Posts Tagged ‘HVCB’


Congratulations to Chef Robert Irvine and his crew for pulling off an amazing Hawaiian luau in just eight hours. The Dinner: Impossible – Late for the Luau – Hawaii episode was fantastic and I’m about ready to leave the house to go find some Hawaiian food.

Chef Irvine did an amazing job cooking the kalua pig in the imu, making 150 laulau, poke, squid luau, and a bunch of other dishes. Even the contemporary dishes like the Sweet Potato Risotto and Hearts of Palm Salad looked so ono! Everything looked great and the guests at Kona Village Resort obviously loved it! Big mahalo to local Chef Sam Choy for helping Chef Irvine along the way. Sam is an amazing chef and truly one of the pioneers of Hawaii cooking.

It was clear to me from the start that Chef Irvine was genuinely happy to be in Hawaii and on the Big Island. Even though he didn’t care for poi, he did have some great things to say about his time in Hawaii last November. My Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) PR team at McNeil Wilson asked Chef Irvine a few questions about his time in the islands. Here’s a bit of a “behind the scenes” look into tonight’s episode:

dinnerimpos_leftgutter.jpgDescribe your thoughts when you found out that you were doing a Hawaii challenge?

Chef Irvine: I actually had a day to unwind in Hawaii bewfore I received the challenge, which is rare for me on Dinner: Impossible. I played some golf, had a nice dinner and awoke to meet my fate. When I heard the challenge, with the beautiful Hawaiian seacape behind me, I had my usual moment of mental panic, wondering if I would have food available, equipment, a kitchen or any of the things I would need to put dinner on the table. Then it was off to the races.

When you were told you would have to put on an authentic Hawaiian luau in only eight hours, what were you feeling?

Chef Irvine: I felt immediately that there was a three hundred pound gorilla… or swine… in the room, because I knew instinctively that I was going to have to face off against Kalua Pig. I have dealt with Kalua Pig once or twice before in my career and I knew right away that in order to do it properly, I should have started at least three hours earlier. And you don’t get a second chance; once you dig it out of the ground, if it’s not properly cooked, you’ve nowhere to go… excpet maybe to just swim off into the ocean. I immediately felt better, though, once I saw Sam Choy’s smiling face.

What was the most challenging aspect of this mission?

Chef Irvine: Physically, it was very demanding dealing with the digging and the manipulation of the Kalua Pig. I’m still in pretty good shape, but I’d hate to have to go through that regimen every day. Also, I’m very intense in cooking situations, especially on these challenges, and I had to work to overcome my natural tendencies a bit to happily coexist with my native kitchen helpers, who were working on Hawaiian time.

What was the most valuable lesson/ tip that guest chef Sam Choy gave you?

Chef Irvine: First, let me say that Sam is a national treasure, not just a treasure of the Hawaiian Islands. I love him to death. The number one lesson he taught me that day was to respect the fantastic, fresh native ingredients, some of which had just been pulled out of the ocean hours before we started, and to respect the traditions of how the foods are usually prepared. I was going to be serving my food later that day to folks who grew up going to luaus, so if I tried to get fancy or mess about with their expectations, I was going to get caught out.

Describe some of the produce/ items you used in creating your menu. What were the most unique or unusual products that you had to use?

Chef Irvine: Luau leaves and Ti leaves, I had never encountered before. Learning how to tie up a lau-lau was an adventure, especially when I found out I’d be responsible for getting hundreds of them in the ground before we could cover the pig. I’d seen and tasted poi that had been comercially made before, but I’d never seen it made fresh- I credit my sous chef David for doing a great job on the poi. Even some of the foods I was familar with, like Ahi tuna, we used in new and creative ways… new to me anyway. I had never made poke before and I was able to learn from the master, Sam Choy. Now I’m hooked on Hawaiian cuisine.

What was the most memorable part of filming this episode for you?

Chef Irvine: I love the beauty and atmosphere of the islands. I learned things about the traditions that have grown up here for hundreds of years. For instance, at the end of the challenge, we served up the cheeks of the pig and the poi we had made to Sam, the King of the Feast. Very simple, but filled with meaning. I played golf with the Hawaiian sea spray coming in from the ocean, I went out on an outrigger canoe with a great local family who virtually adopted us for the afternoon.. and we beat the challenge. I think it was one of the best episodes we’ve ever done on the show!

Big mahalo to my MWC colleagues Merrissa and Rhegan for ensuring this production went as smoothly as possible. To all that tuned in, I hope you enjoyed the show!!



Food Network’s “Dinner: Impossible” airs its “Late for the Luau” episode filmed in Hawaii on Wednesday, Feb. 20. (Photo courtesy of Food Network).

Attention all Dinner: Impossible and Chef Robert Irvine fans! The Hawaii episode – “Late for the Luau” – filmed on Hawaii’s Big Island airs tomorrow night (Wednesday, Feb. 20) on the Food Network at 8 p.m. HST (10 p.m. EST). Here’s a bit of a teaser of what’s in store:

Chef Robert Irvine caters a Hawaiian luau at Kona Village Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island for 150 people. After receiving a lesson in luau food from renowned Chef Sam Choy, Irvine has to create multiple dishes using only the food and equipment provided and must rely on some of the locals to help him in the kitchen. Can Chef Irvine speed up “Hawaiian time” and complete his mission or will this be Dinner: Impossible?

This particular episode is special, not only because it was filmed in our backyard, but also because my team here at McNeil Wilson Communications secured this show for Hawaii on behalf of our client the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) as part of our public relations initiatives.

Mahalo to Darlene at HVCB for approving the project and to my associates Merrissa and Rhegan for putting it all together and helping onsite with the production. They tell me Chef Robert is a really cool guy who loved his time in Hawaii. Thanks also to Vicky and Kona Village Resort for stepping up and partnering with us, in addition to Sam Choy for taking the time to be a part of the show. And last but not least, a big mahalo to Amie, Kristen, and Natalie at Shooters, Inc. who produced the show.

This should be a lot of fun to watch. Set your DVR or make sure you’re in front of the TV at 8 p.m.


P.S. The Hawaii episode of “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” airs on Monday, March 3 on the Travel Channel! More details regarding our involvement will be shared soon.

Filming for the Pro Bowl at the Battleship Missouri.

The NFL Pro Bowl airs tomorrow on FOX (11 a.m. HST) and to ensure Oahu is well represented during the game, I spent yesterday running around Honolulu with Kevin Santos (FOX camera guy) and Brian Wallace (locally hired production assistant) to film a few activities and attractions that will air during the game. The purpose? Make viewers on the mainland wish they were in Hawaii through a series of promotional vignettes that highlight some of the great things to experience here in the islands while showing off the natural beauty of Oahu.

Oh yeah, if you didn’t already figure it out, this was a work project being done for my client the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). Curious about what/where we filmed yesterday? Here’s the list:

Too bad we didn’t have a bit more time to get to the North Shore to film some of the big wave surfing currently going on right now. Hopefully Kevin and Brian have some time today to get there. The surf is supposed to be pounding!

I’m looking forward to watching a fun game tomorrow on TV and seeing Hawaii in the national spotlight! Hope these vignettes showcase the destination well.


adrian.gifYes, the following is a bit of a pat on my own back, but it’s my blog so I can do what I want.

Congratulations to the McNeil Wilson Communications HVCB PR team for bringing home a platinum award in the prestigious HSMAI Adrian Awards competition. Kudos to my colleague Michael Ni for landing Bravo Network’s TOP CHEF season 2 finale last year which garnered the award in the “Feature Placement – Television” category. The two-hour show filmed on Hawaii’s Big Island was unreal, showcasing our state’s finest culinary assets and giving the destination priceless exposure.

It was a proud moment shared with our client, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB),who took home the lion’s share of honors for destination marketing on January 28 at the 51st Adrian Awards Gala in New York City. HVCB received eight awards – two platinum, three gold, and three silver – recognizing excellence in public relations, advertising, and web marketing in 2007 and making HVCB the top winner in the worldwide “CVB/Destination/Offices of Tourism” category.

For more details about the awards, check out the HVCB press release we distributed the other day. As we hoped would happen, HVCB and our firm received some very nice press in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser, and Pacific Business News over the past couple days.

It’s great being recognized for good work. Based on the TV shows we have slated to visit Hawaii this year, I’d say our chances of winning a few more awards next year are pretty strong.


My client, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB), launched a series of short films on showcasing local people sharing “Stories of Hawaii” about life in the islands. These aren’t your ordinary tourism promotion videos. These are films that share a unique side of Hawaii which many travelers may not know about and give them a deeper understanding of what this paradise has to offer. As you’ll see, and as the residents of Hawaii know, is place has much to offer beyond the warm sun, white sand, and awe-inspiring surf. Who wouldn’t want to visit Hawaii after watching these short films?

To view all eight videos and share them with your family and friends, visit the “Stories of Hawaii” page on this blog or visit As a person that loves food, here’s one of my favorite videos to give you an example: “Maui cuisine from farm to table with Chef James McDonald.Credit goes to Milici Valenti Ng Pack and Firefly Interactive for creating these awesome pieces.