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Watermark Publishing Sweeps Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Cookbook Awards Category

The annual Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards were announced Friday, May 11, 2012. Watermark Publishing’s nominees in the Cookbook category, A Sweet Dash of Aloha: Guilt-Free Hawai‘i Desserts & Snacks by Kapi‘olani Community College and The Hawai‘i Book of Rice: Tales, Trivia & 101 Great Recipes by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi, swept the category, taking the top Award of Excellence and the Honorable Mention award, respectively.

The judges praised A Sweet Dash of Alohafor its departure from the norm in Island cookbooks, saying,

So many locally published cookbooks are mishmash collections of ‘local food’ recipes. A Sweet Dash of Aloha is a refreshing well-focused, well-written cookbook that offers a new angle on local flavors and ingredients, combining simplicity and clarity with a sophisticated understanding of food, nutrition and health.

The Hawai‘i Book of Rice received compliments for its comprehensive coverage of the Aloha State’s favorite grain:

Tsutsumi has compiled a collection of dishes that reflect local tastes while exploring new and creative uses of rice. With its recipes for salads, appetizers, entrées and desserts, The Hawaii Book of Rice is certainly versatile. The book’s chapter on the history of rice in Hawai‘i is a well-researched, delightful introduction to the recipes and offers a solid backdrop for the social and economic importance of this local staple.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that a Watermark Publishing title has received the Award of Excellence in Cookbooks. Last year’s Award of Excellence went to The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong by Chef Alan Wong and Arnold Hiura. Previous years’ recipients were Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands by Arnold Hiura (2010) and The Island Bistro Cookbook by Chef Chai Chaowasaree (2009).

Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New edited by Christine Thomas; Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances Kakugawa; and The Cocktail Handbook: Cool Drinks from Hawai‘i’s Hottest Bartenders by Jesse Greenleaf and Amie Fujiwara were also nominated in other Ka Palapala Po‘okela categories, but did not take home awards.

Our nominees & winners. Back row, left to right: Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi (The Hawaii Book of Rice); Christine Thomas (Don't Look Back); Amie Fujiwara and Jesse Greenleaf (The Cocktail Handbook); Watermark Publishing publisher George Engebretson. Front row: Wanda Adams and Adriana Torres Chong (A Sweet Dash of Aloha)

Each year, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association presents the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards to recognize and honor the best of Hawai‘i book publishing from the previous year. “Ka Palapala Po‘okela” literally translated from Hawaiian means “excellent manuscript. ”