It's hard to say exactly which part of this trip was my favorite as there were so many memorable moments to choose from. If I have to choose one in terms of a moment, it would be the part of the Beach Cookout where we all grilled and were sitting together talking story. I think it gave everyone that feeling of caring for one another after a long day of fun in the mountains and picking maile. Being by the ocean with an open fire after the grill slowly died down was super cozy and nice. That sense of family made me want to do it here on Oahu too. It was super nice to see how everyone had brought their own food to grill or cook to share with one another. Most of these things I have never had before, but it also reminded me of why I came to Hawaii. It was simply because Hawaii was the first place I really felt at home, as everyone was welcomed no matter where you came from or who you are. Hearing everyone joke around and just have a good time talking with one another was so much fun and unforgettable. This was definitely one of the most memorable trips of my life and I know that I will never forget about it. 

In terms of my favorite food experience, it would have to be the Lomi Oio with the opihi because it was so different to anything I had before and really good too. I have never had opihi as fresh or big as those that I was able to try at the Beach Cookout. I would have never thought to have eaten anything like the Lomi Oio before, especially being from Germany. Poke is already something people have no idea of in Europe and eating something as fresh as this would not even have been imagined. It was so good with the chili pepper water and soy sauce and I liked it with rice too. It was a lot, so I think it was really good to share with others and I just want to say thank you for allowing us to taste this. I think Hawaii is the one place I started to like and really learn about all the different raw fish and seafood dishes. Also both the Beach Cookout and the after party showed how everyone shares a little bit of their food with each other, making it a big community gathering. Thank you so very much Chef for making this great experience possible. 

- Melanie Maier