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Girls showcase ‘Game’ at Food & Wine brunch
BY NINA WU / firstname.lastname@example.org
It was game on for a quartet of female chefs who brought their A-game to Sunday brunch on the final day of the 2012 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.
The event, called “Girls Got Game!”, featured Jacqueline Lau of Roy’s Restaurants Hawaii, Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York, Susan Feniger of STREET and Border Grill in Los Angeles and Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery+Cafe and Myers+Chang in Boston. Female farmers from the isles — from Naked Cow Dairy on Oahu to Kuahiwi Ranch on Hawaii island — were also at the brunch to present their products.
There was a line to get in to the sold-out event, which offered a bounty of food and drinks at various stations on the pool deck of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki.
You could choose from a display of tropical fruits intermingled with local chocolate-covered croissants, mini pancakes, several North Shore syrups and fresh-torched hamachi.
First stop: Joanne Chang’s station, where she offered her famous sticky buns topped with macadamia nuts. They were rich, nutty and sweet and a memorably good way to start the brunch.
Tosi of Momofuku was all smiles as she dished out soft poached eggs on an English muffin with a pineapple onion marmalade, sprinkled with pepper. The eggs were poached to perfection, with just the right softness, while remaining a little runny inside. They were offered, along with glasses of her popular milk coffee.
Bedecked with several layers of lei and a pair of sunglasses, Susan Feniger of STREET greeted fans, autographed copies of her cookbook “Street Food” while doling out plates of sesame-coated local apple banana fritters with coconut Kaya jam and pandan leaves (topped with a sweet soy glaze).
The fritters, a comforting combo of fried sweetness and saltiness, were accompanied by a refreshing Burmese melon salad with coconut lime chutney and soy lime vinaigrette.
Feniger offered a very similar Southeast-Asian-inspired dish as a contestant on the second season of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” in 2010. She got a helping hand from Camille Komine of Camille’s On Wheels. Komine worked for Feniger in L.A. 30 years ago.
On this trip to Hawaii, Feniger says she discovered taro leaves and loves them so much she’s putting them on the menu at STREET.
Jacqueline Lau of Roy’s Restaurants offered two local-inspired plates — a medley of moi sashimi with sea asparagus and limu salad with watermelon radish and pepeaiao (fungus) as well as Kuahiwi beef on a bed of Nalo greens.
The first was inspired by the sea, featuring all-local ingredients (and looked like jewels on a plate).
Bottles of prosecco were flowing, but the Bloody Marys were definitely the star beverage of the morning.
First, you got to choose the flavor of sea salt to rim the glass with, then the vodka, add your own touch of hot sauce and choice of accompaniments (fresh lemon wedges, basil, olives, carrots, celery, cluster tomatoes, shrimp).
Chandra Lucariello of Southern Wine & Spirits of Hawaii poured a little extra olive oil on top, which she says adds richness to the drink.
To finish it all off — a scoop of salted caramel gelato from Il Gelato Hawaii.
It was a fabulous brunch presented by a star team of all-female chefs and farmers, and will hopefully happen again next year.