Hawaii team brings aloha to ‘Food Truck Race’

Aug. 15, 2013 | 0 Comments
Aloha Plate Truck's Lanai Tabura, left, Shawn Felipe and Adam Tabura, right. (Courtesy photo)

Aloha Plate Truck’s Lanai Tabura, left, Shawn Felipe and Adam Tabura, right. (Courtesy photo)

BY JOLEEN OSHIRO / joshiro@staradvertiser.com

Friendship, fate and a food truck have a trio of local boys sharing island-inspired dishes with the rest of the country. Brothers Lanai and Adam Tabura and buddy Shawn Felipe run the Aloha Plate food truck, with the mission of “promoting aloha through food” as part of Food Network’s fourth season of “The Great Food Truck Race,” premiering Sunday, Aug. 18.

“All our concepts and menus are based on what we ate when we were growing up, with a twist,” said Lanai Tabura, a popular Hawaii radio personality.

great food truck race

‘The Great Food Truck Race’

Airs at 6 p.m. (repeats at 9 p.m.) Sundays on Food Network starting Aug. 16

Those twists have enabled the team to meet the challenges posed to contestants, as well as the practicalities of producing a menu efficiently.

“Locals eat a lot of rice, for example, but we couldn’t cook the rice fast enough,” said Adam Tabura. “So we’d fill in with other foods. As we traveled the states, we also used what the states offered.”

“The Great Food Truck Race” features aspiring food truck operators who travel the country in loaned vehicles to compete for the chance to win their own food truck. Alongside the Aloha Plate team are seven teams from such cities as Sea Bright, N.J.; Los Angeles; New York; Philadelphia; and St. Louis.

Destinations include Beverly Hills, Calif.; San Francisco; Portland, Ore.; Chicago; and Washington, D.C.

The Aloha Plate guys want a food truck of their own because it “would allow us to do something different in our lives,” said Felipe.

Lanai Tabura, 42, is a longtime friend of Hawaii-born comedian Felipe, who now resides in Los Angeles. Felipe, 38, signed up for an audition before even giving the Tabura brothers a call.

The Aloha Plate food truck, foreground, trailed by a support vehicle. (Courtesy photo)

The Aloha Plate food truck, foreground, with a support vehicle behind it. (Courtesy photo)

Their partnership isn’t based solely on friendship. Adam Tabura, 37, is a chef who spent his early career in Portland before returning to Hawaii in 1997 to cook at the Four Seasons’ Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay on Lanai, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui, Kona Village Resort on Hawaii island and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. In 2011, he started the Spice Rack, which supplies fine spices to restaurants.

The audition turned out to be a breeze. Finding their groove once they were in the truck wasn’t as easy.

“We argued continuously until we figured out what each of us should do, then we became a well-oiled machine,” said Lanai Tabura.

Adam Tabura heads the kitchen, Felipe serves as sous-chef and handles the technical duties, and Lanai Tabura tackles marketing and customer service.

The competition has been grueling but also rewarding.

“It’s been emotional,” said Lanai Tabura. “People from Hawaii tend to stick together, so when we’d show up in a city, they’d show up in hordes. Sometimes it had us in tears.”
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The Aloha Plate team will be at Sports FanAddicts Bar & Grill, 1201 Kona St., for a screening party starting at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18. Call 589-3267 for more information.

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