An Excerpt from Melanie Inouye, chef de partie at Alan Wong’s Honolulu:
"I really enjoyed the trip, from the second we all got into the car heading to the airport; Chef & Leigh were both very willing to answer any questions we had.
Everyone we met was so knowledgeable & eager to talk to us during the event. It was exciting to even see one of my friends that I made back when I was a freshman at UH Hilo & see what he’s doing now. I had no idea that he was studying anthropology. But even talking to him, he was so passionate about the bees.
One of my favorite stories Chef told us was probably the one about how he got inspired from Chef’s Garden (Veggie Institute) in Ohio, because he saw one of their own Adopt a Beehive programs. I like how inspired he was to want to make an effort to create his own program that would help Hawaii in so many ways. It shows how productive Chef is in keeping the Hawaii Regional Cuisine alive. We wouldn’t be able to “taste Hawaii” if it wasn’t for the bees themselves.
With that small inspiration, Chef let it grow into something so great, something that could help all of Hawaii. I hope that one day I can do something like that also.”
An Excerpt from Melanie Maier, chef de partie at Alan Wong’s Honolulu:
“This was a once in a lifetime trip and experience. Starting from the day before, menu development preparations to the very last minute of that day. It was a great experience to be able to talk to Chef Alan and ask questions about anything regarding bees, as well as beyond. It was really a lot of fun talking to Chef and I think we found ourselves laughing most of the time throughout this trip.
Going out into the hives, taking the hive apart, while Brandon was explaining about the Bee’s and answering our questions was really cool. The suits were so funny and we were laughing so much throughout the trip. Being able to touch the hives and find the queen was amazing as well. I had no idea how many eggs a queen could lay and that the queen only mates once in her lifetime. I guess it is pretty efficient and overcoming our fear of bees was super fun as well.
It is difficult to say what was the highlight of this trip, because honestly every moment was a highlight and it would be very difficult to write everything that happened and we learned in a single paragraph. I think it hit all of us towards the end of the day and we were so grateful of everything we could experience.”
An Excerpt from Jen Tran, Captain, The Pineapple Room:
"The Adopt a Beehive function was a great learning experience. Being with the company for nearly 6 years, I’ve got to learn a lot about local farmers, the importance of supporting local businesses, and much more as well as being involved. It is a great pleasure to come along with Chef Alan and meet Lorna and the bees. Going to the Big Island gave me a better understanding of what we are taught during pre-service, because learning and hearing it is one thing and being able to interact with the farmers and having a hands on experiences is something even better!
When I was younger I use to grow up seeing a lot of bees, and now when you walk by a garden you’ll rarely close to never see any. Bees are important because they pollinate 99% of plants and we need them to do so, because animals eat plants. When we first landed, we were taken to Ken’s Pancake house. Sitting at the booth in front of us were syrups. Syrups are artificial and processed. Then Chef said “Why not honey?”, because compared to syrup honey is all natural, it also doesn’t spoil. As long as you keep it covered and out of moisture you can always reheat the honey and it’ll be good again.
At University Hilo Laboratory Farm we’re educated about local food production and the need to reduce Hawaii dependency on imported good and the issues of threatening honey bees’ role in sustainable agriculture. The importance of sustainability is so we can share what we have today with our children’s children. I hope others get to experience what an amazing learning experience this was for me, because it gave me a different perspective of the farmers and how passionate and knowledgeable they are is truly inspiring."