- What we consider Hawaiian food, a lot of it is not even Hawaiian.
For example, rice, not Hawaiian.
pineapples are totally not Hawaiian.
(laughs) Not at all (laughs), no.
(upbeat music) (speaks foreign language) - [Kala] I'm currently a student at Kapi'olani Community College, in the culinary arts program.
I also work with my dad.
Our catering company is Nui Kealoha.
- [Kealoha] I call my company Nui Kealoha.
Kealoha's my Hawaiian name, and aloha of course means love, it means warmth.
I'd to think that the food that we serve is filled with love.
- [Kala] We don't make Hawaiian food all the time, but we use our Hawaiian ideologies and methodologies in the food.
- [Kala] Coming.
A lot of the ingredients we use are local.
And a lot of farmers, they don't grow Hawaiian stuff.
You know, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, none of those are Hawaiian, but it's what we have, it's local, it's fresh, it's healthy, it's what we got.
- Kala's going to be focusing on sauces, dressing.
Kala is an expert he's done it a couple times already, so.
If you guys get question, you guys can ask him.
- [Kealoha] I don't see very many checks on there.
- Back home we do like four or five hundred people caterings, just me and him.
Sometimes you know, we do like two or three all nighters in a row, we don't sleep.
And that's when things can get antsy.
We buy dried, and we fry it, and we put sugar salt on it.
- Don't give away the secret!
(sighs) Delete that!
(chef sings) - [Kala] This is probably one of the ideal examples of the kind of events that we do.
We do a lot of stuff with native Hawaiian and culture, and we do a lot of conferences and you know, we do other stuff, but this is kind of our main audience that we cater to.
So this, really at it's heart is an indigenous research conference.
I looked at the workshops and the key notes myself.
And you know I would have totally loved to be an attendant at this one but you know, I gotta do what I gotta do.
I'm in the kitchen, I'm prepping.
(traditional Hawaiian music) My dad, he's probably one of the biggest role models in my life.
At the same time, we butt heads a lot.
- Kala, hold up on that batch.
We gotta get one batch out already because right now it's 12:09 let's get it out on a table.
(chuckles) It's kind of a push and pull between us.
Dad we said we were only gonna make one can of haupia sauce, yeah?
- [Kealoha] Use the bottled one.
- It's gonna be cooked anyway so.
- No no, I know I never said about the- - We get four cans I might as well use a a can for Haupia sauce.
- Okay, that's fine.
That's fine, that's fine.
That's fine, that's fine, that's fine.
(exciting groovy guitar music) - My dad, he never went to any formal training for cooking at least.
Kind of just goes very structured and rigid.
A lot of stuff he does by feel and by taste, and whatever is available, whatever works.
- Just hold it like that.
- Tonight's is a reception for doctor Isabella Aiona Abbott.
She was the first native Hawaiian woman to earn a PhD degree.
We tried to incorporate as much limu or seaweed as possible because that was one of the main parts of her life's work.
And she published couple books on it.
- Try this piece.
- I already tried one.
- I used her recipe that was in her ethnobotany about limu book.
And it was a Ogo Namasu, which is kind of like a pickled seaweed.
- Leave it all the platter and then we're gonna cover it with this, and it's good to go.
We're gonna combine the two dishes.
- Are you sure?
- [Kealoha] Yep, yep, guarantee.
(lighthearted piano music) Aloha, we wanted to honor coca Isabella Aiona Abbott, by having as much limu as possible on the menu.
And I know she was a big advocate for eating the invasive limu and kind of malamaing our native limu that we have here.
Eating the invasives is important because we need to realize that invasives are so abundant, like ogo or (speaks in foreign language) that's gonna be growing everywhere.
We don't want to take this small patch of say, limu lipoa, which is a type of native limu, and you don't want to use that all up.
(speaks in foreign language) For a long time, the American dream was what everybody wanted in Hawaii.
And it shameful to be Hawaiian.
I'm really in just in Hawaiian culture, Hawaiian language, I'm all for it.
- [Kealoha] You know, I don't expect him to take Nui Kealoha over, but I want him to know that it's there for him.
I think he could make a pretty decent living doing it.
So many kids these days they leave Hawaii, they leave their homes, just because it's not affordable.
I want my children to know that they always have a place.
I want them to be able to tell people that they lived on the same land that their ancestors lived on.