Most great epicures will agree that presentation can be equally as important as flavor. For our “Island Snow” shoot, Russell and Karolyn Stokes, owners of Kauai Cuisine, prepared a scrumptious menu that was truly a feast for the eyes. A variety of colorful dishes look magnificent stacked atop large blocks of ice carved by Aloha Ice Sculpting. At the center, a punch bowl is sculpted in the ice and filled with tropical Champagne punch.
The dazzling display incorporated an array of contemporary cultural dishes including Thai sushi handrolls with lemongrass coconut milk, Thai peanut sauce and chili-glazed ama ebi; Kilauea sweet corn crème brulée with lobster, tarragon and chives; and a saffron seafood custard with crab, tomatoes and basil—cleverly presented in ceramic Chinese spoons. The grilled cheese and tomato soup is delightful. Served chilled in a martini glass, the two-toned vine ripened tomato soup is topped with a fresh mozzarella and basil crostini sandwich. Port glazed figs with mascarpone and proscuitto are nestled within tiny baskets of macadamia tuille. The grand finalé, Togarashi charred rare ahi offered on bamboo forks with pickled ginger, caviar and wasabi aioli—delicious! To satisfy the sweet side, the chefs prepared a chilled Hayden mango shooter of pineapple and guava coulis rimmed with li hing mui, a unique blend of sweetness and tartness. Each and every dish offered an unexpected twist in its intense flavors and vibrant colors.
According to chefs Russell and Karolyn, the recipe for creating a memorable dining experience is, “Fresh local ingredients, years of culinary expertise, and a tremendous passion for food…,” Their multicultural home on the quiet island of Kauai influences their choice of ingredients, with traditional Hawaiian preparations taking center stage. “Our cuisine is a culmination of different influences, with a basis in local Hawaiian ingredients and classic French cooking techniques,” says Russell. He and Karolyn pride themselves on not limiting their menus to luxury products. “It is most important to select foods at the height of flavor—taro just out of the ground, mangoes ripe from the tree, delectable fish fresh from the ocean,” says Karolyn, “If you start with the freshest, purest ingredients, it is hard to go wrong.” Russell adds, “Great meals, like great music, have a rhythm and harmony all their own. Each bite should flow seamlessly into the next, and when finished... leave you yearning for just one more taste.”
Photos by Reve