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Keaau, Hawaii – The annual event Taste of Puna Cook-Off brought out another year of creative recipes featuring products and ingredients from the District of Puna located on the Big Island of Hawaii. Valerie Ferrari, marketing director of Keaau Shopping Center, coordinated the popular community started by Carl Okuyama of Sure Save some 13 years ago. The event was held on Saturday May 15, 2010.

According to Audrey Wilson, food column writer for the Hawaii Tribune Herald and published author,

“Each was a winner in my book! Lisa Velez had her husband as her cheerleader and supporter, along with their five children. Amanda Fergerstrom was so proud because most of the products she used were grown in her Puna home. She raises chickens and rabbits and uses their droppings for manure for her garden. Her grandson raised the tomatoes she used for her taco dish and she raised the green onions, limes and ginger. The other produce came from Orchidland. Her daughter, Sunserence Quevedo, spent nights and nights perfecting her pumpkin crème brulee. She was very proud that she raised the pumpkin in her garden.

Like a paniolo, Bill Eger made his meatloaf in a cast iron Dutch oven and served his home-grown Tellicherry black pepper flavored mashed potatoes and Mountain View watercress. His Cowboy Bill's Puna meatloaf was his original recipe with various Puna products and his own Tellicherry red and black pepper.

Shane Hanaoka, first-year culinary arts student at Hawaii Community College, nervously watched each judge for reaction as we sampled his Banana Lilikoi Upside-Down Cake”

Judges for the event included Audrey Wilson, Sonia Martinez, Richard Ha, and Carl Okuyama. Peter Kaluna’s Mauna Loa Sunrise won the stomachs and eyes of the judges.

Peter took the grand prize, with his Macadamia Nut and Coconut-Crusted French toast. Local items used were Lava Rocks Goat Cheese, Puna Best Bee's Honey, Vanilla Crème Auglaize, Sweet Potato Hash with Keaau Papaya and Banana Spirulina Smoothie. The words Taste of Puna 2010 were carved into a papaya containing the smoothie.

Here’s Peter’s delicious super crispy coconut macadamia nut crusted French toast.