Photo by Rubens Kato
Kapiolani Community College is kicking off its Global Master Chef Series in a big way: Alex Atala, chef and owner of D.O.M., the award-winning restaurant in Sāo Paolo, Brazil, is cooking a pair of pop-up dinners July 26 and 27 to benefit the KCC culinary program.
Atala’s naturalist exploits were featured in season two of the Netflix documentary series “Chef’s Table.” D.O.M. has long been considered the best restaurant in South America. It’s ranked 16th on the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list; it has ranked as high as fourth. Three years ago Atala and D.O.M. won the Chefs Choice award.
Here’s a short clip from the “Chef’s Table” episode:
Frank Gonzales, organizer of the pop-up dinners, says it was a culinary program alumna who inspired Atala’s interest in Hawaii. KCC grad Mariana Sillaman was doing a stage at D.O.M. and made poke for Atala, which he loved. When he expressed an interest in one day visiting Hawaii, Sillaman and Gonzales got together and made that a reality.
While in Hawaii, Atala, who is known for his conservation efforts in the Amazon, is eager to experience Hawaii’s culture and visit various farms on Oahu. He has an ambitious goal: He wants to catch an ulua. If he does, it may or may not end up on the menu for the pop-ups at KCC’s Leahi Concept Kitchen in the Waikiki Parc Hotel, site of the old Nobu Waikiki.
“One of our intentions for Leahi at the Parc is to be a venue for pop-ups with guest chefs,” says program chair Ronald Takahashi. “With Chef Atala, we wanted to give the students an opportunity to interact with someone who makes an impact not just in his city, but on the world stage.”
The event is made possible through an endowment from the Lyle L. Guslander Distinguished Visitors Program. Dinner will consist of a prix fixe tasting menu by Atala with wine pairing by Master Sommelier Patrick Okubo. Reservations are limited to 50 seats per night.
Others who have signed on to cook pop-up dinners in the Global Master Chef Series include Miami celebrity chef and James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein in November, and Kentucky’s Edward Lee of “Top Chef” and “Mind of a Chef” in early 2018.
Global Master Chef Series pop-up dinners by Alex AtalaJuly 26 & 27 Leahi Concept Kitchen 2233 Helumoa Rd. Cost: $250 per person includes prix fixe dinner and wine pairings Reservations: 734-9499