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PRESS RELEASE: Chef Alan Wong’s The Blue Tomato Wins Top Cookbook Award from the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association

Ka Palapala Po'okela Award of Excellence
Contact: Dawn Sakamoto, (808) 534-7170 or

Chef Alan Wong’s The Blue Tomato Wins Top Cookbook Award from the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association

The annual Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards were announced Friday, May 6, 2011. Watermark Publishing’s The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong by Chef Alan Wong was nominated in two categories: Excellence in Cookbooks and Excellence in Design. The Hawai‘i Farmers Market Cookbook, Volume 2: The Chefs’ Guide to Fresh Island Foods by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, also from Watermark Publishing, and to which Chef Alan and 17 other top Island chefs contributed, was also nominated in the Cookbook category.

The Blue Tomato received the Award of Excellence in Cookbooks, the top award in the category, as well as an Honorable Mention for Design. James Beard award-winning chef Alan Wong was on hand to receive the Award of Excellence. Marisa Oshiro collected the Design award on behalf of Osaki Creative Group.

The Blue Tomato also was one of three nominees for the Samuel M. Kamakau Hawai‘i Book of the Year Award. The prestigious award is chosen from the top few books receiving the most write-in nominations from the Hawai‘i Book Academy, and the winner is then determined by final voting by members of the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association. This year, three books out of the total 51 possible choices received enough votes to become nominees — The Blue Tomato; What Maui Likes to Eat; and Polynesia: The Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian Art. Polynesia took home the win.

This is the third consecutive year that Watermark Publishing has taken home the Award of Excellence in the Cookbook Division. Last year’s Award of Excellence went to Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands by Arnold Hiura, Chef Alan’s co-author on The Blue Tomato; the 2009 Award of Excellence was presented to Chef Chai Chaowasaree for The Island Bistro Cookbook.

The Hawai‘i Farmers Market Cookbook was nominated in the Cookbook category, but did not receive an award. The Honorable Mention went to one of Chef Alan’s fellow contributors to the cookbook, Chef Tylun Pang, for his book, What Maui Likes to Eat.

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.”

Connect with The Blue Tomato via Facebook ( or via Twitter (@bluetomato808). The book’s website,, includes photo galleries, recipe excerpts and behind-the-scenes videos with Chef Alan.

A founding chef and renowned master of Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, Alan Wong is known the world over for his creative, cutting-edge cuisine. A 1996 winner of the James Beard Award, he is a tireless ambassador for Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine and a leader in America’s farm-to-table movement. Chef Alan worked previously at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Lutèce in New York City and The CanoeHouse on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. In 1995 he opened Alan Wong’s Restaurant—now Alan Wong’s Honolulu—and, in 1999, The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong, also in Honolulu. The Blue Tomato is his second cookbook.

The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong is priced at $40.00 (ISBN 978-1-9356900-7-8) and is available at bookstores, other retail outlets and online booksellers, or direct from the publisher immediately at

Watermark Publishing is a Honolulu, Hawaii, book publishing company. Established in 1999, Watermark Publishing has produced a number of award-winning books—including children’s books, memoirs, biographies and cookbooks—specializing in titles that celebrate Hawai‘i’s unique, “mixed plate” culture. Contact Watermark Publishing, 1000 Bishop St., Suite 806, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-7766; toll-free (866) 900-BOOK; fax (808) 521-3461;

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