Chef “D.K.” Kodma Wins Maui Onion Recipe Contest
By Wendy Osher
Maui onions found a new flavor in the winning dish at the 22nd Annual Maui Onion Festival over the weekend in Ka’anapali.
Chef Dave “D.K.” Kodama took top honors in the Maui Onion Recipe Contest with his Kekaha Shrimp & Lobster Cake with Swiss Chard, Hamakua Aliʻi Mushrooms & Lobster Uni Sauce.
Chef D.K. Kodma owns and operates seven restaurants on three islands, including four Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bars, d.k. Steak House, VINO Italian Tapas & Wine Bar and Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas. The Chef and his team have garnered an array of awards, reviews and acknowledgements including highest food ratings in Zagat Hawaiʻi Restaurant Surveys, inclusion as one of Bon Appetit’s “Favorite Asian Restaurants” and one of “America’s Best Sushi Bars” in Travel + Leisure.
The Maui Onion Festival is held annually in honor of the Maui Kula Onion, the island’s most famous agricultural export. It is a signature event for Whalers Village, bringing Maui’s upcountry, agricultural heritage to Kā’anapali.
Also garnering onion honors was Chef Kevin Boyle of ʻUmalu of The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa who took first place in the Maui Onion Challenge. The two-week appetizer challenge featured eight restaurants from the Kāʻanapali Beach Resort.
Winners of the Raw Maui Onion Eating Contests were: Wayne Finlinson, 34, of St. George, Utah, and Dante Gramuglia, 10 and a 5th grader at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School who won the adult and keiki divisions respectively.
Farmers belonging to the Maui Onion Growers Association had the longest line throughout the day, selling more than 600 pounds of their tempura-style Maui Kula Onion rings.
Next year’s event, the 2012 Maui Onion Festival is confirmed to take place on Saturday, May 5. The Maui Onion Beer Pairing Dinner will be held at Hula Grill Kāʻanapali on Friday, May 4, 2012.
“It was an amazing event,” said Lisa Donlon, marketing manager for Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants. “Attendance was up and the retail shops, restaurants and festival vendors were busier than ever,” said Donlon.
The Maui Onion Recipe Contest chefs included James McDonald of Pacific’O and i‘o Restaurants; Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurants; Chef Brian Etheredge of Capische; Chef Eric Arbogast of Cuarto; and Chef David Paul Johnson of David Paul’s Island Grill.
Visiting emcees Manolo Morales of KHON 2 and Cutty Cutler led activities at the center stage and beachfront lawn.
*** Supporting information courtesy Maui Onion Festival.