Chef Grant MacPherson Featured at Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

Scotch Myst Chef Grant MacPhersonInternationally known Chef Grant MacPherson will be a featured chef with Jade at this year’s Hawaii’s Food & Wine Festival. He will cook at the Corks & Forks event presented by Hawaiian Airlines on Saturday, September 6, 2014. The event will feature 20 celebrity chefs and 20 of Napa Valley’s Top Wine Estates.

Last year, MacPherson cooked his famous Wild Boar Scotch egg. At this year’s festival, he’ll treat clients to a seared Kahua Ranch lamb burger with pickled red beets and Big Island goat cheese.

MacPherson migrated to Australia in the late 1980s and it was always a dream of his to work in Hawaii. That dream was fulfilled when he was hired to be part of the opening team at the Ritz-Carlton on the Big Island as the Dining Room Chef in 1990. He returned in 1999 to work alongside one of his mentors Chef Philippe Padovani. He now lives in Vegas but returns each year for a small vacation. Recently, Grant has been cooking and travelling aboard HawaiiYachts.com with Global Ocean Club in the south of France and Italy.

“Coming to Hawaii is very magical for me because of the time I’ve spent here living and working,” said MacPherson. “It’s an honor to come back as a guest of Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong and to be working with my good buddies Hubert Keller and Dean Fearing from Dallas. It’s starting to become one of the elite food and wine festivals on the globe with chefs and friends from all over the world collaborating together to use Hawaiian products. I’m honored to be a part of this event.

A native Scotsman who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and Alberta, Canada, MacPherson began his culinary journey in southern Ontario, Canada before it was fashionable. In the restaurant business now for more than 30 years, MacPherson has cooked adventurous five-star food, developing menus, designed and run kitchens, and built top-notch teams at iconic places including Raffles Hotel—the legendary “Grand Old Lady of Singapore;” the opening of Bellagio, Las Vegas; Wynn Las Vegas; Wynn Macau; Regent Hotels in Sydney and Kuala Lumpur; Maxim’s de Paris, Singapore; Four Seasons Hotels in Toronto, Vancouver, and London; Ritz Carlton, Big Island of Hawaii; and Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, West Indies.

MacPherson recently opened his global food and beverage consultancy Scotch Myst in Las Vegas, located upstairs at Granello Bakery. There, he develops, consults, and implements highly customized culinary solutions and services for restaurants and hotels worldwide. In addition to running Scotch Myst, MacPherson keeps a busy calendar touring the globe to cook at a wide variety of culinary events.

Madre Chocolate wins ‘best bean-to-bar’ award at Big Island festival

Likao KulaMadre Chocolate has won again at the Big Island Chocolate Festival to add to its growing suite of awards, this time bringing home the best bean-to-bar chocolate award in a competitive field for a 70 percent dark chocolate bar crafted with cacao sourced from the Likao Kula Farm, Holualoa, Kona.

This award, which Madre has won for three years running, was judged by chocolate luminaries “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of the Chocolate Haven and former executive pastry chef at Le Cirque, chef Donald Wressell of Guittard, chef Vincent Bourdin of Valrhona USA, and chef Stanton Ho of Amoretti.

David Elliott and Nat Bletter, cofounders of Madre Chocolate, were ecstatic at the news of the win, and credit much of the chocolate’s exceptional flavor to the hard work of the cacao grower, Gini Choobua, with whom they have collaborated over the last few years to perfect a post-harvest fermentation technique that highlights exquisite gooseberry and brazil nut notes in the cacao her farm produces.

Choobua’s farm is located at 1600 ft. – extremely high altitude for cacao production. The cold nighttime temperatures at this altitude are considered by many to be an obstacle to producing premium quality cacao, but Choobua has combined innovative techniques and careful study to defy the odds and produce incomparable cacao with a beautiful complexity of flavor. And the cool temperatures at this latitude and altitude do give the cacao a highly desirable quality: it produces an exceedingly creamy chocolate with an incredibly luscious texture due to the unique qualities of the natural cocoa butter found in the high altitude cacao beans.

Madre Chocolate has won 11 awards in the past two years, including an International Chocolate Award in London, making it the only award-winning chocolate company to use U.S.-grown cacao and the first Hawaiian food producer to win two “Good Food Awards.”

“We’ve been fortunate to win national and international awards that help bring recognition for the world-class cacao and chocolate that’s now being produced in Hawaii,” said the company’s “Chocolate Flavormeister” Nat Bletter.

Bletter added that “the representation and quality of locally-made chocolate at the festival is really impressive and is growing every year.”

Madre strives to connect chocophiles with the roots of chocolate, leading a variety of delightful chocolate events on a weekly basis, from cacao farm and chocolate factory tours to bean-to-bar chocolate making classes, whiskey and chocolate pairings, traditional mole-making classes, and an intensive cacao boot camp aimed at training a new generation of chocolate makers. This is what makes Madre Chocolate one of the only U.S. grown chocolates that is exported around the world for everyone to enjoy.