Sam Choy’s “The Choy of Cooking” Series Kicks Off
Sam Choy is a Hawaii favorite – and there’s good reason. Well-known globally as a James Beard Award-winning chef, prolific cookbook author, and Iron Chef America personality, Chef Choy’s roots and passion come from the oceans and farmlands of Hawaii. An Oahu boy born and raised, he was one of the founding contributors to the development of Hawaiian regional cuisine, helping to put Pacific culinary styles and tastes on the map. He founded the locally-infamous Poke Festival and Recipe Contest, and has hosted a variety of cooking shows to share his passion with others.
This past Friday night, I was able to attend the inaugural “The Choy of Cooking”, held at Holoholo Grill at the Koloa Landing Resort. The event highlights not only Sam Choy’s food, but also his sparkling personality. During the event, Choy stopped at all of the tables, took photos with attendees, and demonstrated how to make his famous poke. You can instantly see why he became such a well-known TV host, with his charisma, warmth, and humor. It was a fun change watching him prepare fresh local products, as I’m used to seeing him prepare food with leftovers on his local TV show In The Kitchen.
The dinner started off with a spread of Korean Tako & Shrimp Poke with fresh ahi, taro chips, and sea slaw, as well as Choy’s Best Fried Chicken Bites with an island-style garlic sauce. A Garden Island Chop Chop Salad served as a palette cleanser alongside Koloa Rum Company’s newest cocktail mix, pineapple passion rum. The main course included an Island Style Fish crusted with a macadamia nut panko and served with vegetable fried rice, sautéed baby boy choy, and an incredible mushroom cream sauce.
The star of the evening was hands-down the Braised Kalbi Short Ribs with a soy yuzu glaze, served alongside a savory bread budding. The sauce was mind-glowingly delicious and the bread budding had colorful little chunks of `uala, or sweet potato in it. To my delight, this plate-licking-worthy dish also happens to be on Holoholo Grill’s regular menu served with “happy rice”, so there’s an opportunity to return for more.
There was so much food served that we couldn’t even finish it all – a great value for the ticket price ($55/adult, $28/child, kids under 5 eat free). This was definitely not the type of tasting menu that leaves you hungry after dinner (or even into the next morning!). But of course we made room for the dessert spread – a trio of Pumpkin Crunch, Sweet Potato Haupia Pie, and Pineapple Cheesecake.
Although the food was incredibly ‘ono (delicious), it was the little details that the Koloa Landing team paid attention to that really made the evening special. The service was attentive, the music was great, the view of the pool and fountains was lovely, and the staff were all very kind checking in on attendees throughout the night. Pro Tip:I enjoyed being at the last seating of the night, as we really got to relax and not feel rushed, as we weren’t holding up anyone else’s seating. Highly recommend!
If you missed the kick-off of “The Choy of Cooking” with Sam Choy, you still have the opportunity to experience a fun night of award winning chef cuisine – this is an ongoing series by Koloa Landing, with future dates ahead. Future events will include other chefs highlighted as well! Visit Holoholo Grill’s website for more information and details.
Guest blogger Megan Fox is the Executive Director of Malama Kaua’i, a local nonprofit focused on increasing the production and consumption of local food, as well as a devout foodie and locavore.