Let’s Talk Food: Hawaii is represented on ‘Top Chef Family Style’

  • TOP CHEF FAMILY STYLE -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ocean Kanekoa, Jaydene Kanekoa -- (Photo by: Smallz & Raskind/Peacock)

  • Photo: Smallz & Raskind/Peacock Shown are Ocean Kanekoa and Jaydene Kanekoa.

I wrote about Big Islander Ocean Kanekoa and his passion for cooking. He and his sister, Jaydene, were featured on the first episode of Peacock’s ‘Top Chef Family Style’ on Sept. 9 and will continue weekly on Thursdays.

‘Top Chef Family Style’ brings together talented young chefs to sharpen their knives and battle it out to prove their abilities. “Each week, the pairs will showcase their culinary prowess and teamwork for guest judges and special guests, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who challenges the chefs to make a dish highlighting luxury ingredients, such as truffles, caviar and sea urchin, while Jojo Siwa tasks the duos to wow the judges by sight and taste in a sweet dessert spectacle.”


Only one chef duo will be crowned ‘Top Chef Family Style’ with a grand prize of $50,000 by Capital One. Along the way, the chefs will participate in special challenges to win $10,000, provided by Hellmann’s, another $10,000 sponsored by State Farm, tickets to an NFL Sunday night football game, tickets to WWE’s Wrestlemania, a trip to Universal Orlando Resort’s three amazing theme parks and a visit to Food &Wine Test Kitchen.

I interviewed Ocean and Jaydene about their experiences being on the show. They represented Hawaii and were the only brother/sister participants as most of the young chefs came with a parent.

The first word out of Ocean’s mouth when I asked him to tell me about his experience on the show was “AWESOME!”

He said it was so amazing to be around kids his age and younger with the same passion in cooking as he has and would do it again in a heartbeat!

On the show, Ocean announced that he wants to have his own restaurant by the time he is 18 years old. Knowing him and his passion, I am confident he will be able to fulfill his dream.

Jaydene noted that representing Hawaii and our local foods was a wonderful way to showcase our cuisine. She wanted to get rid of the notion that we are a state of just pineapples. She said she is proud of the dishes they created and wants the whole state to streamline on Peacock to watch ‘Top Chef Family Style’ to see for yourselves.

I probed them for more information but they were not able to talk about the outcome of the show.

‘Top Chef Family Style’ hosts are Marcus Samuelsson and Meghan Trainor.

Marcus Samuelsson is the head chef of Red Rooster in Harlem, New York. Born in Ethiopia, he was adopted by Anne-Marie and Lennart Samuelsson of Gothenburg, Sweden. Through his maternal grandmother in Sweden, Samuelsson became interested in cooking.

Samuelsson has the 10 dishes that made his career:

• Mackerel, either smoked or pickled

• Shiro, a simple Ethiopian dish made of chickpea flour

• Swedish meatballs

• Arctic char and mushroom stew

• Tomato soup with crab he learned to make at Aquavit

• Foie gras ganache, also from Aquavit

• Beef kitfo, Ethiopian beef tartare

• Fried chicken from Red Rooster

• Crispy rice with sea urchin learned to eat when he lived in Japan

• Herring – a Swedish tradition

Swedish meatballs

1/2 cup crushed rusks or white bread crumbs

3/4 cup cream

1 cup ground beef

1/2 cup ground veal

1/2 cup ground pork, preferably with fat

1/2 finely chopped onion

Butter for frying

1 egg


White pepper

Soy sauce, optional

Soak the bread crumbs in the cream. Mix the ground meats and add the cream and bread mixture. Brown the finely chopped onion in a little butter. Mix the onion with an egg and add it to the meat mixture. Work the mixture until smooth. Add some more water to give a smooth consistency, season with pepper and salt as you go.

Roll the meat into balls. The simplest method is to shape them using the wet palm of your hand and a couple of tablespoons, alternately standing them in a glass of hot water.

Melt a rather large quantity of butter and put 10 to 20 meatballs at a time, depending on their size. Let them brown, and shake the pan now and again so that they roll around, removing each one when they are ready.

If the meatballs are to be served with gravy or sauce, proceed as follows:

Rinse the frying pan with water after each frying and add new butter. When all the meatballs are ready, sprinkle a little flour in the pan, pour in the gravy and stir until the sauce is even. Flavor with a little white pepper, salt and perhaps some soy sauce. Let the meatballs bubble gently for a few minutes in the sauce, over low heat. If creamy sauce is desired, pour cream into the pan after the last frying.

Serve the meatballs with potatoes, lingonberries, salt or pickled cucumber and gravy.

Foodie Bites


Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Program’s Cafeteria is open for takeout from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Please call during business hours at 934-2559 and provide your order, name, phone number and pick up time.


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