Maui Business

HuffPost Hawaii Launches With Upcountry Foodie Party

September 5, 2013, 9:31 AM HST
* Updated September 6, 10:20 AM
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By Vanessa Wolf

Clifford J. Nae'ole (emcee), Arianna Huffington and Pierre Omidyar (left) at the Maui launch party for Huffpost Hawaii. Courtesy photo.

Clifford J. Nae’ole, emcee (left), Arianna Huffington and Pierre Omidyar (right) at the Maui launch party for Huffpost Hawaii. Courtesy photo.

With a focus on sustainability and farm-to-table products, Huffington Post Hawaii celebrated their launch with a party on Maui last night.

The venture is a first as, until now, Huffington Post has only opened new bureaus in other countries. Hawaii is the first state to receive its own edition.

Founded by Arianna Huffington in May 2005, Huffington Post (also known as HuffPost or HuffPo) is an online news aggregator and blog.

The Hawaii venture is a partnership with Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii’s investigative journalism organization dedicated exclusively to reporting on public affairs.

HuffPost Hawaii's front page.

HuffPost Hawaii’s front page.

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Started in 2010 by eBay founder and billionaire philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, Civil Beat began with a mission to “empower citizens and encourage greater civic participation through media.”

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In a press release, Huffington stated, “Beyond being a major tourist destination and home to more than one million people, Hawaii occupies a unique place in our collective imagination. In addition to its history, diversity and unique culture, Hawaii’s natural beauty and Aloha spirit have made it a world capital of unplugging and recharging.

“As we focus on The Third Metric and redefining success beyond money and power to include well-being, wisdom and giving back, there is so much that Hawaii can teach the rest of the world. We are delighted to be partnering with Honolulu Civil Beat in order to tell the islands’ most important stories—and, just as important, to help the people of Hawaii tell their stories themselves—while at the same time bringing those stories to the rest of America and to our growing international audience.”

Attendees listen to speeches by Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington. Courtesy photo.

Attendees listen to speeches by Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington. Courtesy photo.

Held at the Upcountry home of Hawaii regional cuisine chef Bev Gannon, the invite-only event was attended by local politicians, business leaders, public relations representatives and the media.

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Gannon not only provided the location for the happening, but a spread of local produce, cheese and slider-sized sandwiches.

Also on hand was Chef Isaac Bancaco of Andaz who prepared an abalone bao bun with Banh Mi influences and a yellow tomato sorbet with an opal basil granita for the vegans in the house.

Guests enjoying Gannon's spread. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Guests enjoying Chef Gannon’s spread. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

Chef Cameron Lewark of Spago served up small dishes of Indian-spiced lamb with coconut saffron rice, while Chef James McDonald of I’o Restaurant offered plates of roasted Kula beets with Surfing Goat Dairy cheese from an adjacent table thanks to a little help from Chris Speere and some of the students from the Maui Culinary Academy.

Haiku’s Malama Farms, the first ever breeders and suppliers of 100% pure Berkshire pork, also known as kurobuta, was also at the event along with Makawao’s Fresh Island Herbs and Maui Brewing Co.

But it wasn’t all about food, both Huffington and Omidyar were on hand to greet guests.

Chef Bancaco's Abalone Bao buns: divine. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

Chef Bancaco’s Abalone Bao buns: divine. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

Huffington spoke briefly near the end of the event saying, “This is so magical that I’m kind of speechless… which is rare for me. I’m so excited to be here. Meeting producers and chefs and seeing the love put into your work and your beer – root beer, in my case – has made me more excited than ever to take what you are doing and share it with the world.”

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