Winners from the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival’s Localicious Recipe Contest

We’re highlighting the winners and the winning recipes!


This fall, the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival held its annual cooking competition, called the Localicious Recipe and Video Contest. Local keiki submitted their best dishes for a chance to win gift cards and cash scholarships. The winners were announced in October: 


Localicious Winners

Photo: First place winners Saige Imig and Jonah Sahagun with their winning recipes. Courtesy of Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival.


Grades 4 to 8


First Place: Saige Imig, Grade 7, Hawai‘i Technology Academy
Second Place: Kimani Porlas, Grade 5, Liholiho Elementary
Third Place: Aria Kim, Grade 5, Liholiho Elementary


Grades 9 to 12


First Place: Jonah Sahagun, Grade 12, Moloka‘i High School
Second Place: Paul Andrew Ibous, Grade 11, Waipahu High School
Third Place: Daiden Oshiro, Grade 12, Waipahu High School


Each contestant had to submit an original recipe featuring at least one locally grown, raised or caught ingredient. There were other rules too: The dish needed to be healthy, affordable and easy to make. We chatted briefly with each division’s first place winner to find out what inspired their dishes. They’ve shared their recipes, too, so you can try them out at home with your own keiki.




Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival

“In a Hurry? Grab a Curry Roll”

By Saige Imig


Seventh grader Saige Imig belongs to a busy family of four kids, so one of her chores is to prepare lunch for herself every day. A student at Hawai‘i Technology Academy, Imig says she came up with this recipe because it’s fast and easy to prepare—hence the name! She fell in love with cooking after taking a few classes on Outschool, an online platform that offers a variety of classes for kids, and she even headed up a cooking class for her friends. In her curry roll recipe, vegetables and tofu are seasoned with red chile paste, with a flavorful dipping sauce made of peanut butter and coconut milk.



Ingredients for rolls (makes about 10 summer rolls)

  • 8 ounces of firm tofu (drained)
  • ½ cup carrots (shredded)
  • ¼ cup green onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic (minced)
  • Rice noodle wrappers
  • ½ medium sized Japanese cucumber (cut into spears)

Ingredients for dipping sauce

  • ¼ peanut butter
  • ¼ coconut milk


1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine crumbled tofu, carrots, green onion, cilantro
and salt. Mix well.
2. In a small bowl mix red curry paste, 1 tablespoon coconut milk and garlic.
3. Add the contents of the small bowl into the medium-sized bowl of tofu and
veggies. Mix well.
4. Soak noodle wrapper in a dish of water until soft (about 1 minute per wrapper).
5. On a plate, lay out the soft noodle wrapper and add desired amount of seasoned
tofu and veggies (about 3-4 tablespoons). Add several cucumber spears and wrap
tightly into a roll.
6. For the dipping sauce, mix the peanut butter and ¼ cup coconut milk in a small
7. Dip the summer roll in sauce and enjoy!




Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival

Pualu Fish Tacos

By Jonah Sahagun


Moloka‘i 12th grader Jonah Sahagun has been fishing for as long as he can remember—it’s his family’s way of life. Pualu is a reef fish that he often catches in his nets. Its mild-tasting flesh lends well to stronger flavors and is delicious, especially when freshly caught. Sahagun is surrounded by family members who enjoy cooking, but his interest in it was sparked after joining the culinary club at Moloka‘i High School. After he graduates, he says he’s excited to study and pursue a career in culinary arts.




  • 1 pound Pualu fish fillet (fresh caught)
  • 4 Sinaloa tortilla wraps
  • 1 package lettuce blend (he uses a locally sourced blend from Kumu Farms on Moloka‘i)
  • 1 package sweet peppers (he uses locally sourced ones from Ho‘omakua Farm on Moloka‘i)
  • 1 cup Kewpie
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Thai sweet chile sauce
  • 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 lemon (for juicing and zest)
  • 4 cups oil


1. Dice the peppers and set aside.
2. Mix the sweet creamy mustard sauce: 1⁄2 cup Kewpie and 2 tablespoons honey mustard.
3. Mix the sweet creamy chile sauce: 1 tablespoon sweet chile sauce, 1⁄2 cup Kewpie.
4. Cut your fish into 1- to 2-inch pieces.
5. Pat dry and smother ¾ of your fish in cornstarch until fully covered. Save the other ¼ for the ceviche.
6. Heat oil to 375 degrees, then cook Pualu for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown.
7. In a separate hot pan, sear your peppers and onion for 1 to 2 minutes in oil. Be careful not to overcook.
8. After your fish and veggies are cooked, it’s time to assemble your taco: lettuce, fish, seared veggies and drizzled sauces.
9. Make the ceviche by mixing the remaining diced veggies (peppers and onion) and remaining raw Pualu cubes carefully while adding a tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of the sweet creamy chile sauce (listed above) for flavor.
10. Toss your remaining lettuce blend with a 1⁄2 tablespoon lemon juice and olive oil (optional) and top with a 1⁄2 tablespoon lemon zest.
11. Plate and enjoy chilled!