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Hilton Worldwide Celebrates The Bounty Of Hawaii With “Hawaii’s Best, Harvested Locally”
April 19, 2013
HONOLULU - The farm-to-table movement has really heated up in Hawaii with hundreds of small, locally-owned farms offering products at the increasing numbers of farmers markets across the state. On any given day, consumers can "shop local" at markets set up at community colleges, shopping malls, high schools and public parks.
Resort chefs have embraced the concept with a vengeance in the past several years as the variety and quality of products produced locally continues to improve.
And the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels and resorts in Hawaii is proud to be one of the largest procurers of local agricultural products as it continues the rollout of its "Hawaii's Best, harvested locally" program. Program elements include featuring the suppliers by name in the restaurant menus, retail sales of local products, farm tours for guests, and receptions for customers, meeting planners and hotel staff where they can meet the farmers and sample their products.
"We source statewide for all of our restaurants and banquet menus, including produce, seafood, meats and even spices like Kona Sea Salt," said Jeffrey Vigilla, executive chef of Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. "In our menus, you'll find Hirabara Farm produce, Hamakua mushrooms, Nalu Farms greens, Ho Farm tomatoes-the list is extensive."
The farm-to-table movement is more than just a trend to Vigilla who says that chefs want to touch, taste and see firsthand where their food sources come from. He makes regular visits to local farms and suppliers; he shops weekly at the Kapiolani Community College farmers market.
Hawaii's climate and soil provide for some of the most ideal growing conditions and such crops as cacao and vanilla--grown nowhere else in the United States--have made their way into the kitchens of local chefs.
"Our Bali Steak & Seafood restaurant sources more than 80 percent of its ingredients locally," said Vigilla. "The Waialua Estates chocolate featured in many of our desserts is the best I've tasted anywhere in the world."
Furukake and beer-battered fish and chips made from locally caught fish and seasoned with Kona Sea Salt is one of the most popular items at the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Tropics Bar & Grill as is the Hamakua mushroom pizza with Surfing Goat Dairy's cheese.
On the island of Maui, Executive Chef Eric Faivre of Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort uses a plethora of local purveyors for its seven restaurants, which includes the award-winning Humuhumunukunukuapua`a and the new Alan Wong's Amasia. More than 30 Maui-based farms provide fresh asparagus, pea sprouts, strawberries, sweet onions, carrots, fruits, mushrooms and lettuce, just to name a few. In-house, Grand Wailea tends to its own fruit garden filled with bananas, mangoes, breadfruit, starfruit, lychee and cacao trees, and three herb gardens spread throughout the resort readily available for the chefs' use. In addition, the resort has become a purveyor of sorts as well. Its rooftop bee hives, which grew from five in 2009 to nine today, each produce one gallon of honey per month. The kiawe-white honey is incorporated into the menus of all of the resort's restaurants, bars, lounges and catered functions. The precious honey is also available for purchase in 9.5 oz. jars.
The island of Hawaii has long been known for its ranches that offer beef, pork and other livestock to restaurants and hotels. But now, with hundreds of small farms that have popped up in the past decade, Hawaii Island is providing chefs with a growing supply of the ingredients they need in their kitchens. Charles Charbonneau, executive chef at Hilton Waikoloa Village, is passionate about sharing local ingredients on every plate possible.
"Working with our local farmers is truly important," says Charbonneau. "They bring us seasonal produce and because of our unique growing seasons we're able to offer fresh fish, fruits and vegetables all year long."
For instance, Big Island Hamakua mushrooms are featured in Boat Landing Cantina Tiki Tacos, KPC mushroom risotto and No Shroom for Error pizza at Dona & Toni's. Local strawberries, tomatoes, pork, goat cheese and much more can be found throughout the resorts restaurant, bar and catering menus.
"Our Lagoon Grill burger can compete with the best," says Charbonneau. "It's topped with Kamuela tomatoes, Kula sweet onions and red leaf lettuce grown within a few miles of the resort."
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Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,300 properties with more than 863,000 rooms, in 106 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company's portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, and free standard Wi-Fi. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.