The 4th Annual I LOVE POKE Festival Returns to Bali Hai May 29th | Festival Founder, Nino Camilo, Partners with Harney Sushi’s Chef, Rob Ruiz, to Bring Only Sustainable Seafood to this Year’s Event

April 3, 2013

Tickets are now available to San Diego’s 4th Annual I Love Poke Festival, a food festival and competition that celebrates Hawaiian culture and cuisine, taking place at Bali Hai on May 29th.  For the first time in the event's history, the chefs that compete for the title of "Best Poke," will be required to use sustainable seafood in their dish.  Festival founder, Nino Camilo of I Love Musubi has partnered with Chef Rob Ruiz of Harney Sushi, San Diego's first sustainable sushi restaurant, to make this possible.  In addition, for those who really love poke, you can do it twice in a row as Orange County will host its 2nd Annual I Love Poke Festival on June 5th at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach.

This year, chefs that compete in the foodie festival’s main event, a culinary battle for the title of “Best Poke” will be required to use a sustainable seafood product in their dish. Each chef will create one Poke dish that will be evaluated by a panel of esteemed judges based on presentation, quality of ingredients and flavor.

Poke is a Hawaiian delicacy traditionally made with cubed ahi tuna, a species that is in decline. To bring awareness to the importance of sustainable fishing, and challenge consumers to choose sustainable seafood, I Love Poke Festival founder Nino Camilo has partnered with Chef Rob Ruiz of Harney Sushi to help participating chef’s source product from sustainable seafood distributors.

The I Love Poke Festival is broken up into two sections:

Pokeland – 12-15 chefs compete for the “Best Poke” crown and produce their unique version of the popular fish dish, which will be available for attendees to sample. A panel of judges consisting of chefs, musicians, athletes, food writers and others will evaluate each dish and crown a winner.

• Foodland – A place for attendees to sample Hawaiian and Asian inspired food from 15+ additional restaurants. Traditional Hawaiian Plate lunches, Chamorro Food from Guam, shave ice, Malasadas, and Island inspired cupcakes are some of the many offerings that will be available at the festival.

Defending champions of last year's sold out festival include Chef Antonio Friscia of Gaijin and Chef Jeff Harris from Primo Beer. Tickets may be purchased online at

We at SanDiegoVille covered last year's I Love Poke Festival and can attest to it being a unique, fun, and delicious experience.  Stay tuned to SDV for more on this year's I Love Poke Festival and for all the fun happenings in America's Finest City.