Let’s Talk Food: Christmas with the Chefs

The Kona Kohala Chefs Association of America and Sysco are holding their 32nd premier holiday extravaganza, Christmas with the Chefs, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm on Saturday, December 2 at the Kona Beach Hotel at the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha.

Proceeds will benefit culinary students at the University of Hawaii, Palamanui Campus, as well as members of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association looking to further their education. The silent auction will benefit students through the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs and the Jean Hull Endowment Fund.

Plan to enjoy culinary tasting stations, local beer, handcrafted cocktails, worldly wines, live music and dancing under the stars.

A VIP table of 10 including wine and table service is $1,750, with individual tickets $150 per person. Courtyard by Marriott’s King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel offers special guest rates from $189 per night, waived destination fees and $10 off parking, so be sure to let them know when you make your reservations.

Culinary arts students in Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Arts program will not have a booth this year, as students will be assisting the chefs with their creations. Working side-by-side with participating chefs helps students and gives them job opportunities. This is an excellent way for chefs to develop students who have so much talent and potential.

Associate Professor/Coordinator Paul Herlein of the Culinary Arts Program at Hawaii Community College, Campus Palamanui, will also be on hand to talk about their Early College Culinary Academy at Konawaena High School starting this fall. We hope some of his students will attend the event. This gives these students a year in the culinary program at no cost to them.

The course schedule teaches students an introductory course in the culinary industry, sanitation, purchasing and dining room operations. These courses give students an understanding of what it takes to run a business in the culinary industry.

Chef Paul shared these recipes that would be great for your holiday gathering:

Salmon Gravlax

1 kilogram salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, or fresh salmon fillet

1 ounce of sugar

1 ounce kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh dill, coarsely chopped

Mix the sugar, salt, pepper and dill to make the dry cure. Place the salmon or ono on a large sheet of cheesecloth. Season the fish liberally from the fillet side with a light drink. Wrap the fillet and twist slightly so that it can drain of the accumulated water. Place a weight or board on the fish, dry in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Turn the piece twice each day. Pour out the drops after the second day. Slice the fish very thinly into crostini shapes and reserve.

Sun-dried tomato spread

For 16 pieces

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 piece green onion, finely minced

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt and ground white pepper

Combine all ingredients and taste for proper seasoning.

Lomi Lomi Tomato

For 16 pieces

1 cup peeled tomato, diced

2 tablespoons of white onion, finely chopped

1 piece finely chopped green onion

Hawaiian or kosher salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and taste for proper seasoning.


For 16 pieces

Cut 16 slices of French bread diagonally, brush with olive oil and toast in the oven or toaster. Spread a thin layer of the sun-dried tomatoes on the crostini. Garnish with a thin slice of gravlax and add some tomato lomi lomi for garnish.

This recipe is from ACF Kona Kohala Chefs member Suzanne Bearth, owner of Suzanne’s Bake Shop. She opened her bakery in 1980 and offered all kinds of treats for 20 years.

Magic sands

Drizzled with chocolate frosting, they’re named after Kona’s Magic Sands Beach.

1-1/3 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter

2 egg yolks

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup ground macadamia nuts

1/4 cup chopped mac nuts for garnish

3 squares (one ounce each) white chocolate

Beat together the brown sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in the flour and crushed nuts until smooth. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight until set.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat or spray a sponge with non-stick spray.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out with a floured 2-inch round cake pan. Arrange cookies 1-1/2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

When completely cooled, drizzle the cookies with melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed macadamia nuts.

The Kona Kohala Chefs Association of America is the nation’s largest nonprofit professional organization for chefs and cooks. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala Section is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, manufacturers and culinary enthusiasts. The ACF Koa Kohala Chefs Association Charitable Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Check out their website at www.konakohalachefs.org.

Email Audrey Wilson at [email protected].

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