Archive for the ‘On The Job’ Category


It’s been an incredibly fun week traveling to Kauai and Maui with the TODAY Show crew to shoot the opening travelogue introducing the Hawaiian Islands. All done on behalf of my client, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The show goes live tomorrow, Monday, May 20 at 1 a.m. from The Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki.

The public is welcome to view the live broadcast starting from Waikiki Beach. Special hotel access will only be given to guests. Make your signs and head on down for a chance to be on TV.

The photo above was taken on Monday at National Tropical Botanical Garden’s McBryde Garden with Kumu Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza and her beautiful halau. The photo below was taken on Wednesday as we watched the sunrise on Haleakala.


I won’t give away anymore. I hear there’s lots of fun planned for the thee hours. You’ll have to tune in to see where the start of TODAY’s Great American Adventure takes them in the islands of aloha. All five hosts are here too having a good time. Don’t believe me? Follow the hashtag #TODAYinHawaii on Twitter and Facebook and see for yourself.

Head to bed now, set your alarm for 11 p.m., and enjoy the show!



Photo by Ed Morita

Pictured from left: Dean Okimoto, president of the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, Hiilei Kawelo, executive director of Paepae o Heeia, Rick Barboza, hanaola director of Papahana Kuaola, HFWF co-chairs Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, Michael Pecsok, vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Leeward Community College, and John Morton, vice president for community colleges for the University of Hawaii. [Photo Credit: Hawaii Food & Wine Festival]

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (HFWF), the state’s premier culinary event now in its third year, presented checks to five local nonprofit beneficiaries totaling $210,000 on Monday, February 4, in a special presentation at Kapiolani Community College’s Ka Ikena dining room.

The net proceeds raised during the 2012 festival went to the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation ($80,000), Culinary Institute of the Pacific ($80,000), Leeward Community College Culinary Arts Program ($30,000), Paepae o Heeia ($10,000), and Papahana Kuaola ($10,000). Since its inception in 2011, HFWF has raised nearly $500,000 for these organizations.

“In partnership with the tourism industry, we created this festival in 2011 to give travelers to Hawaii and residents alike a world-class food festival featuring top chefs and wine makers from around the globe, while showcasing the bounty of incredible ingredients the islands have to offer,” said Roy Yamaguchi, HFWF co-chair and owner of Roy’s Restaurants. “As a result of the festival’s success the past two years, we’ve been able to fulfill the festival’s equally important mission of providing our beneficiaries funding to support their important food sustainability, cultural, and educational efforts.“

HFWF co-chairs and chefs Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, owner of Alan Wong’s Restaurants, presented the checks during a Mahalo Reception thanking the festival’s partners and participants for making last year’s festival a sold out success.

“The support from the visitor industry and local community has been tremendous and instrumental in our ability to offer unique events that sets our festival apart from others across the country,” Wong said. “The guest chefs love coming to Hawaii to cook, attendees really enjoy the opportunity to learn about where the food comes from and meet the chefs, and everyone leaves inspired by the experience. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Through the industry’s efforts in 2012, more than 4,000 visitors and residents from around the world attended 15 events at six venues on Oahu featuring 61 chefs, four master sommeliers, 25 top-tier winemakers and 31 local farmers, artisan food producers and innovators. These chefs and participants shared their expertise and skills with more than 200 culinary students from Kapiolani Community College, Leeward Community College, Maui College, and Kauai Community College who were able to work side-by-side with some of the most respected names in the industry for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We are very grateful to receive this donation which will help finance the construction of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) at Diamond Head, an advance culinary/pastry facility that will offer students new opportunities currently unavailable in Hawaii,” said Conrad Nonaka, CIP director. “The University of Hawaii community colleges offer a two-year associate degree for culinary students through its six culinary training programs on the four major islands. However, the CIP will provide students the opportunity to gain their third year professional certificate, as well as the ability to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree through UH West Oahu.”

“The Bounty of Heeia event allows us to showcase our premise and education programs to a much broader audience that we would not otherwise reach and this generous donation will go towards our aina based education programs increasing our capacity to serve the community,” said Rick Barboza, hanaola director of Papahana Kuaola. “As a member of Papahana Kuaola, I would like to extend my sincerest aloha and mahalo to all the people from the festival, in particular Roy and Denise Yamaguchi and Alan Wong for including our organization in this spectacular event.”

The 2013 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is set for Sept. 1-8, 2013, and will kick off with an event on Maui (Sept. 1) before returning to Oahu (Sept. 5-8) for the main events. For more information, please visit or follow the festival via social media on TwitterInstagram  and Facebook for updates.

Photo courtesy of PRIMA Hawaii

A part of my job in travel public relations I enjoy is the ability to bring the excitement of Hawaii to cities across North America. This month, my client the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau is supporting one of Oahu’s hottest and newest restaurants, PRIMA, which is “popping up” at Iorio restaurant on Monday, August 20 at 6:30 p.m.. It’s a great opportunity to bring a new taste of Hawaii to Portland and share the story of the exciting culinary evolution taking place in the Hawaiian Islands.

Rising star chefs and co-owners Lindsey Ozawa and Alejandro “Aker” Briceno, along with chef de cuisine Kevin Lee, of PRIMA will offer an eight-course modern American menu honoring Hawaii’s ethic diversity, while featuring handmade pasta and creative preparations using the freshest fish, beef, and produce from the Aloha State and Portland area. This is the first time Iorio owners Chris Thompson and Hilary Benson are opening up their establishment for such an event. The menu (subject to change) looks like this:

Smoked Fish
Avocado Puree, Heart of Palm, Purslane, Olive Oil

Coppa di Testa “Adobo”
Green Mango, Peanut, Radish, Patis, and “Fried Rice”

Oregon Mushroom, Snow Peas, Hijiki, Bamboo Shoot, Hijiki, foie gras butter

“Panang” Curry Clams and Dungeness Crab
Dried Shrimp, Potato, Lime, Chili, Ikan Bilis

Venison Sausage
Celery root puree, Mango Mostarda, Brussel Sprouts

Ricotta Mousse, Almond Cake Powder, Lime Butter, Financier Chip, Apricot Sorbet


Petit Fours

Chefs Alejandro “Aker” Briceno (far left) and Lindsey Ozawa (far right) of PRIMA celebrate the opening of The Whole Ox Butcher and Deli chef/owner Robert McGee in Kakaako.

The chefs will be joined by Dave Power, owner of The Feral Pig on Kauai and one of Hawaii’s most respected bartenders, who will offer a selection of craft cocktails that will pair nicely with the menu. Power’s “from scratch” approach to cocktails using the freshest local ingredients, homemade bitters, and other creative influences has put him among the elite of Hawaii’s bartending scene.

Dave Power (right) and me exploring Menehune Ditch and Makaweli Poi Factory earlier this year. BTW, this dude’s cocktails are pretty amazing.

Since opening in September 2011, PRIMA quickly asserted itself as one of Oahu’s top restaurants with its casual ambiance, commitment to sourcing the best quality ingredients from Hawaii and around the world, and approachable food that is familiar to the average diner, yet innovative in flavor combinations, technical preparation, and artistic plating that real “foodies” can appreciate. Ozawa and Briceno have cooked in some of the top kitchens across the country, including the award-winning Nobu Waikiki. They are also co-owners of V Lounge, a destination for some of the best kiawe-fired pizzas in Hawaii, and previously operated Melt, a popular food truck serving gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that closed last year. Lee left his position as sous chef at New York’s Dovetail restaurant to join the PRIMA kitchen last year. There’s definitely firepower and talent here.

There will be one-seating only, so space is limited. Cost is $65 per person, plus gratuity. Cocktails and beverages are additional. For reservations, call Iorio at 503-445-4716.

This promises to be a great evening of delicious food and inspiring stories that will have diners leaving with a fresh, new perspective on Hawaii cuisine. I hope to see you there!

PRIMA Hawaii “Pop Up” at Iorio
Monday, August 20, 2012 | 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $65/person, plus gratuity. Cocktails and beverages extra.
912 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, OR 97214
Phone: 503-445-4716

Update 7/29/12:
Got confirmation from former He’eia Kea Pier General Store and Deli Chef Mark Noguchi  that the pier will be featured on the Monday, August 6 episode of DDD.

Update 7/30/12:
Saw Camille Komine, chef/owner of Camille’s on Wheels, post to Facebook that she’ll be featured on the Monday, July 30 episode of DDD titled “Coast to Coast Chow. There’s also a viewing party at The Grove in Kailua at 7 p.m. Get out and support!!

I was excited to read in Erika Engle’s column (Honolulu Star-Advertiser) today that Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri will be featuring Oahu’s Jawaiian Irie Jerk Restaurant in tonight’s episode “Dynamic Dishes.” Not because of the food since I’ve never been there. But because I’m a fan of the show with a soft spot for seeing anything Hawaii featured on national television. What can I say, it’s the destination marketing/PR guy in me.

The article mentions the other Oahu restaurant locations are top secret, but those following The Match Cut Crew production company on Twitter during their time here know exactly where they filmed. The crew would tweet the location after wrapping. I won’t spoil the surprise entirely, so go back to their April tweets if your curious. They did manage to get to one of my favorites, Heeia Kea Pier General Store and Deli. I was fortunate enough to be invited by my pal chef/owner Mark “Gooch” Noguchi to be one of the “fake customers” and got to meet Guy. Cool stuff.

Hats off to the Oahu Visitors Bureau and my PR colleagues at Stryker Weiner and Yokota Public Relations for getting Guy back to the islands to explore more of the diverse culinary offerings Hawaii has to offer. It’s great inspiration for travelers heading this way. It’s great for the destination. And it’s really great for the small businesses that reap the benefits of the priceless exposure. I’ve heard from others who have been on the show that business goes through the roof once they are seen on Triple D. The brand is strong!

Okay, and I saw them pull into Fresh Catch in Kaneohe right after they finished up at Heeia Pier. But that’s all I’m telling you.

Check your local listings and enjoy the show!

This weekend I’m at the beautiful Keystone Resort in Colorado attending TBEX ’12 representing the Hawaiian Island (and my client the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau). I’m actually here with a few other Hawaii delegates, including my colleague Noreen Kam and Hawaii-based bloggers Malia Yoshioka and Kim Rodgers.

It’s an incredible opportunity to network with and pitch story ideas to some of the top names in travel writing/blogging today. And while many have already made their presence felt at the opening reception at The Keystone Outpost last night at the delicious “Taste of Vail” event, there has been one other attendee here that’s been having an impact. THE ALTITUDE!

Coming from sea level of Hawaii to the “Mile High City” of Denver in 6.5 hours, it’s been an interesting transition. So far, I’ve fared pretty well, but I know the altitude has taken its toll on others. I’ve been taking the sage advice of friends to keep hydrated, lay low on the alcohol, and go slow. The water part is easy, but the other two are going to be a challenge with so many great events and warm Keystone hospitality being rolled our at our every turn. Plus this mountain resort has so much to see and do outside the conference agenda. It’s gorgeous here!

Well enough of this, time to get back to business. Opening keynote starts at 9 a.m. I’ll blog with you later.


Keystone Resort Village

Gondolas to The Keystone Outpost at 11,600+ feet elevation. Incredible ride and views from the top.

Heading up the mountain with Kim Rodgers and Malia Yoshioka. Shaka! \m/

Got to touch a little of the leftover snow too!

Incredible mountain views from The Keystone Outpost.

The food at “A Taste of Vail” was delicious as well with dishes like this one from Beano’s Cabin – Suckling Berkshire Pig Ragout, House Made Pappardelle Pasta, Peach Preserves.

Gondolas to head back down the mountain.


Today, I attended the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival mahalo luncheon hosted by Chef Roy Yamaguchi at his Waikiki restaurant and learned the inaugural event raised $250,000 for its beneficiaries – Hawaii Ag Foundation ($140,000) and Culinary Institute of the Pacific ($100,000). The festival also gave partners Paepae O Heeia and Papahana Kuaola checks of $5,000 each.

Event co-chairs (and chefs) Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, were quick to thank the many individuals, companies, and sponsors involved who gave their time and resources to make it possible.

They also announced the dates of the 2nd Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival which will be September 6-8, 2012. Save the date and check their website for further details.

As a lover of food, I still can’t believe I was away on business and unable to attend this year’s festivities. However, after hearing all the positive comments, I’m certainly looking forward to a delicious event next year.

Congratulations to all!


Hawaiian Airlines' new fleet of Airbus A330s features a personal, on-demand entertainment system in every coach seat.

I had the incredible opportunity to attend Hawaiian Airlines’ blessing and ceremony today as it introduced its fleet of the future by welcoming the first of 27 new long-range Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft joining the company’s fleet this decade. The new A330 is named for the constellation Makalii, otherwise known as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, which guided ancient Polynesian voyagers across the Pacific and was seen high in the sky when Inter-Island Airways (renamed Hawaiian Airlines in 1941) launched its first scheduled flight on November 11, 1929. Each of Hawaiian’s new A330s are being named after a star or constellation used by Polynesian voyagers for celestial navigation.

There were several hundred people in attendance who were greeted by traditional chants and listened to remarks by Governor Linda Lingle, Airbus Americas Chairman T. Allan McArtor, and Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley. Hawaiian’s new aircraft will offer improved onboard amenities as well as greater operating range that will enable growth and expansion in the years ahead. Starting a new era for Hawaiian Airlines, the company will inaugurate service with its first new 294-seat, wide-body A330-200 aircraft this Friday, June 4, on a flight departing Honolulu for Los Angeles.

Reinforcing the ceremony’s theme of looking to the future, the event concluded with a surprise performance by the award-winning, 110-member Pearl City High School Marching Band, who were joined by 80 keiki hula dancers of the renowned Halau Hula Olana. The took the Continental Airlines hanger by storm and belted out a few songs that got everyone’s blood pumping.

Then it was time for the moment I was looking forward to most…boarding Makalii for a tour. And for the record, yes, there is a new airplane smell. 🙂 The inside of the Airbus A330 was beautiful as expected. First Class seating was impressive as it should be, but coach seating (in a 2-4-2 configuration) was surprisingly spacious and each headrest is equipped with a personal on-demand, state-of-the-art entertainment system.

I bumped into Allan Staker on the plane, who is part of the Hawaiian Airlines Transformation Team, and he was kind enough to give me an overview of the entertainment system’s capabilities. As an iPhone user, I was stoked to find out there’s a USB port in each headrest to charge gadgets, but there’s much more. Here’s what you can expect to keep you busy on-board for a nominal fee:

Hawaiian Airlines Transformation Team Director Allan Staker explains the features of the on-board, on-demand entertainment system found on the new Airbus A330-200s joining the fleet.

So as you can see, passengers aboard a future Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330 are in for quite a treat. There more photos from today’s ceremony posted to my Flickr account and also a few more below

My co-workers Noreen Kam (@buzzbunny) and Erin Kinoshita (@shmerin) aboard Makalii in First Class. The touch screen entertainment systems are much larger and have iPod capabilities.

First Class passengers on Hawaiian’s new A330 aircraft will enjoy the added advantages of larger in-seat LCD screens and iPOD compatibility.

Passengers flying in coach class on Hawaiian’s A330 will enjoy the comforts of the new aircraft, including more legroom and a state-of-the-art on-demand entertainment system. High-resolution LCD touch screen monitors in each seatback allow each passenger to choose from a wide selection of movies and video programs, audio channels and video games. Each system also includes a USB port allowing connectivity for personal media players.

Entertainment systems are equipped with special screen protectors for privacy so your seat neighbor can't see what you're watching or playing.

And last but not least, this new fleet of Airbus planes provides Hawaiian with incredible potential to connect Hawaii with the rest of the world. The A330’s give Hawaiian an increased operating range of 6,050 nautical miles and the capability to expand its service area on both sides of the Pacific by offering nonstop flights between Hawaii and points in eastern Asia and all of North America.

Hawaiian second A330, Hokulea, arrived yesterday and a third plane will join the fleet in November with more on the way in 2011. Then the next-generation A350s will be here in 2017 and will seat 322 passengers in a two-class configuration and have an operating range of 8,300 nautical miles.  This provides Hawaiian with the capability to offer nonstop flights to Hawaii from points in Asia, Australasia, the Americas, and Europe.

I’m excited about the future of Hawaiian Airlines and I hope you are too!

Disclosure: Hawaiian Airlines is a client of Anthology Marketing Group, the company I’m employed by.  I attended today’s Airbus A330-200 blessing and ceremony as a guest, travel industry representative, and social media enthusiast. I’ve never been in a brand new airplane before, so if this post sounds like I was a kid in a candy store…well…I kind of was.

[All photos and video taken by me with my stock Canon EOS Rebel T1i.]


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