News

November, 26 2012
Here’s a recap of the menu, but you have to read the full story to truly appreciate it. Breakfast – Bacon, Egg, Toast and Coffee Morning Snack - V-8 Lunch – Ham & Cheese, followed by BLT Afternoon Snack – Beer and Burger Dinner – Shrimp Scampi, followed by Steak and Potatoes and then Fruit Salad Dessert - Chocolate Read More...
November, 18 2012
  Italy being a true Mecca of artisan foods, it is imperative that when you prepare Italian food you treat it with respect, both in the selection of ingredients and their use. Whenever I dine out I always look for items that I wouldn’t make at home. Consequently, I skip the spaghetti with red sauce opting instead for something compelling, like fresh gnocchi, hoping that the Chef has properly prepared the airy little pillows and I won’t be disappointed – yet again - with gummy balls of dough.  Sometimes, I’m positively surprised. Grown has continued to push the limits of what can be sourced from our local markets and utilize methods of preparation and pairings that elevate. So when Chef Doug approached me with the idea of Italian night I immediately thought, “How can we make this interesting?” He proceeded to explain his menu ideas and after many conversations we conceptualized a beautiful progressive take on Italian techniques and flavors. During our exploration we took the idea of items such as a caprese by making a balsamic orecchiette with a tomato salad, goat milk ricotta and basil caviar. We played with the idea of panna cotta and made a smoked carrot crème sauce for our carrot caramel agnolotti with shaved raw carrot. This experience redefined how I view the initial dish and what can be...Read More...
October, 11 2012
  Vegetarian and gluten free are two terms that Chefs are keenly aware of and most aren’t fond of because it diverts attention from the “normal menu” in order to create some concoction in the middle of dinner service. These dietary challenges often result in creating dishes out of necessity with taste and presentation secondary considerations - which is where we saw an opportunity. Whenever Grown pops up, we strive to make the most local, most delicious, most inspired meal available in Hawaii for those few hours. The challenge that Doug Kocol overcame wasn’t just using locally sourced ingredients and not just vegetarian, but we made it vegan as well as gluten free! This challenged us to balance flavors within dishes without key components that most preparations rely on like butter and flour. We set forth to prove that these “necessities” could be eliminated and yet we could fill all of our and our guests’ expectations. After all this, we also decided to eliminate all the traditional items that would be the next on a vegan shopping list such as tofu, kale, quinoa, legumes and soy. Menu ideas seemed to come naturally to Chef Doug while I, a confirmed omnivore, mentally tasted what I was hearing and thought I would anxiously order all of the items he spouted out. After a bit, we were clear - “let’s do it”. To date, at every event I...Read More...
August, 26 2012
    The Farm Fair with its big tents and carnival rides comes to town once a year and makes Kauai feel every part the small town it is. Between the 4H kids proudly showing off their animals and the singular Ferris wheel towering over everything else, it’s just good country living. For the third year, the fair included the now Annual Chef Cook-off Challenge sponsored by Kauai Coffee and included restaurants on the top of almost anyone’s list: BarAcuda, Nanea at the Westin, Hukilau Lanai, Merriman’s, The Marriott and Grown, Grow Culture’s curated, pop-up restaurant.   I was contacted in the midst of Grown’s Pig-N-Fig pop-up event only 10 days before the cook-off and informed that there was an opening in the line-up and asked if I was interested. A bio and photo would be needed by noon the next day if I wanted to participate. As a pop-up restaurant, we don’t have a facility, Chef or signature dish and although we already had two events in progress for the week, we just couldn’t pass this up. An answer in the affirmative, and a crazy week ensued. When I began telling others about this opportunity with the menu selections still in concept development, Garrison Price of the St. Regis asked what I was going to do. He then stepped up, collaborating in conceptualizing and creating a dish...Read More...
July, 25 2012
I received an e-mail almost immediately after sending out the info about the Steak House saying that a Sustainable Steak House was impossible due to the nature of raising livestock along with other points about land usage and import fees. This got me inspired to further question what we were about to do and did our intentions match our actions. I began to break down the practices of each person involved to see if their being a part of this event was justified. Duane Shimogawa of A’akukui Ranch oversees hundreds of acres of free range cattle. They are slaughtered locally and he remains steadfast in trying to supply Kauai first, but his beef isn’t in a lot of restaurants or grocery stores. This is mostly due to not having a packaging facility to break down the beef since butchery for most is a thing of the past. Couple that with the notion that local beef is tough or gamey, a stereotype that’s as misunderstood as is sustainability. Aging of beef is integral in serving it properly; quite the opposite of pork which is best fresh. The chemical reactions that break down the tissue make that tough steak a tender one, but because we don’t have the facilities most places don’t want the responsibility and so our local beef is often passed over in favor of grain feed Midwest or South American cattle. Since grain isn’t in the normal diet of a cow, it fattens them faster and less expensively than grass but also dilutes the flavor as...Read More...
June, 02 2012
Sunday Supper was inspired by those meals that I remember growing up where the china and table cloths came out and dinner became an event not just a meal. It always looked more formal than it felt and was a time to enjoy the company at the table over food that was cooked with love.  With the romantic ambience that  Caffé Coco embodies, the melodic sounds of Jeff Caldwell and the food receiving its fair share of love, our guests had a resoundingly positive evening. This was our very first restaurant takeover or “traditional Pop-up”, if that exists yet.  The possibilities that are feasible when we can partner with an established restaurant are unimaginable.  We took a staff that had never worked together, a menu that was a one shot deal and increased the plate volume of the restaurant by about 600% - and it worked!  I owe more gratitude and thanks then I have space to write but know full well that without the dedication and passion that everyone contributed it wouldn’t have been such a pretty sight. There were new friendships formed, memories created and it was once again more than just a meal.  If you made it we thank you for allowing our dreams to become realities, if you missed us then we look forward to having you at a future venue....Read More...
May, 04 2012
    For those of you who were in attendance at the Earth Day Rising Festival this beach shack will look a lot more familiar after three days of business. Our goal was to provide sustenance to those enjoying earth day weekend at Waipa with delicious, nutritious, local fare under $8. Our menus came through a collaboration between Grow Culture, St. Regis, Westin, Kauai Pasta and Kauai Ono. This culinary think tank developed some remarkable interpretations of what can be done with produce from Kauai. The forum to serve these dishes was built from bamboo removed as a service from a friend's property and was then retured to the land for land erosion purposes. The dishes were served almost exclusively on banana flower petals and Ti leaves which reduced our waste as a restaurant to under 6 bags for three days of service (that’s really small).  We wanted to look beyond just the sourcing of ingredients locally and towards building a more sustainable business. Grow Culture has been working on so many events recently with a lot of questions about where this is all going so we gave it a name, Grown. This restaurant for the community will be built through the support of the same and will eventually settle down to a more concrete location. For the time being we're still enjoying the process of learn ing and developing into...Read More...
April, 08 2012
April 20-22 Friday 4-late, Saturday 2-late, Sunday 12-5 Earth Day Rising Festival @ Waipa Foundation Grown is a 25 seat counter service restaurant serving locally sourced selections from $3-8 for everyone to enjoy. There will be eclectic non alcoholic beverages and snacks of various sizes. Only open for three days this is more than an oceanfront restaurant it’s a statement on what can be done locally, affordably - an unparalleled experience for those who care about food   This collaborative effort will investigate the resources available currently on Kauai. Our goal is to improve the standards of Hospitality while supporting local Agriculture. Our menu will be guided by the ingredients that are abundant the third week in April and evolve over the course of the three days of service.   There are a limited number of tickets being sold for camping and Saturday’s concert but dining will be available for all on Friday and Sunday with no charge to enter. Admittance to the camping area for the weekend is $50, concert tickets for Saturday are $20 and can be bought online at http://www.malamakauai.org/ earthday /   Read More...
March, 03 2012
This being the first cocktail party I’ve ever thrown after working countless ones for others, I was extremely delighted with the results. Being able to actualize a vision as grandiose as this was asking a lot. I asked much from those who orchestrated the evening with me and also from the guests. Taking the menu and beverage selection out of their hands and trusting us is more than most are willing to do. We applaud their openness and hope that this trusting relationship will seep through the community and encourage others to follow their passion. Common to all events and services is the focus on local, quality and innovation. So while our format may change - meaning this won’t be the only cocktail party, just the only one for a while - we will continue hosting more venues to showcase local talent in the kitchen and on the farm. These events are fueled by inspiration which doesn’t necessarily work on a monthly basis, but the next one is already in the works and will be coming your way just as soon as it's ready. Dave and Garrison and I, with the assistance of Kyle Reutner at the bar and Coltin Marikian and Allison Gruber in the kitchen and dining room, displayed some remarkable feats. I truly feel that we would have given anyone a run for their money in the 1920’s and have hopefully brought back some classics that were in need of validation. Please keep...Read More...
February, 05 2012
The Pot Luck provided an opportunity to share food with others who truly appreciate the quality of the ingredients and the care of the preparation. Sharing the products of our personal labor with others equally invested in what they brought to share led to many more interesting and heartfelt discussions than your typical pot luck. Grow Culture’s premise is to unite Farmers and Chefs as well as diners and food in a more intimate way. By hosting our personal gatherings we are proactively transforming “eating” back into “dining.” The event was open to all levels of both industries with the hope that by surrounding local restaurants with local food producers we could begin to discuss ways in which we can work better together. The potential value of such conversations is obvious and no doubt they take place one to one, here and there, but no one has managed to orchestrate discussions among many Farmers and many Chefs - at least until now. The Pot Luck also served as the venue for the inauguration of GrowCulture.com, a Virtual Farmers Market facilitating an alte ative, community-based distribution system. If you have ingredients to share or the desire to be involved with the localized food movement  please  get in touch . We look forward to further developing connections while continuing to lea Read More...
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