Tsutomu Ochiai-LaBettola Restaurant (Tokyo, Japan)
Darryl Fujita-Halekulani Hotel
Ming Tsai-Blue Ginger (Boston)
"Iron Chef" Hiroyuki Sakai-La Rochelle (Tokyo, Japan)
John Finger & Terry Sawyer-Hog Island Oyster Company (San Francisco)
Lee Hefter-Spago (Beverly Hills)
Floyd Cardoz-Tabla (New York)
Tony Liu-Morandi (New York)
Alan Wong-Alan Wong's
Ronnie Nasuti-Roy's Hawaii Kai
Yuji Wakiya-Wakiya at the Gramercy Park Hotel (New York)

My top 3 favorite dishes (the ones that I went back for seconds) were from Yuji Wakiya, Ming Tsai, and Lee Hefter.

Wakiya is a modern, upscale restaurant in the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York that serves what I would describe as "high-class dim sum." Chef Yuji Wakiya and his crew served up some lobster done 2 ways: Lobster Taoban and Lobster with Creamy Lemon Sauce, both served with a crispy rice cracker.

Blue Ginger is the restaurant from celebrity chef Ming Tsai located in Boston. It was such a pleasure watching how chef Tsai put the finishing touches on his dishes before being handed out to the guests. He really entertained the crowd with his charm, and at the same time he called out orders to his helping hands to make sure his food were presented just so in the right timing (in a demanding, yet "laid back" demeanor). On top of all of that, he managed to check his phone as he kept up with the score of the Boston Red Socks game!

He served a Sake Miso Marinated Butterfish with Wasabi Oil and Soy Lime Syrup and a Soba Noodle Sushi. Delicious. The butterfish was so tender and delicate!

Spago is the restaurant owned by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. The executive chef of the Beverly Hills restaurant, Lee Heftner prepared a Spicy Ahi Tartar with a Sweet Sesame Shell.

The caramelized sugar and toasty sesame seeds from the outer shell added great texture and contrast to the spicy ahi that filled it.

Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani are chefs at two Japanese-European restaurants: Terra and Ame. They had the most memorable presentation of food...

It started off with a line up of cold broth with a self-serve line of shiso, tobiko, yamaimo, ahi, myoga, green onion, ikura, and nori, followed by a long bamboo pole filled with running water...

...You are handed a little "fishing net" gadget and Lissa Doumani yells out "Noodles!" and along comes your serving of noodles shooting down the bamboo pole for you to "catch!"

I guess I favored the seafood dishes more, but for you meat lovers here's what else we got to try:

Josaiah Citrin's Duck Breast with Glazed Raddish, Wilted Spinach and Cherry Sauce (excuse the blurry picture).

Raphael Lunetta's Pistachio Crusted Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Caramelized Mango, Toasted Brioche, Roasted shallots, and a Confit of Sweet and Sour Baby Roma Tomatoes and Mango Verjus.

Tsutomu Ochiai's Penne Pasta creation with a delicious tomato-basil sauce. Simple, yet expertly prepared!

Darryl Fujita's beef topped off with crispy foie gras sitting on a bed of sweet creamy corn.

Hiroyuki Sakai's broccoli gazpacho with shrimp. The "Iron Chef" was also very energetic and entertaining! :)

Two of Hog Island's varieties of farm raised oysters: Hog Island Sweetwater and Hog Island Kumamoto. Shucked fresh and served with an assortment of toppings.

Floyd Cardoz's Indian dish made using "Baby Pig."

Tony Liu's preserved opah and cannelini beans on top of a toasted crostini,

Alan Wong's Maui Cattle Company Beef (served two ways) with Ulu Puree.

Ronnie Nasuti soup of oxtail, tripe, hawaiian fungus, and truffle oil. Very fragrant and rich!

The whole night was filled with excitement! It was a challenge to take in the excitement while trying to understand what it was I was eating (hence the simplified descriptions of some of the dishes) while carrying my wine glass and plate at the same time!

At the end of the night, as the guests had their stomachs filled and the chefs had time to breathe, we had the pleasure of meeting several of them for pictures and autographs. We also got to take home a commemorative Ridel wine glass and memory book.

Thanks to Amanda, Brandon, and my mom for sharing this night of fun! A huge "Thank You" to our friend (and talented cook) Marcus, who got us our "special" tickets! :)


OkiHwn said...

hey, tony liu is my nephew!

shandam said...

wow ash!! soooo lucky! i bet it was wonderful :o) that noodle in a net thing looked cool!

LesliAnn said...

wow, that is soooo cool! and roy yamaguchi!!!!

LesliAnn said...

they do that thing in japan where you gotta catch the noodles with a net. wow, what an amazing treat!!!!!!!! once in a lifetime!!!