Hawaiian food festival to feature celebrated chef Sam Choy, local chefs competing for title of Best Poke and island-inspired tastings
For the first time in six years of sold out events, the I Love Poke Food Festival & Competition is coming to the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday, October 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. This celebration of Hawaiian food culture, taking place at The Stonehouse Café alongside Lake Washington, will see local chefs face off against one another as they compete for the title of “Best Poke” while guests sample each chef’s poke creation, enjoy additional island-inspired tastes, live music and more.
Event creator and Hawaiian food enthusiast Nino “Neens” Camilo of ONO YUM has teamed with the Godfather of Poke himself, Chef Sam Choy, and Choy’s business partner Max Heigh of Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max Foodtrucksto plan a flavorful festival split into two parts: Pokeland – where nearly 10 chefs will compete to create the best poke, and Foodland – a place for attendees to sample Hawaiian and Asian inspired cuisine from additional restaurants.
“I always go with my heart, and my heart told me Seattle. Our friends Chef Sam Choy and Max Heigh have poke food trucks here, and they encouraged me to bring the event here,” said Nino Camilo. “I came up for a visit and Seattle welcomed me with open arms. This is all about getting people together and celebrating the beautiful culture of Hawaii through food. This is just a backyard barbecue for us, but we’re inviting the public to come and enjoy. That is the true heart for I Love Poke and I feel Seattle is all about it.”
Competing chefs will include Chef David Dekker of 13 Coins and former winner of Sam Choy’s Poke Bowl in Hawaii; Chef Steven Ariel of Trace Seattle; Chef Jason Velasquez of Stone Lounge; Chefs Maylin Chavez and Melissa Mayer of Olympia Oyster Bar; Chef Geo Quibuyen of Food & Sh*t, Aaron Pate of Shiro’s Sushi, Jerial Calamayan at Kraken Congee and Wade Tamura, chef at Facebook’s headquarters in San Francisco. To raise the stakes further, two-time I Love Poke champion Chef Chris Aure, who won both the I Love Poke San Diego and Orange County competitions earlier this year, will travel from California to give the Pacific Northwest a run for its money.
Judging this year’s competition will be James Beard Foundation Award winner Chef Sam Choy, prior I Love Poke 1st place champion Chef Antonio Friscia of San Diego, Seattle Magazine Food & Dining Editor Jessica Yadegaran, professional surfer and Hawaii enthusiast Hank Gaskell, Seattle food writer Jason Price and The Stonehouse Café’s Patrick Choy. Chef Sam Choy will also provide the crowd with a live poke demonstration during the evening.
At Foodland, guests will indulge in tastings from Seattle restaurants and chefs including Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max, The Stonehouse Cafe’s Chef Patrick Choy, Hood Famous Bake Shop and more sweet and savory bites inspired by Hawaiian and Asian cuisine. Live music will be provided by guitarist and singer Tini Grey, who exudes island style. The end result: an all-encompassing Hawaiian food experience unlike anything else in the Pacific Northwest.
Tickets to I Love Poke Seattle are limited to 125 guests, are priced at $85 and include food samplings from every participant. Purchase tickets online at www.onoyum.com.