grand wailea’s michael lofaro Named “chef of the year,” and SEARCH HAWAII nominated for two EMMY® AWARDS!

Chef Mike Lofaro Headshot VerticleMichael “Mike” Lofaro, chef de cuisine of Humuhumunukunukuapua‘a restaurant at Grand Wailea Resort, was awarded Chef of the Year at the Maui No Ka Oi Magazine’s ‘Aipono Awards Gala at Grand Wailea. The prestigious Chef of the Year title is decided by peer review – voted on exclusively by Maui chefs. Lofaro also received the Most Innovative Menu and a silver award for Best Pacific Rim cuisine by the readers of the magazine.

It has been a big year for Lofaro, fondly nicknamed the “waterman chef.” He refers to the ocean as his hunting ground and uses his muse to fish, gather, forage and hunt for a quarterly dinner series called Ka Malama, based on the Hawaiian moon calendar and what is in season during certain phases of the moon.

His creative menus have him paddling a mile offshore at midnight to catch malolo (flying fish) and opelu (mackerel); hiking several hours into a valley to gather pohole fern; and jumping off the rugged ocean cliffs of the East shores of Maui to pick opihi (limpet). His kai momona dish combines wana (sea urchin), shellfish coconut emulsion, ogo (seaweed) and sea beans, and it won Best Protein Dish at the 2016 Maui County Agricultural Festival.

Lofaro takes farm to table a leap forward. In doing so, his dinners have inspired a television series – SEARCH Hawaii, Where Food Meets Culture – that will air 12 half-hour shows weekly on KHON2-Fox in Hawaii beginning this month, June 4, and an hour special in September. The show will air globally on independent stations around the world this fall, and on Hawaiian Airlines flights to and from Hawaii.

He and his co-host Hawaiian cultural ambassador Kainoa Horcajo have diverse but similarly passionate backgrounds. SEARCH Hawaii inspires viewers to consider local ingredients while they learn about Hawaii’s cultures and traditions with visually rousing images of their island home, meetings with local heroes, farming, fishing and cooking cultural ingredients throughout the Hawaiian islands. “I look at food differently now that I’ve been on this journey. I look at life differently,” said Lofaro.

We want to send our congratulations to SEARCH Hawaii, Where Food Meets Culture and their entire production team for their recent two EMMY® nominations! The 45th Annual Northern California Area EMMY® Award Nominations were announced Wednesday, May 4th during a live webcast from California. The EMMY® award is presented for outstanding achievement in television by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). Nominated in the category of Lifestyle – Program/Special, “SEARCH Hawaii” received nominations for their 2015 shows Episode 2-Oahu and Episode 3-Kauai:

Our congratulations go out to: Yvonne Biegel, Executive Producer/Producer; Kathy Muneno Thompson, Producer; Michael Lofaro, Kainoa Horcajo, Hosts; William Paris, Director/Director of Photography/ Editor; Scott G. Culbertson, Sound Engineer!

The winners will be announced at The Emmy Gala in the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco on Saturday, June 4, 2016. “It truly is an honor to receive recognition for a show that we love and believe in,” said Yvonne Biegel, Executive Producer. “We are just a few friends who respect the Hawaiian culture and like great food. When Kainoa and Chef Mike started talking about a dinner based on the Hawaiian Moon Calendar, Kathy and I knew we had a show.

“Mahalo to KHON2 and our early presenting sponsor Ulupono Initiative and supporting sponsor Grand Wailea for aligning with the story and vision. There is so much more to the story, so we will be launching a summer series and shooting a one-hour special on Hokule‘a.”

“Search Hawaii” will air in its new time weekly on Saturdays at 9pm beginning Saturday, June 4, 2016. The one-hour Hokule‘a special will air mid-September.

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