During the Top Chef Workshop, Chef Adam Tabura showed the crowd how to incorporate local flavors and fresh produce in delicious and nutritious dishes. The attendees even had the opportunity to taste his creations after each demonstration! With more than 20 years of experience in cooking, Chef Adam is armed with a wealth of culinary education and expertise.
Why is it important to have fresh produce in your dishes?
As a chef growing up in Hawaii, it’s always important that we stay sustainable, first of all. And second, it’s healthy eating. Hawaii produces a lot of great vegetables, fruits and produce. But along the way, we have to use a lot of the mainland stuff, too; because of the fact that we don’t grow apples here or grapes here.
A lot of our produce does come in from the states. A chef like me likes to collaboratively use the local ingredients we have here with the mainland ingredients; putting them together to see how they face off. A lot of times it’s really good stuff.
What’s the most innovative dish you’ve created using fresh produce?
Innovative ways of cooking as a chef is that today I used fresh taro that comes from Hawaii. It’s a Kalo. I put it in my crab cakes. It’s like east meets west. I used Hawaiian ingredients such as Maui sweet onions, Calamansi Juice and fresh Dungeness crab. I made a nice little crab cake that we seared off with some Japanese breadcrumbs; it was really nice and unique. Crab cakes are familiar but it’s never used with Kalo or Taro.
What’s one tip you would give people who are looking to get started in cooking?
To all the young chefs out there or chefs starting their business, be true to your menu. Take care of your farmers, get to know your farmers and know your product. You learn more from a farmer than you think.
I like to work with farmers on the daily and my biggest saying is this: keep it real, use fresh produce and try to keep it local.
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