Giving back to your community can be fun and rewarding for your team!

Giving back to your community can be fun and rewarding for your team! 

The Waikīkī Community Center

 hosted the 32nd Annual Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge on Sunday, May 7, 2017. We bought a team sponsorship and asked our ohana (staff) to come and compete against some other very good companies. We were sandwiched between two powerhouses: Hawaii Electric and Hawaiian Airlines. We ended up making it to the semi-finals in the outrigger canoe race. It was an enjoyable hands-on day of showcasing our teamwork and highlighting Hawaiian values.

This annual event draws both locals and visitors for an exciting day of team canoe races, stand-up paddle races, and kayak races at Duke’s lagoon and beach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort. The day’s events include community teams competing in classic Hawaiian watersports. The outrigger canoe race is an open-ocean, quarter-mile competition open to all skill levels. Teams also participate in the stand-up paddle race in Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon where paddlers race from the makai end of the lagoon and finish at the mauka end. New this year, teams also had the opportunity to compete in a two-person kayak race in the lagoon. 

As Hawai‘i’s greatest waterman, Duke Kahanamoku brought great honor and dignity to Hawaiian watersports through his stellar achievements as a surfer and Olympic swimmer and through his love for the ocean. Each year the competition honors those who, in the spirit of Duke, made a significant contribution to Hawai‘i’s watersports culture. The annual fundraiser supports the multi-generational services the Waikīkī Community Center has been providing to the community for the last 39 years. In addition, visitors could browse the craft fair on Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Great Lawn featuring local crafts, goods, games and activities for the keiki. Some of Hawai‘i’s finest entertainers also performed during the event. This year's event honored John Clark, a waterman, writer, and historian who has done much to perpetuate the stories and culture behind Hawai‘i’s surf spots and coastal landmarks. Clark is the author of “Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past,” “Hawai‘i Place Names: Shores, Beaches and Surf Sites,” “Hawai‘i’s Best Beaches,” and more.

Even though we didn't win any prizes, our ohana got to engage in friendly competition with members of our community, as well as enjoy time with each other. The rewards for their efforts was a complimentary beef stew plate lunch and some hard-earned beers; most importantly, they got to cultivate and strengthen their bonds outside of the workplace while enjoying all the advantages living in Hawaii has to offer. 

Highlight Video of Marketing Executives Group (MEG) Conference National Restaurant Association NRA

Marketing Executives Group (MEG) is the community of restaurant marketing professionals who are connected 365 days a year and convene every spring in Chicago. MEG's mission is to raise the level of industry excellence by connecting, inspiring, teaching and challenging each other through the exchange of ideas, though leadership and best practices. Learn more about MEG at National Restaurant Association

HRA 2017 Employee Appreciation and Excellence Awards

On Monday, March 20, 2017 at The Kahala Hotel and Resort, over 200 Hawaii Restaurant Association members and guests were in attendance to witness over 40 employees of various Hawaii restaurants and food service companies receive awards during the Employee Appreciation and Excellence Awards ceremony.

Two of our very own Tiki's Ohana were finalist:
Richard Heine - From our Culinary team
Hana Murray - From our Front of the house team 
We bought a table of 10 to celebrate our employee excellence.

Top Row (L-R): Michael Miller (Tiki’s Grill & Bar) / HRA Chairman, Gregg Fraser / HRA Executive Director. Bottom Row (L-R): Collin Brown, Leila Perreira, Eric Change (Chef Owner, Moena Cafe), Shirley Chu, John Romero.

And the winners are:  

Front of House – Restaurant John Romero (Sommelier) / STRIPSTEAK WAIKIKI
Back of House – Restaurant  Collin Brown (Cook) / IL GELATO HAWAII
Front of House – Allied          Leila Perreira (Customer Service Representative) / Y. HATA & CO., LTD.
Back of House – Allied           Shirley Chu (Nutrition Assistant) / KAISER PERMANENTE

In addition, this year HRA added a new category – Best New Restaurant of 2016. Over 20 restaurants were nominated for this honor. 

Best New Restaurant of 2016:  Moena Cafe / Kapolei 

HRA North Shore mixer Hawaii Restaurant Association

Last night's HRA mixer at Turtle Bay was a fantastic success!

We had 50 RSVPs and 75 folks attended. It was an awesome setting on The Point with great food and drinks.  Lots of meaningful connections were made and we have four new member commitments.

Special thanks to Peter Faas for hosting us, Len Delekta, Membership Committee Chair, and Dirk Koeppenkastrop for providing Il Gelato and personally contacting many North Shore restaurants. 

It was great to see so many HRA board members in attendance supporting the organization which is instrumental as we strengthen our goals to increase our industry relevance which of course translate into more members.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association is the organization unifying, representing and supporting the Hawaii restaurant and food service industry. 

-Video credit to Michael Miller

Bill Tobin is interviewed on Hawaii News Now about his book "Food to Write Home About...Hawaii"

Hawaii restaurateur Bill Tobin tells the story of his love affair with Hawaiian cuisine—and all the nuances associated with Hawaiian fare. He does so through a series of affectionate letters to his mother, in their Midwest USA farm town. Through these highly personal letters, Tobin and author Brian Berusch explore every ingredient, dish and the chefs behind them—which about-faced Tobin's vocation into a career "Foodist" on the islands, including a stint as the president of the Hawaii Restaurant Association. Through each chapter we see the evolution of Tobin's palate, right through to the meeting of his wife and the start of his own family, whom are still highly immersed in the food arts there.

Bill Tobin grew up in a small farming community in Nebraska. After a stint in the U.S. Army prior he moved to Hawaii to attain a Business Administration degree. After founding his own restaurant company, he went on to be the Managing Partner and CEO of Tiki’s Grill and Bar LLC as well as chairman of the Hawaii Restaurant Association and technical advisor to Running a Bar for Dummies published by Wiley and Sons, Inc. He lives on Honolulu.

Brian Berusch has directed and edited various national lifestyle magazines, as well as written articles for more than two dozen titles, including Town & Country, Saveur, Wine Enthusiast and Departures. He has appeared on The Today Show as a travel and food expert. Berusch's first book was a private memoir for Aniello Lauro, celebrated hotelier of the famed Splendid Royale in Lugano, Switzerland. He lives on Honolulu.

For more information on this wonderful book and its authors, visit the website at:

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Today's Kitchen Creations recipe features a recipe that's perfect for the holidays.

Chef Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki's Grill shows us how to make great granny's fruitcake, which can be found in Wednesday's edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser under the "Crave" section.

By Request| Crave Folks love this ‘spice’ cake; booze-soak now for holidays By Betty Shimabukuro
October 11, 2016

Great Granny’s Delicious Fruitcake can be disguised.

Five years ago I baked a cake, brought it to work and lied about it. Told everyone it was a spice cake and watched it disappear. In reality it was a fruitcake, and those can be a hard sell.

Deanna Canario remembered that story, told in this space in 2011. “I went out and bought all the dried fruits and promptly lost the recipe,” she wrote. “Fruit is gone now, still no recipe, and I’d still like to try the fruitcake.”

Canario recalled it better than I did, actually. Had to Google myself to find the recipe, but there it was.

inRead invented by Teads

I’m recycling it now because this cake is a truly fine member of the dessert family. I tried it again, lied about it again and watched it disappear again.

Also, the timing is right. If you haven’t noticed, it’s mid- October, the cosmic warning sign that the holidays are just spitting distance away. One of the options with this cake is to wrap it in a booze-soaked towel and let it sit for a month. Do this soon and yours will be ready for holiday giving. You’re welcome.

All this comes up because of Josh Violette’s search for a recipe clipped from the newspaper sometime in the ’70s that had gone missing. “The recipe was for fruitcake (possibly Grandma’s or Grannie’s) and it was distinguished by using sour cream as an important ingredient.”

The recipe dates to the 1970s and was given to me by helpful reader Dee Tyau.

It calls for sour cream, which contributes to its moistness, and the typical candied fruitcake fruits. To better disguise your cake when facing a fruitcake- averse eatership, substitute any type of dried fruit. Something tart like cherries or cranberries would be perfect.

You’ll notice that the baking temperature is 275 degrees, which might seem low, but this is not a mistake. It bakes for two hours, which produces a crisp crust and moist interior.

Great Granny’s Delicious Fruitcake

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brandy (or other liquor such as whiskey)
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cups golden raisins
2 cups diced mixed candied fruits (or the same amount of dried fruit)

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans, then line pans with baking parchment and grease the paper. (Or use eight 5-by-3-inch pans.)

Combine flour, salt and spices.

In a mixing bowl cream butter with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Blend in sour cream. Dissolve baking soda in brandy and add. Gradually beat in flour mixture until smooth. Fold in nuts, raisins and candied fruits.

Divide batter among baking pans. Bake 2 hours (1 hour, 45 minutes for small pans) or until cakes are golden and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand 20 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

To season: Soak clean cloth in brandy (or another liquor). Wrap cakes in cloth, then cover with foil. Refrigerate at least 1 month. To give as gifts, remove cloth and wrap in fresh foil.

Copyright ©2016 All rights reserved.


The Hawaii Restaurant Association held its 10th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner at the Dole Cannery’s Pomaika`i Ballroom in Iwilei on Monday, September 19, 2016

The 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees of the Hawaii Resturant Hall of Fame

Mark Shishido - Wine Director Alan Wong's

Dr. John Morton - VP for UH Community Colleges

Edward Doty - Eagle Distributors/JMD Beverages

Alicia and Raymond Kam - Alicia's Market

Mel and Lynn Tanioka - Tanioka's Seafood and Catering

David Nagaishi - Ocean House, Pounders at PCC (Deceased)

Jacqueline Lau - Roy's Hawaii

Bob and Christine French - Brennecke's Beach Broiler 

Aaron Placourakis - President / CEO Tri Star Restaurant Group, JAS Restaurants & AMP Restaurants, LTD.

Debra Ching Maiava and Ric Maiava - Ken's House of Pancakes 

Well-known and longtime Hawaii sportscaster Kanoa Leahey emceed the event with Chef Alan Wong and Honolulu Magazine Food Editor Catherine Toth-Fox serving as guest presenters for the ceremony.

In addition, the Hawaii Restaurant Association recognized Zippy’s Restaurants and Aloha Shoyu Company as 2016 Legacy Award recipients.

The inductees as well as the legacy winners were individuals and/or company’s that have demonstrated dedication and commitment to the growth of the restaurant and food service industry in Hawaii, contributed to the enhancement of its quality and image, and demonstrated service through outreach.

Zippy’s Restaurants 2016 Legacy Award recipient

For the past 50 years, Zippy’s has followed Frances and Charles Higa’s core business values of commitment, serving with honorable intentions and uncompromising integrity, taking care of people, recognizing the unlimited potential in people and opportunities, taking risks and being willing to change and think long term. Whether it’s a Zip Pac before heading to the beach, a bucket of chicken for a potluck or some oxtail soup after a long night out the next stop will always be Zippy’s.

Aloha Shoyu Company 2016 Legacy Award Recipient

After 70 years in Hawaii, the Aloha Shoyu `ohana continues to emphasize the core Hawaiian values of kindness, unity, humility, and perseverance. For over seven decades, Aloha Shoyu Company continues to bring its unique products to kitchens all over the world, so that every dish can be served with a little aloha. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the HRA Scholarship Program at the University of Hawaii Community Colleges.

The event also included a “Chefs of Aloha” Dine-Around that featured guest Chefs (see attached for complete list of guest Chefs) from the past nine (9) years of Hall of Fame dinners preparing exquisite dishes for all attendees.
"Chefs of Aloha" Dine-Around 

2016 - Chef Mark Noguchi - MISSION Social Hall & Café

2015 - Chef Freddie Billena - Pōmaika'i Ballrooms                                    

2014 - Chef James Aptakin - MAC 24/7    

2014 - Chef Ken Mackenzie - Tommy Bahama

2014 - Chef Marc Anthony Freiberg - Mariposa

2013 - Chef Jesse Cruz - Lucky Belly and Livestock Tavern

2013 - Chef Cyrus Goo - Café Laufer

2012 - Chef Long - Prima

2011 - Chef Roger Dikon - Regency Culinary Services and HRC founding chef

2010 - Chef Goran Streng - Tango Contemporary Café

2009 - Chef Matt Young - Hula Grill    

2009 - Chef Keith Kong - Duke's Waikiki

2008 - Chef Chai Chaowasaree - Chef Chai's

2007 - Chef Russell Siu - 3660 on the Rise / Kaka'ako kitchen

About The Hawaii Restaurant Association
The Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade organization, together with the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, is dedicated to representing, educating and promoting the restaurant, food service, hospitality and tourism industries. The HRA provides access to the support and resources that industry professionals need to maintain a thriving business and serves as a contributing member of the unique and diverse restaurant community here in Hawaii.



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Published on Sep 5, 2016


KOHALA COAST, HAWAI‘I ISLAND—Fresh and nutritious Hawai’i Island food and the people who produce it are the stars of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. 

Tasty culinary stations, food producer booths and agricultural-themed displays—totaling over 75 stations— will sprawl both inside and out at the resort’s conference center. 

Pre-sale tickets are available online for $45 through midnight September 8 and at island wide locations until sold out; they are $60 at the door. Details:

Each Taste chef is assigned to prepare a whopping 100 pounds of a specific cut of pasture-raised beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar—and the result is a festive adventure of tasting everything from tongue to tail. Most of the beef cuts are utilized so chefs and attendees can get acquainted with not-so-familiar cuts while having fun. The pasture-raised beef is sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones.

In addition to “grazing” on expertly prepared beef sirloin, lamb or Rocky Mountain Oysters—aka bull’s testicles—attendees can taste samples at local food product booths and view compelling educational displays on sustainability and agriculture.

New participating exhibitors include Beyond Organic Consulting, Waimea Butcher Shop, Paradise Hawaii Balsamics, Spicy Ninja Sauce, Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death, Farm Works Hawaii, Orchid Isle Traders, Hawaii Lassi-Akmal Foods, USDA Farm Service Agency and UH-CTAHR Veterinary Extension. 

Restaurants debuting at the 2016 Taste include Noodle Club, Waipio Cook House, 3 Fat Pigs, Daylight Mind Coffee Company Waikoloa, Monstera and The Fish Hopper. 

Also new will be a streaming video shown at different event locations featuring seven Big Island ranchers and farmers talking story about why they produce food. 

Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual Cooking 101 culinary demonstration. This year’s team of guest presenters are chefs Kevin Hanney and J Schoonover of Oahu’s 12 Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10; tix available online or at the door. A 1 p.m. seminar, “Learn Where Beef Cuts Come From,” is free. 

Islandwide tickets locations include Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village. 

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.