HFWF17 - Chef Chris Kajioka of Senia

Though I will be remedying my lack of golfing skills, my Hawaii Food and Wine Festival experience did not kick off on the golf course with Roy Yamaguchi. (I have plans to dust off the clubs for practice starting this coming Thursday. FORE!!!) My experience began by attending the Media Day on Saturday, October 21st at Whaler's Village in Lahaina, Hawaii with Chef Chris Kojioka sitting across from me at a narrow folding table underneath a white tent as an adolescent talent show was taking place next door at The Hula Grill.

Chef Chris, nomination recipient and semifinalist for James Beard Rising Star of the Year, is a Co-Owner and one of two Executive Chefs of Senia on King Street in Honolulu's Chinatown. Opening ten months ago, Eater recently named it Hawai'i's Most Thrilling New Restaurant (Oct. 25, 2017). Dine for lunch or dinner, in the dining room, at the Chef's Counter or upstairs for a private dining experience for 8-12 people or 20 guests for a standing room reception. As an Event Planner, a separate dining area with special attention and menu is always appealing. Expect to choose from an a la carte menu, shared plates or a tasting menu. Options are always good and you should come back at least five other times to try the different menus at two different times of the day. For wine lovers, a Sommelier is on-site to recommend the perfect wine to go with your selected dishes. Cocktails are beautifully crafted and presented with such elegance.

What should you order? Chef Chris says the cabbage starter is the most popular dish and Eater's description in the article above should come with a warning that drooling may occur before reading. The cabbage is from the Big Island and Chef Chris spoke about its ingredients with such pride.

As a California girl, I was pleased to hear that he was the Chef de Cuisine of San Francisco's Mourad, winner of a Michelin Star. Chef Chris says he just spoke to Mourad the day before and hinted at a possibility of Mourad venturing West. Stay tuned for a possible official announcement in the future by following Chef Chris and Mourad on social media. Would you be in support of it, Hawai'i? I would!

That evening, the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival had a Street Food event on the lawn of the Sheraton Resort, also in Lahaina, Hawai'i. Chef Chris provided guests with a grilled chicken tsukune, egg yolk gel and black truffle tare on a skewer. The chicken was moist, a nice-sized portion and the gel held the components together. And who doesn't love truffles?

Thank you to the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival for the opportunity and Chef Kajioka for his time and delicious contribution to the festival. I look forward to dining at Senia in the future.

745 King Street
Honolulu, Hawai'i

The festival is taking place thru November 5th. Get your tickets today! Also, thank you, HWFW, for raising funds for the Napa fire victims.

Related articles:
Gourmet Fest 2016 - Biography
Food and Wine Magazine, January 2016 - Grilled Cabbage with Two Sauces 
SF Gate, January 26, 2015 - Mourad opens in San Francisco, take a look at the menu


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