Six keiki finalists in the Hawaii Gas Presents 2023 Localicious® Recipe Contest Cookoff and four finalists in the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance Presents Food Innovation Pitch Fest will compete for a live audience at Bishop Museum this Sunday

HONOLULU, HI (October 26, 2023)—This Sunday, thousands of attendees are expected to make their way to Bishop Museum for the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival’s (HFWF) Family Sunday event, HMAA Presents Keiki in the Kitchen®. This year will be the first time since 2019 that the event will be held in its grand scale with celebrity chefs from near and far in attendance hosting demonstrations, cookie decorating activities, meet & greets and more! But a highlight of this weekend’s events turns a spotlight to local culinary talents from keiki to adults showcasing the best of Hawaii’s agriculture in two exciting competitions.

The annual Hawaii Gas Presents 2023 Localicious® Recipe Contest Cookoff features six finalists—three in each age category (grades 4-8 and grades 9-12)—who were selected from 127 entries that asked young chefs to create an original, healthy recipe featuring a locally grown, raised or caught product and inspired by something they would like to eat as their school lunch. For the first time, all six finalists are traveling from the Neighbor Islands to compete in the LIVE cookoff at Bishop Museum. A panel of expert chef judges—including Chef Alan Wong, HFWF co-founder & co-chair; Alicia Moy, President and CEO of Hawaii Gas; and Randall Tanaka, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Facilities and Operations for the Department of Education—will score their dishes on taste, presentation, creativity and use of local ingredients.

Finalists in grades 9-12 will be eligible to win cash scholarships of $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place winners, while finalists in grades 4-8 will compete for cash gift cards of up to $150 in value. This year’s finalists include:

Grades 4-8
Bennett Garzon
Carden Academy of Maui, Grade 6

Kālewa Marchello
Sacred Hearts School, Grade 6

Michael Polido
Waiakea Intermediate, Grade 6
Island of Hawaii

Grades 9-12
Aiko Kanemitsu
Molokai High School, Grade 12

Cisco Magbanua
Kealakehe High School, Grade 11
Island of Hawaii

Noah Wilson
Hilo High School, Grade 9
Island of Hawaii

The cookoff will take place in two sessions—Grades 4-8 from 11:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. and Grades 9-12 from 12:45-1:45 P.M.—at Atherton Halau. Entry to the cookoff is free with your HMAA Presents Keiki in the Kitchen admission.

New to Keiki in the Kitchen this year is a showcase of value-added food products using local ingredients to support Hawaii’s agriculture. More than 20 of the entrepreneurs who incubated their food products in Hawaii Ag & Culinary Alliance’s ChefZone Presents From Cottage Industry to Commercial Enterprise Program—in partnership with Leeward Community College and the Wahiawā Value-Added Product Development Center—will exhibit their commercial packaged goods and value-added products in the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance Presents Food Innovation Marketplace. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample products and purchase items, some of which are not yet available in stores. Featured entrepreneurs include:

Rhandi Ardona
Twisted Lumpia

Poni Askew
Hawaiian Vinegar & Spice Co.

Brandon Chung
The Hoio Guy

Tootsie Davis
Hawaiian Krunch Company

Caesar Ho
Hawaiian Soda Co.

Wendy Iwasaki
Any Kine SNAX

Leea Kalilimoku
Boxed Up Cookies

Maile Kamisugi
Ulu & Kalo Bakery

Trisha Kawakami
My Sweet World 808

Saki Kawanabe
Saki’s ALOHAS Lab

Martha Lanoza
Milo’s Patele Shop

Philip Nguyen
The Corner Rolls

Christina Peterson
The Mochi Bar

Micah Richards
Mauka Meats & Hawaii’s Würst

Stacey Robinol
Mochi Momma HI

Garrett Shiroma
Chibi Confectionery

Anuhea Sills
Mahina Mea

Misty Sommo
Mossy Mokes

Jason Weintraub
The Disco Farmer

Alyssa Yafuso
The Pau Hana Co.

Michael Yamauchi-Yamate
Luau Bombs

In addition, four of the entrepreneurs in the program were selected through a rigorous application process for the chance to win $10,000 for their businesses. The Hawaii Foodservice Alliance Presents Food Innovation Pitch Fest, hosted by TV Food Favorite Adam Richman, will take place LIVE on the mainstage at Keiki in the Kitchen at 11:00 A.M. Finalists Poni Askew of Hawaiian Vinegar & Spice Co, Brandon Chung of The Hō‘i‘o Guy, Micah Richards of Mauka Meats & Hawaii’s Würst, and Anuhea Sills of Mahina Mea will pitch their businesses to a panel of experts including Joni Marcello of Hawaii Foodservice Alliance, Jeff Yamasaki of ChefZone & Y.Hata Co, and Lauren Zirbel of Hawaii Food Industry Association. One winner will receive $10,000 with the runner up receiving $5,000.

Admission for HMAA Presents Keiki in the Kitchen is $5 per person (free for infants and toddlers under age 3). HMAA and Bishop Museum Members can attend HMAA Presents Keiki in the Kitchen for free* and may obtain a promo code by contacting their respective member services. Note that each attendee must present a valid HMAA insurance card with ticket for free entry. Attendees are encouraged to dress in Halloween Costumes! Visit to purchase tickets and view the schedule of events, lineup of participating chefs and more. Stay connected—follow HFWF on Instagram @HIFoodWineFest/#HFWF23 and Facebook at @HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.

For Press & Media inquiries, please contact:
Kristen Lau-Grover, Director of Marketing & PR | [email protected] or 808-721-1849

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival® is the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific. The three weekend Festival features a roster of more than 150 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, sommeliers, mixologists, and wine and spirit producers across three islands—making it the largest food and wine festival in the state of Hawaii. Co-founded by two of Hawaii’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs—Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong—the Festival was founded to put a spotlight on Hawaii as a culinary destination during the visitor industry’s shoulder season and showcase the state’s diverse agriculture by requiring all participating chefs to highlight locally grown, raised or caught ingredients in their dishes. In addition to showcasing local chef talent, the festival has become a platform to highlight local artists and artisans, makers, musicians, performing and visual artists to rebuild vital industries in Hawaii. Since the beginning, proceeds from the festival have supported local aina-based and community organizations committed to culinary and agricultural education, sustainability and cultural programs. In 2022 HFWF raised $380,000 to support 17 beneficiaries, bringing total giving since 2011 to $3.5 million.