Ever Wondered Where Pipi Kaula Came From?

Family Ingredients, which airs nationally this month, traces some of Hawai‘i’s most popular dishes back to their roots around the world.
Chef Ed Kenney in a lo‘i in Hanalei on Kaua‘i. He‘s the host of a culinary travel series called Family Ingredients, which airs nationally this month.
Photos: Renea Veneri Stewart, Family Ingredients


Part documentary, part cooking show, part history lesson.


The Emmy Award-winning Family Ingredients, which aired its first hourlong episode two years ago on PBS Hawai‘i and its next two last month at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, is going national this month.


The half-hour show will be released nationally on June 16 and premiering on PBS Hawai‘i at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22. (It repeats at 11:30 p.m. that same night and at 4:30 p.m. the following Sunday.)


Hosted by acclaimed O‘ahu chef—and sustainability advocate—Ed Kenney, this culinary travel series tells the unique stories of Hawai‘i by tracing the origins of local dishes to their roots around the world. Pipi kaula to California, gandule rice to Puerto Rico, poisson cru to Tahiti. Every dish has a story. That’s the premise of the show.


“I feel blessed to share our stories on the national level,” says Ty Sanga, director. “Many people have tried to capture the magic of Hawaiʻi and what it means to live in these Islands. I am honored that our show has joined those ranks and that we are able to share our perspective. The audience will see something they have never seen before and I hope they will be hungry for more.”


The first show introduces Kenney and traces back one of Hawai‘i’s cultural staples—poi—to Kaua‘i. In this episode, we meet Kenney’s parents, Broadway performer Ed Kenney (Jr.) and renowned hula dancer Beverly Noa, both famed Waikīkī entertainers. Kenney reminisces with his mom about his love affair with poi and travels around O‘ahu and Kaua‘i to dig deep into the story of this starchy staple of Native Hawaiians.


Kenney, right, with his mom, Beverly Noa.


“The show started out as a culinary adventure based on what I do daily as a chef—telling stories through food,” says Kenney, who runs four restaurants on O‘ahu. “I never realized that it would have such a strong impact on me.”