EAT THINK DRINK - Dirt to Plate Event

Our very own Wendi Akiyama, Director of Special Projects, was a panelist at the EAT THINK DRINK event this November. Thought leaders in the industry along with well known local chefs took part in the event, serving a curated menu alongside thoughtful conversations about sustainability in Hawaiʻi. See the full write up below!

The Hawaiʻi Agricultural Foundation (HAF) has gathered a diverse group of chefs, farmers, food suppliers and policy makers for the inaugural launch of EAT THINK DRINK presented by Hawaiian Airlines on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at THE MODERN HONOLULU. The new food and agricultural series is meant to spark new ideas and build a vibrant community of local consumers who are eager to learn from diverse viewpoints. Michel Nischan, CEO of Wholesome Wave, a non-profit focused on food justice and access, and a three-time James Beard Award recipient will be featured as the keynote speaker.

The topic of the first EAT THINK DRINK is “Dirt to Plate” with local panelists sharing their stories, experiences and thoughts on building a sustainable food system in Hawaiʻi. Targeted at millennial and Gen Xers, the series will feature the next generation of thought leaders. Dirt to Plate panelists are Judah Lum of Kahuku Farms, Alec Sou of Aloun Farms, Wendi Akiyama of Armstrong Produce, and Senator Donovan Dela Cruz. John Martin, publisher of VICE and Vice Munchies joins the local panel and will enrich the conversation with his perspective on how media is reshaping consumer behavior. VICE magazine was named brand of the year in 2014 by Ad Age.

“Our objective with EAT THINK DRINK is to provide information on critical food issues while also engaging and building a larger network of younger generation consumers who care about the well-being of our community,” said Denise Yamaguchi, Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation. “Our call to action through EAT THINK DRINK to join our #OnoRevolution and make a commitment to continually learn about what we eat and who produces it.”

Four events will be held annually featuring exemplary tastemakers and thought leaders from agriculture, cuisine, media, and technology. Opportunities to learn from innovative chefs and leading thinkers from our community as well as guests from different cities will make this a vibrant and buzz worthy series.

“With EAT THINK DRINK we hope to spark thoughtful, evidenced based conversations on agriculture and food,” said Yamaguchi. “We’re thrilled to kick off this new project with an exciting and diverse group of local chefs, farmers and suppliers and to enrich the discussion with our friends Michel Nischan and John Martin.”

The first hour of EAT THINK DRINK is a panel discussion and keynote by Michel Nischan. The second half is devoted to delicious food and drink. Five chefs are each creating a special dish for EAT THINK DRINK that represents their personal connection to Hawaiʻi farmers and our diverse flavors.

Participating chefs are Keith Pajinag of THE MODERN HONOLULU, Brandon Lee of Piggy Smalls, Lance Kosaka of Top of Waikiki, Robynne Maii of Fête and Chris Kajioka of Senia. The chefs were asked to create a dish that reflects their personal connection to local agriculture and food. Chef Kajioka is serving a dish that pays tribute to farmers Kurt and Pam Hirabara of Hirabara Farms. Kajioka bonded with the Waimea farmers over his request to grow a special variety of cabbage for his version of “Kalua pork and cabbage” – charred cabbage, konbu, moringa, crispy ham and Parmesan that he’ll be serving at EAT THINK DRINK. Other offerings include Kampachi ceviche with crispy quinoa, avocado puree and aji-amarillo that chef Lance Kosaka said reflects his childhood memory of fishing on a boat off the coast of Kona for the first time.

The Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization created to promote agriculture and farming. Established in 2007, HAF’s mission is to support and sustain Hawai‘i’s agricultural industry by addressing critical needs and services of farmers and the agricultural industry in Hawai‘I by better connecting farmers with the community and vice-versa.