Wine, Dine With Kauai’s Best

Students from last year’s Po‘ipu Food & Wine Festival serve up ‘ono grinds.

Aside from offering guests the finest in South Shore food and drinks, Po‘ip˛ Food & Wine Festival provides college students with a chance to explore careers in the culinary arts.

The fourth annual Po‘ipū Food & Wine Festival will take place next month at The Shops at Kukui‘ula and Kōloa Landing Resort on Kaua‘i’s South Shore.

The four-day festival — which runs from Wednesday, Nov. 6 to Saturday, Nov. 9 — offers foodies the a unique opportunity to enjoy authentic local delicacies, while also learning from the island’s best chefs. Beyond the amazing food and wine, the festival is designed to recognize and promote those involved in the culinary experience from start to finish — local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and producers to world-class chefs and restaurants, particularly those that embrace sustainability and locally sourced ingredients.

“By recognizing Kaua‘i’s local providers, we hope to educate the public about the importance of buying and eating locally,” says Veronica Lovesy, president of Po‘ipū Beach Foundation.

The event also celebrates Kaua‘i Community College’s Culinary Arts Program by recognizing its success in the community and bringing awareness to a career in the culinary arts for the youth of Kaua‘i.

Chefs Rafael Camarillo and Mark Oyama, Po‘ipu Beach Foundation president Veronica Lovesy, and Koloa Landing Resort director of catering Shaun Hinson are ready for this year’s event.

The festival opens with the Kaua‘i Culinary Market from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Nov. 6 at The Shops at Kukui‘ula. There, guests will be able to discover the freshest island ingredients, exploring locally grown fruits, vegetables and coffee, along with spices, jams and cheeses throughout the open-air space.

Then, at 5 p.m. the same night, the Kaua‘i Community College Culinary Arts Program will take the stage with a cooking demonstration, featuring the students and their skills as they prepare tantalizing local specialties featuring locally grown ingredients. The demonstration is free, but plates are available for purchase with proceeds benefitting the program.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, local chefs offer demonstrations and hands-on cooking classes at various times and locations throughout the day. Classes are provided by The Club at Kukui‘ula, HoloHolo Grill at Kōloa Landing Resort and Tortilla Republic.

New to the festival this year is the Po‘ipū Pā‘ina, an “epicurean event” featuring Hawai‘ibased chefs and KCC culinary students, at Kōloa Landing Resort. The event offers local delicacies served street style with an outdoor beer and wine garden at The Shops at Kukui‘ula. (The pā‘ina replaces the annual spring gala that was hosted at KCC in year’s past to support students. )

“This event could not exist without chef Mark Oyama and his team at KCC,” Lovesy adds. “The community support for the (festival) has been incredible and we anticipate that the new Po‘ipū Pā‘ina will draw upward of 500 people to celebrate the best culinary offerings on the island, as well as our KCC culinary arts student and their passion for the bounty our ‘āina and ocean provides to us.”

Attendees will enjoy small plates from more than 12 local and Hawai‘i-based chefs along with wine pairings. Sam Choy’s Poke Contest winner will also be featured. Local musicians will fill the air with island tunes and proceeds from a silent auction will benefit the culinary program. This event will be on the grounds of Kōloa Landing Resort.

Since its inception, Po‘ipū Food & Wine Festival has raised funds for an array of projects that support every aspect of the South Shore community. Projects completed with these funds include the Maha‘ulepu Heritage Trail Guide, Kōloa Heritage Trail, the building and maintenance of the Po‘ipū Beach Park children’s playground, Prince Kuhio Celebration of the Arts, Hawaiiana Festival, Mālama Ola and Na Lima Hana, and the South Shore’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Funds have also been used for important environmental causes, including assistance in the development of a monk seal documentary in support of efforts to educate the public about the Po‘ipū baby monk seals. Additionally, the foundation has partnered with County of Kaua‘i to assist with the beach nourishments efforts on the South Shore. In 2017, Po‘ipū Beach Foundation also partnered with the Hawai‘i Community Foundation to assist those families in Kōloa affected by the floods.

Po‘ipū Beach Foundation is a nonprofit formed in 2000 with the specific purpose of enhancing the social, cultural and physical environment of Kaua‘i and, in particular, the island’s South Shore.

Po‘ipū Wine and Food Festival is one of the organization’s signature events. According to Lovesy, its mission is to attract attention to the extraordinary culinary talent and the diversity of quality locally grown products to ensure Kaua‘i maintains its competitive edge as a world-class destination.

“Kaua‘i is a small island with unlimited opportunities and we hope the annual Po‘ipū Wine and Food Festival celebrates the incredible culinary offerings available on the island … from fish to farm to fork, we have the ultimate table to share with our neighbors and visitors,” Lovesy adds. “It is also very important for this event to showcase culinary as an excellent career choice with

Kaua‘i Community College, named the best community college in the state, as the vehicle to provide the foundation for a lucrative career for our youth. The KCC culinary arts students will carry Kaua‘i’s food legacy forward.”

For tickets, registration and more information, visit poipufoodandwinefestival.com.