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For dessert, she scooped out the “meat” of the whole breadfruit, similar to a squash. She served it warm with ice cream and a flaming, orange flambé sauce perfectly flavored with award-winning Koloa rum. I brought some of the roasted breadfruit home and repeated the dish, heating it up in the microwave and tweaking the sauce with lilikoi juice, instead of orange. Used this way, breadfruit acts like banana. Olelo pa‘a recently became a champion for breadfruit after meeting Dr. Diane Ragone of the Breadfruit Institute at Kaua‘i’s National Tropical Botanical Garden. The institute promotes the conservation and use of breadfruit for food and reforestation, manages the world’s largest collection of breadfruit and is engaged in a global hunger initiative for food security. The chef used two kinds of breadfruit for our lunch, but said Dr. Ragone has collected more than 200 varieties and “there are even more.” After reading an article by Dr. Ragone, Olelo pa’a asked her how to get some breadfruit when she couldn’t find it here. She wanted to use breadfruit to prepare food for a North America media trip produced by the Hawai‘i Visitor’s Bureau. “Dr. Ragone and I became friends and I felt her passion for her mission to end starvation and hunger with breadfruit,” she said. This spring, Dr. Ragone invited Olelo pa‘a to Kaua‘i to do an educational video on how to cook with breadfruit. At press time, the video is still in production. “Breadfruit is one of the world’s highest-yielding food plants,” says Olelo pa’a. “Dr. Ragone and another colleague have identified productive and nutritious varieties.“

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The versatility of breadfruit is one of its attributes, she says, and by showing others how to use it, she hopes to change the perception that it is an unknown food. “I want to encourage its use and help make people feel comfortable using it.” Olelo pa’a says she feels “grateful and honored” that she works with food and can tell the story of how to use it. “I think working with food has opened doors for me on all levels: professionally, personally and spiritually,” she muses. “Having lunch prepared by Chef Olelo pa’a was not only a wonderful experience in breadfruit tasting, it was also a heartwarming experience, observing her connection to the ‘aina (land),” said Barbara. “I never knew breadfruit could be prepared so many different ways and taste so good.” ❁Continued on page 48

September-October 2011  
September-October 2011