No More "Taste of Honolulu" - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

No More "Taste of Honolulu"

Sean Priester Sean Priester
John Howell John Howell
A Tasty Memory A Tasty Memory
Taste of Hawaii Chefs Taste of Hawaii Chefs

By Joann Shin

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Every year for the past 15 years, tens of thousands of people have flocked to the Easter Seal's Taste of Honolulu fundraiser.

But despite its success, Easter Seals announced Tuesday afternoon, it's canceling the tasty tradition - for good.

Easter Seals officials felt it was time to shift gears and focus more on the organization's primary mission.

An announcement that comes as sad news for restaurants that come out to serve up their best dishes.

Sean Priester turns up the heat.

He's the executive chef at Top of Waikiki.

Once in awhile he likes to take his skills on the road at events like Taste of Honolulu.

For him the venue offers an opportunity to show off his creations. This past june his dishes won several top awards.

Priester said, "As far as popularity, I believe it's one of the largest, most attended food events on the island."

Pictures in his kitchen, show the first year Priester and his crew participated at Easter Seals Hawaii's main fundraiser.

This year Taste of Honolulu drew 47,000 people.

It raised close to $300,000 dollars.

But now the organization has cancelled the event.

"People are probably scratching their heads saying, 'How can you walk away from the most successful event in the state?' It's time." said John Howell, president of Easter Seals Hawaii.

Howell says the event was once needed to keep the organization running.

Now it only accounts for about 2% of the organization's total operating budget.

He says it's time to refocus.

"We have to have 2,500 volunteers just to put this event on, our accounting office closes for one month after the event to do nothing but pay bills and sort out financial things and really our mission is to work with children and adults with disabilities," Howell said.

"It's worth the investment. It's a great charity and there's tons of locals that come by and really enjoy our product. It was a great time this year. I'm sorry it's gone," said Priester.

Easter seals still plans on hosting a fundraiser. Officials are looking at various options that won't be as labor intensive as Taste of Honolulu.

The organization plans to make that announcement in January.