Richard Ha writes:
Gourmet magazine has just ranked Alan Wong's Restaurant in Honolulu as the Eighth Best Restaurant in America. That’s on its most recent list of the America's Top 50 Restaurants, which it publishes every five years.
That’s pretty impressive, but Chef Alan—who uses Hamakua Springs tomatoes and lettuces at his restaurants—treats his farmers like they are the ones who are the celebrities. When Tracy and Kimo, the next generation of Hamakua Springs farmers, went to eat at his restaurant on O‘ahu recently, they were treated like celebrities.
The respect Chef Alan shows for the farm products we provide his restaurants has a big impact around here. Our people on the farm want to do a better job knowing that Chef Alan will handle our products in such a spectacular way.
When June and I attended the Tomato Fest in Carmel recently, we brought back some incredible new varieties of heirloom tomatoes. We cannot wait to harvest them and bring them to Chef Alan.
Recently, Chef Alan invited me to sit in on a product development meeting with his staff. They were discussing lettuce, and I learned a lot about how important every lettuce leaf is. I pay attention now to each leaf in every salad I eat, and all because of the attention that Chef Alan pays to our products. He truly makes us better farmers.
We know that being named Eighth Best Restaurant in America is a big deal. And we know that Chef Alan makes us farmers want to do the best job we can do. For that, he's number one in our book.