Hawaii chef trio cooks at James Beard House
For chefs, going to the James Beard House is akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca. If they are going there to cook for some 80 guests, a bit more pressure and stress is involved, as one's reputation is at stake in front of a very important audience.
Chefs Shaymus Alwin, Jeremy Shigekane and Carolyn Portuondo of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, A Luxury Collection Resort are in the Big Apple for just such an event, and have been busy preparing for tonight's opportunity to display their culinary mettle.
Luckily, the home crowd can watch the cooking unfold beginning at 1 p.m. today (Friday) as the James Beard Foundation's kitchen-cam will live-stream their work in the home-sized kitchen. (See link below.)
The nine-dish menu features flavors from delicate to bold and playful, with wine pairings prepared in cooperation with Southern Wine & Spirits in Hawaii. One particularly bold choice sure to have the New York food media buzzing, is the serving of a white wine with beef. Alwin is confident in the pairing, which met with positive reviews at a preview dinner last week. He knows it will attract attention, discussion, and debate.
Passed appetizers include heart of palm chawanmushi with Peaky Toe crab, Maine uni and nasturtium, an edible flower; "Abalomi" made with Kona abalone, lomi heirloom tomato and chili water, and Kona Kampachi with caviar served atop a shrimp chip. Dinner comprises Alwin's elegantly plated take on a lobster roll, a nod to his upbringing on the East Coast and his father, who was a lobsterman, as well as dishes highlighting Kauai shrimp, crispy-skinned onaga from Hawaiian waters; and Hawaii Ranchers Ribeye of Beef. Portuondo's dessert is a compressed pineapple butter rum cake with Volcano honey yogurt gelato.
The trio, as well as one of Chef Shaymus' childhood friends who also is a chef, started going about their work in the Beard kitchen early this morning, Hawaii time.
The action will unfold about 1 p.m. Hawaii time as the chefs prepare the menu dubbed "The Royal Treatment." Guests arriving at the Beard House will be greeted by life-sized "pineapples" and other floral creations by Hawaii event designer Steven Boyle, and hula performed by expat dancers and musicians living in the New York area. Then, the culinary adventure begins.