Cooking with the Flavors of Aloha
HAWAII IS A FEAST FOR THE SENSES
Breathe in and smell the sweet spice that rises from hillside sugarcane. Rich soils, tropical sunshine, and blue skies make the land fertile, while the sea—never far away—bathes the coast in shimmering aquamarine. Surfing was invented here, and beneath the ocean waves swim the fish that have long provided sustenance to locals and visitors alike.
At Tommy Bahama, we have always revered Hawaii for its connection between culture, a sense of place, and its food. We aspire to create those same authentic connections in everything we do—from designing swimwear and clothing to creating accessories and gifts. Today, with Tommy Bahama restaurants throughout mainland America, Hawaii, and Japan, we also have a special connection to what we eat. And we want to share it with you.
This is the first in a series of Cooking with Tommy Bahama books. It’s a mouthwatering collection of 100 recipes. Selected signature recipes for the Tommy Bahama restaurants, developed under the auspices of our Director of Culinary, Don Donley, have been adapted for this book. Flavors of Aloha tells the story of Hawaii through its food and the people who produce it. The Island community is home to indigenous Hawaiians and Asian and European immigrants. Together they have created a unique confluence of cultures: a panoply of cooking traditions. It’s no wonder the art of the table has made Hawaii a culinary paradise—one that draws liberally from afar yet remains grounded in local custom.
Recipes pay homage to these diverse origins and include selections such as Tuna Poke with Guacamole and Flatbread, Steamed Sea Bass with Ginger Dipping Sauce, Guava-Glazed Baby Back Ribs, and Korean Steak with Ssamjang Dip. Desserts like Pineapple Crème Brûlée, Kona Coffee Flan, and Jelly Malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) continue to seduce the palate at the end of dinner or as a midday treat.
As you turn the pages, you will also come to know the people who supply ingredients for great Island dining. They include longtime coffee farmer Tom Greenwell, cattle rancher Keoki Wood of Parker Ranch in Waimea, eco-farmer Steve Sakala of Honaunau EcoRetreat and Farm, and chef/farmer Stennis Hirayama, now executive chef at Tommy Bahama’s Mauna Lani restaurant. Each of these talented individuals has a special relationship with the natural bounty of Hawaii. Their experience gives them an insider’s understanding and perspective, which we are delighted to share with you.
We ask you to sit back, relax, and explore Flavors of Aloha at your leisure. The images are meant to inspire. They reflect a unique culture of dining and the provenance of what we eat. Our recipes are designed for home cooking. They are approachable and filled with natural, good-tasting ingredients grown as Nature intended. This book reflects the spirit of aloha (peace) and ohana (home). Ultimately, we hope to bring a sense of place to your dinner table, wherever it may be, with meals to nurture you, your friends, and family for years to come.
E´ai kākou! (Let’s eat!)