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Meet The Chefs Who Support Our Beef Industry At Mealani’s Taste Of The Hawaiian Range

FROM: Fern Gavelek Communications, 808-329-0833
High res digital event photos available from

CONTACT: Jeri Moniz, 808-960-8411

July 29, 2011

KOHALA COAST, HAWAI‘I, THE BIG ISLAND—Dry-aged, 100 percent grass-fed beef—prepared using local produce and products—is what’s for dinner at the 16th Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival on Friday, Sept. 30 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Thirty-five chefs are preparing a wide variety of succulent beef cuts—everything from tongue to tail—to wow attendees from 6-8 p.m. That includes beef heart, cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

In addition, some of the chefs will be concocting culinary creations using other forage-fed meats that are free from added antibiotics and hormones: lamb, mutton, goat and USDA-inspected wild boar.

It’s all part of the culinary adventure at the annual event that showcases the isle’s grass-fed beef industry while bringing together local ranchers, farmers, restaurateurs and eager eaters to celebrate a bounty of locally produced food.

While “tasting,” festival goers can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at gaily decorated vendor booths and talk story with the people who make a living growing and producing our food. Taste also affords local food producers the opportunity to hookup with isle chefs, wholesale buyers and consumers.

Pre-Taste activities include a culinary demo, with sampling, on how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef. Time is 3 p.m. for the 2011 installment of Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101. This year’s guest presenter is KTA’s Derek Kurisu of TV’s “Living in Paradise.”  KTA sells grass-fed beef under its Mountain Apple brand.

When at Taste, be sure to say hello and savor the delicious food presented by some of our isle’s top grass-fed beef supporters. They include Executive Chef James Babian of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. The Ka‘upulehu resort uses a whole, dry-aged, grass-fed beef carcass every week to stock its kitchens and has produced fabulous new menu items like Big Island Beef Cheek Terrine and Tri Tip with Crispy Oysters for the award-winning Pahu i‘a restaurant. For this year’s Taste, Four Seasons is challenged with using goat, which was a big hit in 2010 when prepared by O‘ahu Chef Ed Kenney of Town restaurant.

Look for Chef Louis Mellaci, executive chef of Roy’s Waikoloa Bar and Grill, who is a strong proponent of local beef, sourcing it for the restaurant’s filet mignon, osso buco and Bruddah Lou’s Bombucha Beef Ribs. This year at Taste, Chef Mellaci is assigned to use beef heart and he’s working on creating a sausage.

“I feel the quality from our local beef is better,” explains Chef Mellaci. “It’s natural and not mass-produced. I like to let cows be cows and be pasture-raised. This comes through in the meat’s flavor—it tastes like Hawai‘i. It’s a privilege and honor to serve it.”

There are numerous other grass-fed beef proponents to meet at Taste including Chef Joshua Ketner of Hilo Bay Café, Chef Ken Takahashi of Honolulu Burger Company, Chef Kapo Kealoha of 4 Kings Kitchen, Chef Casey Halpern of Café Pesto-Hilo and Chef Michelle Yamaguchi of ‘Umeke Market. 

Tickets prices for the evening Taste and Cooking 101 demo are conveniently sold online at Taste tickets remain priced at $40 presale and $60 at the door, while the fee for the cooking demo is $10. Taste tickets are also for sale at the Hilton’s Essence Spa Shop. For general event information, phone 808-960-8411.

The Hilton Waikoloa Village offers Taste of the Hawaiian Range Kama‘aina Room and Ticket Packages (code TST) starting at $229 plus tax for one night stay on Sept. 30 and two event tickets. Pre- or post-night accommodations are available starting from $149 per night (code MTH). Visit or phone 808-886-1234 and ask for the “Taste of the Hawaiian Room Deal” specials.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411, as soon as possible and no later than September 23, 2011.

Mealani A Taste of the Hawaiian Range provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR,, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Big Island Resource Conservation & Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools and KTA Super Stores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit