Poke Contest and Hawaiian Festival a Big Success
By Warren Seta
With an atmosphere filled with Mai Tai’s and aloha shirts, the elegant dining room of Yama At The Galleria restaurant in Bellevue, looked more like the Polynesian Cultural Center then the upscale Asian fusion eatery that it is.
Yama was the site of the 1st Annual, Northwest Region Poke Contest and Hawaiian Festival on Sunday, August 26th. Hosted by Yama’s Chef/owner Warren Seta, the event was filled with the sounds of Na Leo O Hawaii and the superb hula and Tahitian dancing of halau Ke Liko A’e O Lei Lehua. As these talented entertainers enamored the crowd, the poke contestants were busy at work trying to become the Northwest poke champion of 2007 and earn the free trip to Hawaii and entry into the Sam Choy Poke Contest.
Celebrity chef Sam Choy was here for the event and entertained the crowd and other chefs with his winning style and culinary flair.
Seta hosted a professional division contest which showcased four of the Seattle area’s top chefs each representing their restaurant. In the end, it was Chef Dan Thiessen owner of the 0/8 Seafood Grill and Twisted Cork Bar pulling off the win despite heavy competition. His winning poke recipe of “A Walk On The Beach,” which featured Hawaiian Ahi, Yakima Peaches and Chanterelle mushrooms and consumed in 3 steps, including the sipping of different beverages to clean your pallet, was both delicious and unique.
The runner-up, Chef Steve Cain of Waterfront Seafood Grill will stand by as an alternate, should Thiessen not be able to compete in the Hawaii tourney. The two other contestants were Chef John Howie of Seastar Restaurant in Bellevue and Hawaii’s own, Chef Taylor Sakimae, of Kona Kitchen, owned by actor Yuji Okamoto who was also present at the event.
Warren Seta from Pearl City, O`ahu is the chef and owner of Yama At The Galleria in Bellevue, Washington.
A Walk on the Beach…
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