Culinary entries from across the state were tapped winners at the recent Big Island Chocolate Festival.
Chefs, chocolatiers and students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges during the three-day festival.
Event host, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, tied with Daylight Mind Coffee Company for best savory creation served at the festival gala. Padovani’s Chocolates took top bonbons. Earning No. 1 plated dessert was the Hilton Waikoloa Village, which also won the People’s Choice Award.
Madre Chocolate took the bean-to-bar category. Hawaii Community College-Hilo won the student competition, besting Maui Community College by a point. Hawaii Community College-West Hawaii Team 4 was close behind in third place.
“Presenting in front of such an esteemed panel of judges is priceless,” said chef Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla of Maui Community College. “The students will keep their critiques with them throughout their culinary careers.”
Leading the team of judges for the two competitions were celebrity chefs “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of New York City and Valrhona Chocolate’s Vincent Bourdin of Singapore.
Other team judges included chocolatier Ken Goto and pastry chefs Rhonda Ashton-Chavez of Four Seasons Resort Maui, Elizabeth McDonald of Mala Restaurant, Ricky DeBoers of The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Heather Campbell of Kauai’s St. Regis Resort Princeville and Daniel Sampson of The Fairmont Orchid.