Experience authentic Kaua’i with a plant-based cooking class at the Anaina Hou Farmers Market


Although Kaua’i is known as the Garden Isle, visitors rarely consider the edible garden that is the island. Kaua’i has several great farmers’ markets, and now, at Anaina Hou Community Park, you can sign up for a Saturday Farmer’s Market cooking class that doubles as an in-depth education on that location’s fruits and vegetables. abundant.

Chef Troy Damery, a self-taught master of vegan cooking, is originally from the Midwest but visited Kaua’i with his family every year as a child. Four years ago, he made the island his permanent home, and his plant-based cooking classes are a great way to experience true Hawaiian culture. Located in beautiful Kilauea (not to be confused with the active volcano on the island of Maui), on the North Shore with the backdrop of the Anahola Mountain Range, Chef Troy’s enthusiasm for local cuisine is on display and he likes to share it.

While his classes are designed as a parent/teen bonding activity, Troy is a versatile teacher who can meet children of all ages and adults of all skill levels wherever they are. My 13 year old son and 8 year old daughter had fun learning the names of new fruits – and tasting them – then cooking with Troy and enjoying a meal together.

The experience begins with a “guided drill” of the market, as Troy guides us through the stalls, chatting with each vendor by name and carefully considering what to buy for the impromptu meal we would prepare together. Then, after prepping, chopping, combining and tasting some more, Troy baked our vegan creation in the commercial oven inside – he fell in love with “Sunday baking” while in England, and it is its Hawaiian twist—with an Ayurvedic kitchari as a base—as we had 45 minutes to freely explore the market. My kids headed straight for the fresh coconuts and cocoa smoothies.

When we returned, we feasted together on a healthy and delicious vegan meal. Of all the many adventures we had in Kaua’i that week, this was the most satisfying in terms of getting in touch with the local culture.

The experience is sponsored by Common Ground, a community-based organization whose mission is to deliver regenerative, equitable, ambitious and sustainable (REAL) change for our food systems, the breakdown of which has been further exposed by the pandemic. Common Ground examines the impacts of food systems to transform the supply chain, celebrating the people who play a role in growing and making the food we eat, as well as the food itself.

Anaina Hou offers other cultural experiences including the Ahi Lele fire show on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the summer. Kilauea is a bustling town, with a great fish market, bakery, and the coolest shops on the island. Whether you’re staying in town or just passing through on your way to Hanalei, you should definitely make time to enjoy the Farmer’s Market and a fun, educational, and delicious cooking class with Chef Troy.


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