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Tasting Kauai Coconut Cook Off at the 2016 Coconut Festival

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Tasting Kauai Coconut Cook Off
Saturday, Oct. 1
12:30 to 4 p.m.
Kapaa Beach Park
Free admission

Add one part Top Chef, one part Chopped, and one part Iron Chef, and you’ve got the Tasting Kauai Coconut Cook Off. The event is the first of its kind, and debuts at this year’s Coconut Festival.

Eight of Kauai’s top chefs will use coconut as well as some of the island’s best ingredients to prepare dishes for five judges, and you could be one of them!

Since the 20th Annual Coconut Festival celebrates coconut and the Royal Coconut Coast, I pooled some of my favorite chefs and created an event that showcases how expert hands transform coconut into exceptional dishes. I have a couple of ideas about what to do with coconuts, but I’m really interested to see what the chefs do. I don’t see coconut on menus here on the island very often. It’s a labor-intensive process to prepare coconut cream, milk, water, spoon meat—which is young coconut flesh that’s so delicate, you can eat it with a spoon—mature meat, and even sprouted coconut, all of which the chefs will have access to.

Here’s one tricky bit. The following chefs are used to running their own restaurant and staff, but at this competition they will be randomly paired into four teams and have to answer coconut trivia questions to win ingredients. Besides bragging rights, winners receive a first place coconut sculpture made and presented by keiki (children) at 10,000 Hands art school in Kapaa. Each is a farm-to-table chef on Kauai:

Everyone who attends the Cook Off, and who donates $1 or more to the Hawaii Food Bank – Kauai Branch, has a chance of becoming a judge. Besides a seat at the judges’ table, giveaway items include a cooler of ingredients used in the competition (which I’ll detail in next Friday’s blog post); an autographed copy of our newly updated restaurant guidebook (signed by myself and competing chefs); a free download of our Tasting Kauai app, as well as one free Royal Coconut Coast Tasting Kauai Food Tour.

Audience members also get to ask questions with the help of foodie MCs Addison Bulosan, owner of the Specific Chiropractic Center in Lihue, as well as his partner, Juno Apalla, candidate for the 2017 Kauai County Council.

Jill Marie Landis is a foodie, Hanalei resident and one of the judges. She is the author of the Kauai-based “Tiki Goddess Mystery Series” and will giveaway a basket stuffed with autographed copies of all five novels as well as tiki-themed items. Wes Perreira, of the Hawaii Food Bank – Kauai Branch, will also be a special guest judge.

Since 2012, Tasting Kauai has donated a portion of all proceeds to the Hawaii Food Bank – Kauai Branch. To date, $2,127 has gone to help Kauai’s hungry and proceeds from the giveaway will go toward their next donation.

To register for the giveaway, just stop by the Tasting Kauai table inside the Cooking Demonstration tent. Michelle Lemay, our fabulous tour guide, will be there with her husband, Ron. You’ll also have a chance to look at the cooler full of ingredients for the giveaway. A suggested donation of $1 gets you one entry, but you can purchase as many entries as you like. We will announce the winning judge before the end of Round 1, and the rest of the giveaways will be announced after the winning chefs receive their awards. You must be present to win all giveaways.

I’m excited to share what ingredients the chefs will be using. To find out what they are, read “Hawaii Coconut Rum Cocktail Recipe” “Local Ingredients Used in Tasting Kauai Coconut Cook Off” and “Winners of the Tasting Kauai Coconut Cook Off.”