Executive Chef Leanne Kamekona

Foods receive exquisite preparation. Executive Chef Leanne Kamekona served braised BBQ beef brisket, Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes and Asian pear kim chee slaw in anise oil. This year, she returns with a new dish and a new place of employment — the St. Regis Princeville Resort. Photo by Anne E. O’Malley

Kaua`i’s Locavore Pa`ina

by Anne E. O’Malley

It’s time for Kaua`i’s Locavore Pa`ina. The 4th Annual Garden Island Range and Food Festival is modeled after the annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range on the Big Island, an event that’s grown in popularity over the last 16 years.

This Kaua`i version of a feast of food grown, raised, harvested and prepared on island in delicious recipes is popular, too. It’s one of a series of initiatives born out of the larger nonprofit organization, Kaua`i Agricultural Initiative, founded in 2009 by For Kaua`i Publisher Barbara Bennett. Her intent was to encourage an increase in locally grown food, raise awareness of sustainability and green issues, benefit the growth of the food industry here and more.

In preparation, participating chefs receive a cut of meat and/or produce prior to the event and create their recipes. On the day itself, attendees graze their way through Kilohana Lua`u Pavilion, rubbing shoulders with the farmers and ranchers who provide the Kaua`i-grown products for the feast.

And neatly tucked into the festival is yet another point of sustainability — home-grown future chefs. The even considers the awarding of two, $1,000 scholarships to outstanding KCC culinary arts students an important link  to the future.