New Book Blends Hawaii Recipes, Culinary Nostalgia

foodtowritehomeRestauranteur Bill Tobin, co-owner of Tiki’s Grill & Bar in Honolulu, has released a new book, “Food To Write Home About: Hawaii,” describing it as a “love story about the food and people of the place he has come to call home for the last 26 years.”

The book chronicles Tobin’s culinary journey as told to award-winning travel writer Brian Berusch, and includes recipes from 21 Hawaii chefs, from up-and-coming talent to legends like Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, and Chef Mavro.

Tobin moved to Hawaii from a small farming town in Nebraska to attend college, and quickly fell in love with the people and culture, making it his home and starting a family.

Presented in a unique format, the 176-page tome melds photos by Olivier Koning with correspondences from a loving son to his mother. Readers follow Tobin as he tastes his way through paradise and evolves his palate, just as a life in the restaurant world unfolds before him. Readers will experience what it means to embrace new flavors and allow them to inspire.

As the story progresses, the conversation inevitably veers toward the innovative chefs who are turning the perception of “Hawaiian cuisine” on its head. Leaving “Asian fusion” fare in the dust, this new crop of globally savvy culinary talent is utilizing local ingredients to create a completely new category of Hawaiian cuisine.

Tobin reflects on the ingredients and dishes that transported him from the farmlands of Nebraska to Honolulu, and Brian Berusch gets inside the kitchens (and minds) of Hawaii’s top chefs. What’s revealed in the book blends nostalgia and comfort with groundbreaking dishes—each of which is detailed in recipe format.

Food To Write Home About includes a wide range of chefs from the State of Hawaii, starting with some of the most recognized forefathers of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. Also included are a number of second and third generation chefs who trained under these notable chefs, now having branched out on their own and incorporating global practices and techniques.

Some additional chefs included in the book include: Ed Kenny, Andrew Le, Lee Ann Wong, Chris Kajioka and more.

Food To Write Home About is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com or can be purchased at Tiki’s Grill & Bar. It will be available in additional retail outlets on the island of Oahu. You can visit FoodToWriteHomeAbout.com/ to purchase as well.

Hawaii chefs featured on ‘Moveable Feast’

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Hawaii-based chefs Lee Anne Wong, Jon Matsubara, Peter Merriman, Jim Babian, Isaac Bancaco, and Kyle Kawakami are featured on three upcoming episodes of the public television series “Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.” The first Hawaii episode, on Oahu, premieres Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m. on PBS Hawaii.

“I’m excited for people outside of Hawaii to see the agricultural community and how Hawaii is so much richer than just white sand beaches,” Merriman told PBS Hawaii. “We have a deep culture.”

He also recalled “[‘Moveable Feast’ host] Pete Evans and crew getting stuck in their rental car at Kahua Ranch! They had to get towed out!”

Oahu – Premieres Feb. 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Chef Lee Anne Wong and host Pete Evans meet fish guru Brooks Takenaka at the Honolulu Fish Auction. Then, chef Jon Matsubara shows Evans how to harvest pineapple. Matsubara prepares his smoking mai tai cocktail, hibachi-style Kauai shrimp, and Kahaluu roast pork belly. Wong cooks up fresh opah, and Evans prepares ahi poke. Guests enjoy the feast at Maunalua Bay.

Maui – Premieres Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m.

2014 Maui Chef of the Year Isaac Bancaco, and founder of the mobile kitchen Maui Fresh Streatery Kyle Kawakami, show Evans around Maui. Their adventure starts with some off-shore fishing. Back on land, the team prepares a feast at Noho‘ana Farm, known for its taro and poi.

The Big Island – Premieres Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Chef Peter Merriman takes Evans up the Kohala Mountains to Kahua Ranch, where they pick up Wagyu beef. Meanwhile, chef Jim Babian sources abalone from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii. The chefs meet up at Merriman’s Restaurant to prepare wood-grilled abalone; pipikaula; pan-seared kampachi with lilikoi brown butter sauce; and lamb curry with fresh ginger, turmeric, coconut, and pineapple-mint garnish.

PBS Hawaii is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Hawaii’s sole member of the trusted Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches people’s lives. We bring the world to Hawaii and Hawaii to the world.