San Diego's 4th Annual I Love Poke Festival Announces 2013 Competing Chefs, Participating Restaurants and an Impressive Panel of Judges

May 23, 2013

The 4th Annual San Diego I Love Poke Festival has proudly announced its lineup of competing chefs, participating restaurants and judges for this year’s festival, which is broken up into two sections - Pokeland, where competitors compete for the best poke dish, and Foodland, where some of San Diego's finest chefs and restaurants will be offering up delectable tastes (not limited to tuna) in a diverse food festival. There will also be a special performance by Hawaii’s well-known soul and reggae singers, Kimie and Irie Love. The I Love Poke Festival will take place at Shelter Island's Bali Hai on Wednesday, May 29th from 6:00 – 9:00PM.

In Pokeland, local chefs will compete for the title of "Best Poke” and each will help promote the importance of sustainability and fishing responsibly by using only sustainable seafood, a new rule for this year’s competition. Participating chefs include:

Team Hapa J’s of Hapa J’s Kitchen Bar Lounge (2011 Winner of Traditional Poke)
Chef Antonio Friscia of Gaijin Noodle & Sake House (2012’s ‘Any Kine’ defending champion)
Chef Kurt Metzger of Kitchen 4140 (2011’s ‘Any Kine’ winner)
Chef Ricardo Heredia of Alchemy
Chef Gayle Covner of Blueprint Café & In Good Taste Catering
Chef Christopher Spayde of Blue Wave Bar & Grill
Chef Anthony Sinsay of Burlap
Chef Maria Sparks of Cork & Platter
Home Chef Rob Farrow sponsored by Double Take
Chef Olivier Bioteau of Farmhouse Café
Chef Robert Ruiz of Harney Sushi
Chef Doug Moric of Le Papagayo
Chef David Bland of Peohe’s
Chef Jeff Rossman of Terra American Bistro
Chef Keoni Simmons of The Field Irish Pub
Chef Jannine Williams of Whole Foods

Foodland will share additional Hawaiian and Asian inspired food for sampling from these restaurants:

Casa de Juice
Zarlitos Family Restaurant
Hawaii’s Island Eatery
Ho’onani Cakes
Wahine Kai Shave Ice
Cups Organic
L&L El Cajon
Chamorro Grill
Chris’ Onolicious Grinds
Guahan Grill
Barrio Star
Hawaiian Springs Water
Wild Thyme Company

The panel of judges will evaluate each dish in Pokeland based on presentation, quality of ingredients and flavor and crown a winner. Judges include:

Joel Tudor, professional surfer
Keli Dailey, U-T San Diego, Food Writer    
Kimo Huddleston, San Diego Polo Club Player & native Hawaiian
Alex Becker, Katsuya Regional Chef
Christian Hosoi, professional skater

The I Love Poke Festival is a food festival and competition that celebrates Hawaiian Food and Culture.  Poke is a Hawaiian delicacy traditionally made with raw ahi tuna, cut into cubes and lightly seasoned. Ahi is at risk of being overfished and to bring awareness to the importance of sustainable fishing and to challenge consumers to choose sustainable seafood, I Love Poke Festival founder Nino Camilo has partnered with Chef Rob Ruiz (Harney Sushi) to help participating chef’s source product from sustainable seafood distributors.

Tickets to the I Love Poke festival are $55 and can be purchased online. Bali Hai Restaurant is located at 2230 Shelter Island Dr. with amazing views of the San Diego skyline.  For more information, please visit and check out the promotional video below.