Flavors under the Hawaiian sky

Chefs and eaters alike know that an invitation to cook at the famed James Beard House don’t come every day. Beard was — and still is — an icon in American cuisine, having mentored generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts.

Just to qualify, you have to meet specific criteria:

  • National or regional reputation, as evidenced by media (electronic, print, television, radio) and resume/biography.
  • Known use of high quality, seasonal, and/or local ingredients.
  • Demonstrated excellence in a particular discipline: e.g. regional, ethnic, pastry.
  • Financial stability and resources to partner with JBF for a New York event without negative consequences to own business.
  • Desire on part of chef and restaurant.
  • Level of interest in event by our dining members and their guests.
  • Submission of complete event proposal, including menu and wines.

On March 14, Chai Chaowasaree will be cooking for the James Beard House, thanks to the Oahu Visitors Bureau. He’ll have help from sous chefs Stephen Hamada, Kyle Higa, Mark Allen Lopez, and Jeremy Shigekane as they prepare a memorable meal for 85 distinguished guests. I got a preview of the menu offerings recently as Chai did a practice run for me and 84 other people. He’s themed it “Flavors under the Hawaiian sky” to showcase products from across the state.

Chai cooks for the James Beard House

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We started off the evening with “Chai-tais,” a custom blend based on the famous tropical drink. These use guava puree and feature basil instead of mint, to give it a slightly southeast Asian flavor.

Good luck and have fun, Chai!