By Kerry Miller Share Del.icio.us
“It’s like a magical ride,” Hawaiian chef Sam Choy says of his life. Since gracing MidWeek’s cover in May 1996, the spirited and friendly chef has been keeping busy traveling, filming Food Network shows, publishing his latest cookbook and watching his granddaughter grow up.
“We just got back from filming with Emeril Lagasse. He and I kind of mirrored each other: I did a poke, he did a poke. I did an island-style dish, he did an Emeril dish,” laughs Choy, who filmed a show with Lagasse that will air on the Food Network in March 2007.
Elsewhere on the Food Network, Choy guested as the challenger chef on Iron Chef America, battling in a cookoff against Cat Cora. Despite being defeated, the Kona resident says he had a great time.
“That was fun,” he says. “We’re all good-spirited people.” His next food-related challenge is next month, when he’ll participate in a Chef Challenge with other chefs from New York, Texas and Maui. Coincidentally, the theme is Hawaiian luau on the beach for the 21st century.
Besides doing cooking of his own, Choy has made it easy for us to cook at home by following recipes from his recently published cookbook Aloha Cuisine. Featured are vintage and nouveau recipes, comfort foods, signature dishes and other Hawaiian delights for which Choy is known.
Next to cooking, family is most important to this proud dad and granddad. Choy especially enjoys spending time with his hula-dancing 8-year-old granddaughter Samantha and helping his wife in their garden when he has free time.
With the holidays in full swing, the Choy family has big plans, just like the rest of us, for whom to see, where to go and most importantly, what to eat.“We might be at Lake Tahoe for the holidays, or might go up to Arizona to see friends who live part time in Hawaii. It would be nice to just stay home, but I gotta listen to my wife. She is the team,” Choy jokes.
Elsewhere in the Choy family, Sam Jr., 26, is a captain of a fishing vessel in California. His other son Chris, 21, works as a commercial fisherman with a local group from Kona. And Choy’s beloved dog, Hoku Aloha, is 11 years old.
Besides being blessed with a wonderful family, Choy also enjoys the work he does with his Sam Choy’s Finding The Connection program. The program helps kids who “have a hard time putting things together due to circumstances beyond their control.”
“That’s been really rewarding,” he says. “We live in the most wonderful place in the world, it allows me to go out and showcase more than just food. Working with the younger kids that are least fortunate to have love, I’ve been really working hard.”
- Kerry Miller
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