Only In Puna: Puna Hongwanji’s Temple Chef Cooking Contest

By Misty I.
June 12, 2019

“Alleze Cuisine!!” Do you remember that phrase? It’s from Iron Chef Japan. I used to love watching that show.

This past weekend Debra Ching-Maiava, Mike Miyahira and I had the pleasure of being judges for an Iron Chef formatted cooking contest sponsored by Puna Hongwanji. They even had a secret ingredient reveal, bok choy!

The three teams worked really hard and cooked some nutritious and tasty creations for Battle Bok Choy!

The Senior YBA Team delivered a lot of aloha with their interpretation of one of my all time favorite Japanese dishes, okonomiyaki. Head chef Clinton was not only knowledgeable but such a sweet, sweet soul! He shared with me that he recently lost his wife and has thrown himself into cooking. He made his own okonomi sauce and mayo to top the okonomiyaki with Hamakua mushrooms. They also used sea asparagus, so fresh!

Team Noble Path made my favorite dish of the afternoon, a Thai Spicy Basil Eggplant dish with tofu. It was bold and Blue Zones friendly. After I was done judging, I went back to this plate and mopped it! So yummy! Also, if an award was given for knife skills Aunty Lei, would have easily taken it. Head down, precise and lightning fast! Mean! I would want her on my team for sure!

Puna Taiko made a delicious Yakisoba with Beni Shoga garnish but instead of noodles they used enoki mushrooms, genius! This team was the youngest and commanded the attention of everyone in the hall. They took extra care in plating and it paid off, they won the contest!

I didn’t get a pic with him but the emcee Paul Of Puna Taiko was perfect and kept everyone entertained and updated. Thank you Puna Hongwanji and the Temple Chef committee for welcoming me, what a fun afternoon of cooking!

Only in Puna!

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