A sampling of dishes at the Hawaii Rising Stars Gala

Photos courtesy of StarChefs.
Above: Wade Ueoka's Oxtail “Soup”: Oxtail and Corned Beef Roulade, Boiled Peanuts, and Shiitake Mushrooms

I'm excited about next week's StarChefs Rising Stars gala. Why? Because Starchefs, a national restaurant industry magazine, has recognized some of Hawaii's best young chefs, some of whom I've worked alongside and have admired their work ethic and ability to consistently produce excellent food (and drink!).

At next Tuesday's event, the Rising Star Chefs will be cooking menu favorites and some will introduce off-the-menu items that you won't find in their restaurants.

A sampling:

Wade Ueoka of Alan Wong's restaurant laughs that the dish picked for the gala is probably the most labor intensive. It's oxtail soup, done up Alan Wong's style: The flavors will remind you of your favorite bowl, but the preparation is pure fine dining. Ueoka debones a whole oxtail and stuffs it with pork, corned beef and boiled peanuts. Simmered and sliced, it's an oxtail roulade, set on a shiitake risotto made with a broth fortified with oxtail bones. A zippy ginger scallion sauce crowns the whole thing.

Octopus, Chorizo, Olives, Potatoes, Compressed Grape Tomatoes, Almonds, and Kahuku Corn Purée

Quinten Frye of Salt Kitchen and Tasting Bar will present his tako dish currently on the menu (and that I recently fell in love with when I tasted it a few weeks ago). He takes tako, caught near Hawaii Kai by a friend, rubs it with roasted garlic puree and pimenton and sous vides it for eight hours. The flavor and texture plays against a sweet corn puree, salty olives and capers, and spiced chorizo (housemade, of course).

Pho ga with slow-poached egg and bo la lot

Andrew Le of The Pig and the Lady will prepare two dishes: pho ga, a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup that Le tops with a slow-poached egg and bo la lot, beef wrapped in betel nut leaves and grilled, as a nod to the requisite teri beef stick with saimin. Betel nut leaves impart a slightly bitter, peppery taste, and when wrapped around the beef and grilled, give a slight snap to the meat, like a hot dog casing.  

He's also serving kalo tostones on pa‘i ‘ai marinated with tomatoes, chili, coriander seeds and lime juice, the mochi-like texture of the pa‘i ‘ai in contrast to the crunch of double-fried, mashed kalo. This bite is topped with rice paddy herb, common to Vietnamese cuisine.

Elizabeth McDonald, of Honu and Mala Ocean Tavern, says her vegan chocolate mousse has been years in the making. It's currently in its fourth iteration—thin layers of cake soaked in coffee syrup, and layered with a vegan espresso chocolate mousse. She makes non-vegan desserts as well, in particular, she's fond of a lilikoi tart with a torched Italian meringue, but Star Chefs tasters picked this cake over all the other desserts.

$95/$125 VIP, which includes a private reception. 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 4 at Halekulani. Tickets available at starchefs.com/cook/events/rising-stars/2012/hawaii

[HONOLULU Magazine is a sponsor of this event.]