Imagine a large room, with 30 professional chefs all cooking up something special with locally farmed ingredients. At the 2ndVariety Showcase held recently at Kapi‘olani Community College, that foodie’s dream was brought to reality. The event pairs up local farmers and breeders with local culinary experts, builds community and collaboration, and invites the public to learn more and taste the results: some awesome food, made in Hawai‘i.
Nearly every table had a CTAHR connection through the farmer, breeder, or chef (in some cases, all three). GoFarm Hawai‘i, CTAHR’s highly successful farmer training program, was a co-organizer.
Variety Showcase is quickly becoming a premier gustatory event in Honolulu. Participating chefs were encouraged to let their imaginations run free, which led to some amazingly innovative dishes. HNFAS alumna Lauren Tamamoto, who runs the culinology program at KCC, created a dehydrated kim chee soup, using cabbage from Extension agent Jensen Uyeda. GoFarm’s Jay Bost provided purple corn he bred himself. He noted, “This event was a celebration of all the hard work that so many people (farmers, breeders, CTAHR Extension agents and researchers, along with culinary professionals) are doing to move sustainable agriculture ahead in the state.”
Sustainability was front and center. At each booth, the farmers and breeders explained how their ingredients incorporated sustainable practices. For example, one chef prepared taape, an invasive fish that steals food and resources from native species like onaga and opakapaka. So participants got to help reduce that fish population—and taste a really ‘ono dish!
GoFarm Hawai‘i encourages local breeders, chefs, and farmers to push the boundaries of culinary arts and agricultural quality, and the Variety Showcase is only one example of that. To support local farmer entrepreneurs and get some super fresh, high-quality products throughout the year, visit Farm Link Hawaii. Created by a GoFarm Hawai‘i graduate, the site connects local farmers directly to buyers to promote local food sourcing and convenient delivery.