The Outstanding in the Field travelling dinner series is coming to Hawaii Island! Big Island Abalone is hosting the rare and unique culinary event in Kona this Saturday, January 16, 2 p.m., at their aquafarm at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) facility.
Founded in 1999 by California artist Jim Denevan, OITF events are roving restaurants without walls. Held at farms, ranches, and vineyards all over the country, Outstanding in the Field was designed to bring people together to learn about food grown where they live and enjoy some amazing cuisine in the process.
Denevan says he created the concept, “a big table, carefully composed alongside the ingredients for the evening’s feast, in order to inspire conversations with the general public about food, community, and the meaning of place.” Now in its 17th year, OITF has organized more than 600 Outstanding in the Field dinners in all 50 states.
I have to admit, I jumped at the chance to attend this event because these special culinary experiences are rarely held on Hawaii Island. The afternoon will include a tour of the aqua farm as well as four-course meal prepared by chef Bonita Lao of Bonita Lao Catering. Raised on the Big Island, Lao has worked at fine dining restaurants from Italy to Australia, including the Chef Marvo restaurant in Honolulu and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Can’t wait to try her food!
In addition to seeing how Chef Lao prepares the abalone I’m also looking forward to learning more about Big Island Abalone. CEO Hiroshi Arai has created the largest abalone aqua farm in the world. The 10-acre facility, located just south of Kona airport, raises more than 5 million abalone a year and produces 100 tons of live abalone annually for U.S. and Asian markets.
Tickets for this culinary extravaganza are $195 and you can get your tickets here or go to oustandinginthefield.com for more info.