Let Prince staff members prepare your Thanksgiving dinner. Photos by Randy T. Fujimori
Prince prepares traditional feast
By Simplicio Paragas
The somnolent aroma of roasting turkeys in the Prince Hotel Waikiki kitchen is enough to put anyone in a tryptophan haze. In a single day, staff members will prepare more than 440 hens, hundreds of pounds of mashed potatoes and gallons of giblet gravy, which must all be packaged then boxed and delivered to the porte cochere.
Throughout the years, the popularity of ready-to-eat holiday feasts has exponentially grown across the island, with local supermarkets getting in on the action and a slew of restaurants offering heat-and-serve turkey dinners. While the Prince was certainly not the first to introduce these take-home Thanksgiving feasts, they were the leader when it came to offering a hot-out-of-the-oven turkey.
Enough for a family of four, sides for these holiday dinners include 48 ounces each of cornbread-sausage-and-chestnut stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes; a pint and a half each of orange-and-port-wine-cranberry sauce and Molokai sweet potatoes; 36 ounces of giblet gravy; six freshly baked rolls; and a nine-inch pumpkin crunch pie. The centerpiece, of course, is the golden turkey, which glistens with a sweet honey glaze and is dotted with macadamia nuts. Additional sides of stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes are available for purchase.
“Globally the price of food has gone up 11 percent,” says food and beverage director Ward Almeida. “So we’ve had to increase our price but, at the same time, we’re using more quality ingredients. For example, we use Lehua Honey to glaze the turkey; it’s a little more expensive but it’s also supporting the local economy.”
Mizuno also substituted Molokai sweet potatoes for the maple-glazed yams. He says he did this more for aesthetic, explaining that the purplish color of the potatoes better complemented the color scheme of the entire dinner.
“We try to focus on making this more of a gourmet package and more modern,” Mizuno says. “There’s a lot of competition out there and we’ve got to be able to stand above the others.”
Judging by the volume of calls already received for this to-go Thanksgiving dinner, the Prince is again on pace to sell out well before the actual day, which requires a lot of coordination and volunteers.
Timing is key, according to Linda Leung, the hotel’s catering sales manager. “The turkeys are cooked according to pick-up time,” she says. “We’re only one of a few places that offers fresh hot turkeys.”
The process begins the Monday of Thanksgiving week, with Mizuno and culinary staff members slicing, dicing and prepping for the holiday dinners. “We’ll rent a 20-foot container and defrost the turkeys in there at least three to four days before,” says Mizuno, who experienced his first Prince Thanksgiving rush last year. “It’s a lot of work but everyone here pitches in.”
On Thanskgiving Day, the first batch of turkey will go in the oven between 4 and 4:30 a.m., and will continue until the last pick-up time at 1:30 p.m. Once fully cooked, the turkeys are removed from the oven, then transferred to a pan, tented with foil, put in a heater box and taken down to the porte cochere area.
“Now that was tiring,” Mizuno says. “It was up and down all day long, nonstop.”
To Order: Call 952-4789, Hawaii Prince Hotel (100 Holomoana St.), Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.princeresortshawaii.com