By Kerry Miller Share Del.icio.us
With the recent reopening of his famous King Street restaurant and making plans for an upcoming Hawaii Plantation Museum fundraiser, Chef Alan Wong is keeping busy in and out of the kitchen.
Wong’s self-named restaurant, Alan Wong’s Hawaii, opened for business April 7 after closing March 12 for renovations. Customers can expect the same dining room ambience, as most of the renovations were in the kitchen or the “back of the house.” Diners can also expect to see variations to the menu.
“It’s about time. We were supposed to do something at seven years. At our 11th, we decided to finally try it,” says the proud chef, who appeared on MidWeek’s cover in February 1997.
“You can still come and have your favorites, but we have a whole bunch of new stuff, too,” he adds. “The menu is three pages now. Our signature items are on a page called ‘classics.’”
On April 30, Wong will create masterful dishes at the “Back to Roots” fundraiser for the Hawaii Plantation Museum in Waipahu. Having grown up in the plantation town of Wahiawa, Wong has strong ties to the lifestyle and credits his experience of working the pineapple fields as influencing his cooking style.
“It’s (the fundraiser) a tribute to plantation heritage,” he explains. “One dish from every ethnic migration that came to Hawaii is served. First was Polynesian, second were the missionaries, third Asian and fourth Filipino. I’ll be making a contemporary version of it.”
Proceeds from this stand-up pupu reception benefit a children’s educational outreach program at Hawaii Plantation Village. The program, Wong says, “helps perpetuate the transfer of knowledge (of the plantation and its history) from elders to kids, and how it’s impacted the culture.”
Also since gracing MidWeek‘s cover, Wong has opened a second Alan Wong’s restaurant in Japan, which is in its sixth year of operation. He’s also opened the famous Pineapple Room restaurant at Macy’s in Ala Moana Center. His Haulalai Grille on the Big Island also has continued to prosper since opening in 2003. Are there any more restaurants in Wong’s future? The hungry public will just have to wait and see.
“I have some things percolating,” Wong reveals. “The sticks are in the fire.”
The “Back to Roots” event is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at HPV. Tickets are $125 per person. Call 949-1939 to make a reservation or donation. Reservations are limited.
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