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Hawaii regional cuisine (HRC) refers to a style of cooking and the group of chefs who developed it and advocated for it as a distinct Hawaiian fusion style. The cuisine draws from local ingredients (including seafood, beef and tropical foods), and is a fusion of ethnic culinary influences.
At their first meeting at the Maui Prince Hotel, the chefs debated what to call their group and their style of cuisine. At a second meeting on the Big Island of Hawaii in December 1991, discussion and collaboration continued among the twelve chefs: (Sam Choy, Philippe Padovani, Roger Dikon, Gary Strehl, Roy Yamaguchi, Amy Ferguson Ota, Jean-Marie Josselin, George Mavrothalassitis, Beverly Gannon, Peter Merriman, Mark Ellman, and Alan Wong). They formed a non-profit organization and trademarked the term "Hawaii regional cuisine". Roy Yamaguchi helped popularize it internationally.
This founding group of chefs worked to publish the 1994 cookbook by Janice Wald Henderson, The New Cuisine of Hawaii. These chefs also sponsored a cookbook to be sold for charity.
The development of Hawaii regional cuisine was a coordinated effort to move away from ingredients shipped over long distances and preparations that copied continental recipes even when they were not well suited to conditions in Hawaii. The mission of Hawaii regional cuisine was to inform the world about cuisine in Hawaii and promote locally sourced ingredients in the hospitality industry.
The goal of the group was to link local ranchers, fishermen and farmers with chefs and business in the hospitality and restaurant industry to develop Hawaii regional cuisine as a reflection of the community. They took uninspired international and continental hotel cuisine based on imported products and recipes from the mainland and replaced them with dishes and a cuisine based on locally grown foods.
Sam Choy, one of the founding contributors of Hawaii regional cuisine, is credited with drawing international attention to the style.