Tweetstakes: Win a Food Fantasy Trip for Two to Hawai’i

The creators of the new What Chefs Eat iPhone app are offering you a chance to win a food fantasy trip for two to Hawai’i, including tickets on Hawaiian Airlines from the West Coast, a luxury hotel stay, private farm tour, exclusive dining experiences and a Mai Tai 101 private class.

From now until March 15, 2010, enter the tweetstakes by downloading What Chefs Eat from the Apple iTunes App Store and then “Share” a restaurant on Twitter through the What Chefs Eat app. Retweets from friends count too. Some restrictions apply.

A winner will be announced on March 16, 2010.

The What Chefs Eat iPhone app provides and insider’s guide to the local dining scene by sharing with you what Hawai’i’s top chefs eat on their nights off.

From only-in-Hawai’i favorites to the best spots for ramen and late-night eats, What Chefs Eat brings you the places and foods savored by Hawai’i’s best palates.

“When a search for sushi gives you 50-plus results, making a choice becomes a chore,” says What Chefs Eat co-founder Eric Nakagawa. “I’d rather have a few options from folks I trust.”

The new app created by Nakagawa and Melanie Kosaka profiles Hawai’i’s top chefs — culinary icons, those most watched and hot newcomers. It queries them on their favorite restaurant dishes and hangouts and brings users the complete details: what to eat, where, and why the chef loves it.

The best fried chicken? Roy Yamaguchi recommends Zippy’s diner in Kahala, far off the tourist track. The best pork chops? Alan Wong recommends Side Street Inn, where the chops are deep-fried and crispy.

Other featured chefs include Ed Kenney Jr., D.K. Kodama and Jon Matsubara. Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya contributed his picks, as did Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms. Coming weeks will see top picks from chefs like George Mavrothalassitis (Hawai’i’s only independent AAA Five Diamond recipient), Maui’s Bev Gannon, the Big Island’s Peter Merriman and more.

The idea was born in a conversation between Furuya and Kosaka, the James Beard Award-winning creator of Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter and Hawaii Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi. Furuya proposed a website featuring chefs’ favorite foods. Kosaka loved the concept but thought it would work better as a mobile phone application.

She contacted Nakagawa, a tech entrepreneur who had co-founded and sold Like Kosaka, Nakagawa was born and raised in Hawai’i. Both were excited about combining their foodie and techie backgrounds to support eating local.

“Breaking down the digital divide between larger businesses that have the resources to expend on websites and mobile marketing, and small businesses that may barely have the resources to develop a website, was a key factor in deciding to do this project,” Kosaka says. “We think What Chefs Eat is a win-win: Chefs gain exposure for their restaurants, and smaller restaurants gain notoriety by having a top chef select them as a favorite dining spot.”

Users’ trust is essential to the app. Featured selections by chefs are not for sale. Products and establishments cannot pay to be recommended. Advertisers are featured in prominent positions.

Relevant to locals and visitors. “The beauty of What Chefs Eat is its relevance to both locals and visitors,” Nakagawa says. “Locals can use it to get a trusted recommendation for Thai food or find out where Roy Yamaguchi goes for ramen.

Visitors can enhance their culinary experience by tasting the foods that top chefs in Hawai’i really eat.”

“The support we’ve received from chefs speaks to the commitment and aloha they have for preserving our Islands’ culture and unique lifestyle,” Kosaka adds.

“We are deeply encouraged by their efforts and hope this can serve as a launch pad to other cities.”

What Chefs Eat will continue to provide app users with exclusive travel specials, deals on dining and early notification of cool events. Watch for fun new promotions to be unveiled in coming months. Stay tuned!

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