Hawaii Mom Blog: "Breaking the Kitchen Door" Talk Story & Pau Hana




September 4, 2020

"Breaking the Kitchen Door" Talk Story & Pau Hana

Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival (HFWF) and its digital content platform, HashiLife.com, will host its next a virtual HMAA Presents Talk Story and Pau Hana with #HFWon gender inequality in the kitchen via zoom on Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 5 p.m. (HST).

This second event in the HMAA Presents Talk Story and Pau Hana with #HFWF series, co-hosted by Les Dames d'Escoffier Hawai‘i Chapter, is Breaking the Kitchen Door. It will feature renowned female chefs, restaurant owners and restauranteurs from around the country exploring the disparity between men and women in the kitchen and why there are so few women that make it to the top in the culinary industry. Joanna James, producer, director and creator of the documentary, “A Fine Line,” will start the conversation, followed by a panel discussion featuring Elizabeth Blau, Elizabeth Falkner, Jacqueline Lau, Niki Nakayama and Janice Wald Henderson. James’ film explores why women are face rejection from the industry, when traditionally women have always held central roles in the kitchen.
Registered participants will receive access to screen the award-winning documentary ahead of the virtual event. Past Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival participants Dominque Crenn, the only female chef to achieve three Michelin stars in the U.S., Cat Cora, first female Iron Chef, and Elizabeth Falkner, are among the esteemed women featured in the film. We hope the discussion brings to light the fact that women are grossly underpresented in top positions in the culinary field, and how we might be able to change this gender inequality in the industry. The panelists will engage in candid conversations about their experiences in and out of the kitchen and what it takes to be the head chef, restaurant owner or restauranteur in a male-dominated field while also juggling the day-to-day responsibilities of being a mother, childcare provider, among other things.
The event will also feature a local pau hana with musical guest, Taimane, in partnership with Outrigger Resorts’ Kani Ka Pila Music Jam, plus a virtual wine tasting curated and led by the president of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Clarice Turner. Event registration and access will be available via Zoom for $10 with all proceeds benefiting the featured musician and the Kokua Ag & Culinary Fund, which supports the agricultural, culinary and hospitality industries in Hawaiʻi.
“Less than 7% of head chefs and restaurant owners are women, yet 50% of all graduates from culinary school are women,” said Denise Yamaguchi, CEO of Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival. “We hope this discussion sheds some light on why its easier to become a CEO than head chef in our country and how we might be able to change this.”
In addition to Joanna James, the panel includes the following chefs/restauranteurs, with more to be announced.

Elizabeth BlauCEOBlau & Associates
James Beard Award nominee Elizabeth Blau is the founder and CEO of restaurant development company Blau + Associates, a firm dedicated to creating world-class hospitality experiences, and is widely credited with transforming Las Vegas into the world-class culinary destination it is today. A judge on CNBC’s Restaurant Startup, she also operates several restaurants with her husband chef Kim Canteenwalla including: Honey Salt, Andiron Steak & Sea, and Buddy V’s Ristorante, a collaboration with TV’s Cake Boss Buddy Valastro.
Elizabeth FalknerChefAuthorArtist
In addition to her culinary efforts, chef Elizabeth Falkner has appeared in over 40 cooking competition programs and produced two short films on food. Most recently Falkner hosted and co-produced a documentary about the restaurant industry during COVID-19. She has appeared in many food magazines, and has received multiple awards, as well as a nomination for a James Beard Award in 2005.
Jacqueline LauCulinary Specialist for Sysco Hawaii, Owner of Chef Jax Kitchenette, and former Executive Corporate Chef of Roy’s®Hawaii
Jackie Lau began working for Roy Yamaguchi in late 1988, rising to the position of Yamaguchi’s first chef de cuisine, then executive chef and corporate chef for Roy’s Hawaii for 16 years. She has been recognized in the Hawai‘i Business News as one of the leading women chefs in Hawai‘i and inducted into the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame. Currently she works for HFM Foodservice/Sysco Hawai‘i as a Culinary Specialist and has her own company Chef Jax Kitchenette.
Niki NakayamaChef and Proprietor, n/naka
Niki Nakayama is the chef and proprietor of the highly acclaimed n/naka in Los Angeles, CA where she applies artistic and technical notions of kaiseki (the traditional Japanese culinary practice that emphasizes balance and seasonality in a series of dishes) to create an ever-evolving seasonal meal of the chef's choice unique to each diner.Since opening in 2011, Nakayama has been noted as a James Beard Award semifinalist and was named a 2014 “Los Angeles Rising Star Chef” by StarChefs. She is one of six chefs featured in the widely popular Netflix documentary series, Chef’s Table, which debuted in 2015.
Janice Wald Henderson, Culinary Travel Journalist
Four-time NATJA Award-winning cruise and travel journalist. Janice Wald Henderson’s fierce wanderlust led to decades exploring the world as a food and travel journalist. She’s traveled to 95 countries—some many times over—including the Russian Arctic and Antarctica. A two-time cookbook author and contributor to several travel guidebooks, she’s also been internationally syndicated, and penned pieces for numerous national magazines, including Bon Appétit, and websites like CNN.com and Today.com. Henderson was the co-creator of Cuisines of the Sun, preceding HFWF, in the 1990sas one of the premier culinary events in the country, held annually for 13 years on the Island of Hawai‘i.
Read more and discover #HashiLife at www.HashiLife.com.
Stay connected with the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival via www.HFWF.me or follow HFWF on Twitter/Instagram @HIFoodWineFest and Facebook at hawaiifoodandwinefestival for more information on upcoming events.

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