Do you know what Kauai is not known for? Food. There are however, chefs willing to experiment and a die-hard ‘eat local’ ethos. Somehow, and I’m not quite sure how, I ended up at the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair last a few days ago. It was like every county fair ever with rickety rides, fried treats, un-winnable games and pigs. I was treated to something special though: the “Kauai Coffee Celebrity Chef Cookoff for Charity.” The best and brightest chefs on the island came out to cook local ingredients and help out some great charities.
One of the most innovative and interesting entries was a ‘Beet Cotton Candy, Coconut Crème, and Coffee Infused Waffle Cone “ice cream cone”’ entered by Collin Darrel of Grow Culture.
On the other end of the food spectrum there were blue ribbons given for the biggest jackfruit, tastiest mangoes and most abundant star fruit, all grown in the locals’ backyards. I’m not saying we didn’t eat the fried Oreos and caramel apples (because we did) but the highlight of the evening really was the local abundance made tasty in the chef’s competition.
Stuffed silly, we wandered through the 4H livestock competition (there was a huge pig named ‘Frieda Carlo’- true story), tried to knock over milk bottles and visited the entertainment tent where there were taiko drummers and ‘Las Vegas Hypnotist’ Ralph Maxwell.
It really was like every county fair anywhere and made me realize that it doesn’t get any more locavore than your neighbors prize winning green beans or the local 4H kids’ calf entries. Next time yours comes to town. Go. Eat.