Slowly, but surely, I am jotting down notes on scrap paper in an attempt to record this blossom of life. On Dec.10th 2014 my wife, daughter and I returned back home to Kauai. A few weeks later I picked up where I left last year on Sheldonia Farms. On Dec. 29th I pulled into the farm and Farmer Phil met me at his door. He said that a client of his needs help with a 100% local food pop-up restaurant gig. I haven't cooked for a few months, but was intrigued with the concept. Next minute he called Chef Adam and gave me the phone. Adam gave me the low down and I was sold. Three days Hanai Kauai debuted and the rest is history. Growing strong on the 5th week of Hanai and the plates are anything but new or contemporary, they're traditional Hawaiian food ingredients presented in a simple and beautiful fashion, with a rustic punch... built from the ground up with homemade vinegar, locally sourced coconut oil, hand-picked greens and flowers, self-milled flours, all locally sourced fish and meats, and the list is eternal and ever changing. Ripples. Every night a changing menu. Every plate painted unique, always scrumptious. I feel as if I've traveled the globe for 10 years cooking and looking for exactly this; a chance to farm in the day, and cook what we harvest and gather at night. Behind the helm of Hanai is a collective genius. Not sure exactly how or who is driving the boat, but it feels like the spirit of Kauai is. Everybody has a voice. Everyone participates in this dance. Everything we use is from this island. It's a work of holy art. This cannot be replicated anywhere else except here due to location and quality of the ingredients, and only if there's a bale of mercenaries like ours to execute. Aside to all the delicious food and elevation of health, we're connected people to the land and sea. Spiritual grounds for sustainable culinary progression. We're not relying on imported or processed goods from a factory in mainland US or elsewhere, instead, we're relying on our neighbors and our elders to teach us the way it used to be a generation ago. How did our grandparents live off the land? How did they pickle? How did they trade with locals to be sustainable. Yes, sustainable. Yes, let's call upon the early Hawaiian farming practices to guide us to the dinner table. To sustain we cut all ties to the mainland and forced to use only what mother local Kauai nature provides, and thus, a seed has been planted and we're in for a ride. My family has been camping behind an old church, next to a forest of java plum and lilikoi trees, and at night we can hear the patter of wild pigs with chickens sleeping above our heads. Although this camping gig is temporary until we move into a studio, it has been a complimentary experience to the farm-and-table path I walk. My life is outside. My intentions are pure inside and I ask all to think again about what we consume and where it comes from. How much do you and I need? Our children and grandchildren require our service to empower the return of traditional knowledge and environmental peace. This all starts from within. Feed your soul from the land and sea around you and rejoice in thanksgiving by appreciating the unadulterated flavors the garden island provides. Come dance with us.
Aloha Hanai Kauai. Mahalo Collin and Adam.