Gosh, seems like yesterday that I was mashed in with hundreds of small-plate-grabbing people in the narrow strip of deck around the Modern (then Edition) pool, for the first Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. And now the third one is fast approaching.
As much as I dislike elbow-in-face public feeding frenzies (they really bring out the worst in what I assume are human beings), looks like I will need to attend the now-a-tradition Morimoto & Friends Asianish event on Sept. 5. Why? Cause Floyd Cardoz is in the mix. Cardoz is one of my all-time favorite chefs. Eating at his game-changing Tabla in the 90s was an indelible lesson in my food education—to see how a chef could take a cuisine (Indian) and kind of create a whole new cuisine based on it was mind blowing. And his downstairs casual option Tabla Bread Bar made “elevated street food” a restaurant critic buzzterm—back in 1998. More than a decade before spots like Berkeley’s Hawker Fare mushroomed across the country. People still dream about Cardoz’s nan-wrapped pulled lamb sandwich. It included mustard mashed potatoes. Excuse me while I weep for a minute.
I played the fangirl when I spotted Cardoz at the James Beard Awards back in May, telling him how much I love his food, and that I live in Hawai‘i and am acquainted with Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg (hey, I’m not being racist and assuming all Indian chefs know each other—Garg told me he knows Cardoz). And Cardoz responded with “Well, I’m going to Honolulu for the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival. I’m really excited.”
So while grazing events aren’t the best way to experience a chef’s talents, Cardoz will be sure to create something that works. There are some chefs who don’t seem to understand their food will be eaten by someone not only standing up, but most likely have one hand occupied by a glass as she is car-bumpered by people racing to the next booth. Cardoz isn’t one of them. Who knows, maybe he’ll even revive his magic sandwich. You can get tickets here.
PS: Another reason to go to this event is Anita Lo. She’s been quietly earning accolades for her Asian-inflected contemporary American food since she opened Annisa in New York’s West Village in 2000. A chef’s chef, not a brand.