Passionate Colors Newsletter
~ #66 ~ Food
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"If I ever took things for granted, my father would say, 'You wait. Someday you'll see the value.' As always he was right." ~ Sam Choy
Sam Choy is Hawaii's answer to Emeril Lagasse. An award-winning chef, Choy has a perpetual smile and talent for cooking delicious food. I've been enjoying his book Polynesian Kitchen (2002) for the recipes and his commentary on the food, culture, and flavor of life in Hawaii.
"Food is always better served from a home kitchen and eaten with friends. This is something I believe," wrote Choy, who has nine restaurants that bear his name: four in Tokyo, three in Hawaii, one in Guam, and one in San Diego.
TREAT PEOPLE WELL...
"Hawaii is rather a small place. Everyone is related in some way. It's understood that you need to treat people well because they may turn out to be a distant cousin or part of your extended family." ~ Sam Choy
Sam is a local boy who made good, growing up in Laie, on the North Shore, "the country side" of Oahu where his parents owned a mom-and-pop grocery store. His upbringing was marinated with the spirit of aloha. This spirit continues to flavor his recipes and his celebration of life.
"Maybe it's because of the ancient tradition of the luau," Choy explained. "Maybe it's the beautiful weather, but however it came about, we love to celebrate in Hawaii."
He found his passion for cooking while attending Kapiolani Community College, honed his skill at several major hotels, then opened his first restaurant in 1991 on the Big Island of Hawaii. His own cooking show airs weekly on Hawaii's NBC affiliate and some of his recent recipes are available online.
MY FAVORITE FOODS...
"Poke is one of my favorite foods. The Hawaiian word poke, pronounced 'PO-kay,' means to 'slice into pieces.'" ~ Sam Choy
Sam Choy always says, "Cook from the heart" and the food at his restaurant is ono (delicious). My favorite, his ahi poke, is raw tuna that is seasoned with onions, oil, and soy sauce.
But if sashimi is not for you, Sam's got watercress tempura, teriyaki chicken, coconut shrimp, traditional Hawaiian beef stew, and more. "Eating is heaven," observed the Korean Proverb and my mouth is watering as I write this.
"If you understand people and understand their culture, then you can easily understand their food," said Emeril Lagasse.
I couldn't agree more!