Hilo Style Grazing Event

By:  Jenn K

To commemorate 70 years of quality service across the state, Hilo was invited to participate in an Easter Seals Hawai`i (ESH) culinary event called The Traveling Plate.

Traveling Plate Hawai`i Island Committee (L to R): Tisha Takazawa, Caitlin Botz, me, Mari Giel, and Maelisa Evangelista.

As Chair of the ESH East Hawai`i Advisory Board, I looked forward to the opportunity to take part in a very special community effort.  One that would bring awareness to those who are not familiar with the programs and to also raise funds needed to continue providing quality services to families in East Hawai`i.  A committee was formed and, in partnership with highly experienced events coordinator Amanda Corey and super ESH Development support from Shandis and Kelly, we set out to plan a most memorable event.

Featured Chef: Mark Noguchi, Owner, Pili Group | Kunoa Cattle Striploin, Waiki`i Ranch Salsa, Fresh Mozzarella.

Initially, Amanda’s firm, Under My Umbrella (UMU), along with ESH Development planned for a grazing event in Waimea. While a beautiful setting, it didn’t seem an appropriate location for an event representing a program that, unfortunately, does not service beyond Honoka`a.  The decision was made to accommodate the bulk of the participants and supporters in Hilo and Puna and have the celebration here in town.  What a celebration it was.

Host Chefs Jesse Moore & Mark Mattos, Nani Mau Gardens | Thai Spiced Blackened Fresh Wahoo, Green Papaya, Rice Noodle Salad, Coconut Curry Bisque.

Coordinated efforts between ESH Development, UMU, and our Hilo Traveling Plate Committee culminated in a very successful evening at the new and improved Nani Mau Gardens.  Featured local chefs prepared tasty and creative dishes, at their designated stations, that everyone enjoyed.  Delicious local and sustainable products were offered in accompaniment.  There were some very talented local musicians whose selections got many of the attendees up and dancing.  A group of the hardest-working volunteers (ESH East Hawai`i staff, Advisory Board members, and ESH participants) greeted and served their guests in a most professional manner.  An enthusiastic emcee kept the audience engaged which added to the positive spirit of the night.

Featured Chef: Brian Hirata, Chef Instructor, Hawai`i Community College, Culinary Institute of the Pacific | “All White Plate”: Cauliflower and Smoked Scallop Mousse, Hamakua Ali`i Mushroom “Scallops”, White Local Veggies, Olive Oil Powder, Champagne Vinegar Reduction.

The estimated 175 lively supporters who were in attendance surpassed the minimum goal.  In the weeks leading up to the event, it didn’t seem attainable but, in typical Hilo fashion, the number increased significantly in the days before and the day of.  Gotta love it!

Featured Chef: Mark Pomaski, Owner, Moon and Turtle | Sautéed Abalone, Cold Rice Noodle, Abalone Liver Spring Roll, Local Vegetables, and Garlic Fish Sauce. 

Success would not have been possible without support from local businesses, friends, relatives, and those who care deeply about Easter Seals and what its programs have provided – and will continue to do so –  for people we know and love. Mahalo to all who took the time to share their Hilo spirit.  Especially Bronze Sponsors:  HEMIC, GW Construction, HFS FCU x 2, Kalama Evans Construction, and Sherron Iopa.

Featured Chefs Chris Damskey & Kalani Garcia, `Ulu Ocean Grill at The Four Seasons Hualālai | Savory Liliko`i BBQ Braised Big Island Beef Cheeks, Kekela Farms “Bread and Butter” Gardinera, Ka`ū Mango Cornbread, “Hot Damskey” Hot Sauce.

The committee is already being encouraged to hana hou.  We couldn’t be happier to have received so much positive feedback. We welcome any and all forms of constructive criticism which will help us put together an even more successful grazing event, should the opportunity arise once more. I hope it does because when it comes to showing community support, Hilo never disappoints.

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