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Hawaii: In Real Life ~ Allen Hess

Chef Allen Hess visited from the Big Island so we talked about his food and his new gig at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel

Posted September 14, 2012 by Melissa Chang

If you know the Big Island, you know Allen Hess (@ChefAllenHess) as a longtime chef there who had been at Merriman’s before owning his namesake Waimea restaurant, Allen’s Table. He recently joined the Mauna Lani Bay & Bungalows as the Chef de Cuisine of the Canoe House, and has put some of his signature touches on the menu.

The Neighbor Islands, being mostly ag land, have an easier time than us urban Oahuans in bringing a larger variety of farm-to-table items to their diners. Visiting local farmers and ranchers to select the best possible ingredients is part of Hess’ daily routine. Where possible, he makes menu items in-house, such as sausages, patés, dry-aged meats sourced from Hawaii Island beef producers, and, most notably, his house-smoked and cured bacon, seasoned with peppercorns, cloves and nutmeg.

Hess embraces a “slow food” take on Hawaii Regional Cuisine, inspired by Hawaii’s plantation era — so much, that in 2010 he was selected to represent Slow Food Hawaii at the annual Terra Madre conference in Torino, Italy. Terra Madre gathers sustainable food producers, farmers, chefs, educators and activists from around the world to connect and share their stories and traditions, in addition to determining innovative solutions for keeping small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production alive and well.

Hess recently visited Oahu, so we caught up with him in Chinatown to hang out, eat, and get to know him better. Make sure you watch the whole video to find out what the September dining special is!

We wanted to find out what else is going on with Hess, the Canoe House, and the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. Visit to see more!


You can read all of Melissa’s blogs at Follow Melissa on Twitter @Melissa808, on Foursquare as Melissa808, or email at

  1. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Delicate Blossom:  Ok, this is the first time I heard the term “slow fuud”.  I had to think about it but got it…like the Geico Gecko “my mind went to a strange place”.  The lady sure wasn’t “slow” about asking for fuud though!  What a crack up!

  2. bettydalycity
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    My late dad use to worked at Sun Sun Lau on Hilo as a cook.  My things that time have to made in the restaurant due not much place have it.  They made their own noodles, and tofus butcher own livestock too.   Too bad restaurant now gone since it as old as Wo Fat .

  3. Melissa808
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

     @Annoddah_Dave whaaaa??? For real? The term has been around for a while, BUT I do believe it’s a term that maybe urbanites are not as used to. 

  4. Melissa808
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

     @bettydalycity Yes, so many old-time restaurants are gone! They’re really a treasure. I love homemade noodles!

About Melissa Chang

Melissa has been blogging regularly since 2007 and has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and public relations. She is currently an independent marketing consultant, specializing in social media. 

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