The Food Festival, Refocused

Chef Masahito Ueki, of Japan

Photo: Courtesy Kahala Classic

Food festivals on Oahu are often just mass grazing events, with little education, while the more cooking-intensive festivals require a trip to the Neighbor Islands. The Kahala Hotel & Resort takes a shot at solving both problems with its quarterly Kahala Food & Wine Classic, a series of two-day festivals it debuted this past June. Each Classic brings in a chef from around the world and offers a more focused, intimate look at their work for a smaller audience.  

This month, Hoku’s chef Wayne Hirabayashi will host guest chef Masahito Ueki of Japan’s MASAA’s restaurant. The festival kicks off Friday, Dec. 12, with Taiko drumming, a reception and Masahito’s narrated, multicourse dinner, with Fred Schrader of Schrader Cellars as emcee. Saturday offers a cooking class with Masahito, a cigar tasting with Michael Herklots of Davidoff of Geneva and presentations by sake expert Chris Pierce and vintner Rob Sweeney of Vine Cliff Winery.

Events can be purchased separately or as packages, with or without a room at the hotel. The dinner, for example, is $185 per person. For Classic event reservations only, call 739-8760 or email For room and Classic event reservations, call 739-8888 or go to