LA Mag’s Island-Style Cookoff. Vote for Your Favorite PuPu!

Los Angeles Magazine’s Island-style Cookoff has narrowed down its competitors to a final four — Chef Neal Fraser of BLD Restaurant, Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose, and Chef Brendan Collins of Waterloo & City. Now it’s up to you to vote for your favorites and narrow it down to the two final chefs. The two finalists will battle it out on Wednesday, June 29 between 7pm-9pm at the Fairmont Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica. Judges include Chef Roy Yamaguchi and of Chef Ray Garcia of Fig.

Visit the four finalists’ restaurants to try out their creative entries, or try whipping them up at home, then vote for your favorites at The LA Magazine website. You can also purchase tickets to the final cookoff at this site for a mere 20 bucks!

This week, in no particular order, we will be publishing the final four recipes. We will be starting with Neal Fraser, because, you know, it’s not like we love him or anything, because that would be playing favorites. Check it out after the jump!

Hawaiian Tuna Poke, Wasabi Tobiko, Sambal Crème Fraiche

Serves 4 people

Hawaiian Tuna Poke

  • 12 ounces Hawaiian Ahi tuna, cleaned of sinew and skin
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 oz soy sauce
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • 1 oz seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ oz sesame seeds
  • 1 oz seaweed salad, frozen and chopped
  • ¼  oz wasabi tobiko

Sambal Crème Fraiche

  • 1 oz sambal (Siracha if you can’t find it)
  • 4 oz crème fraiche


  • 1 each russet potato, peeled and cut on a mandolin to make a gaufrette potato chip
  • Soy oil to fry chip, soy oil
  • Kosher salt to season the chip

Mix all of the liquid ingredients together to make a marinade for the tuna.  (Soy, sesame, rice vinegar, limejuice). Preheat fryer to 350 and fry potato chip till golden brown.  Remove from oil and place onto a paper towel.  Season with kosher salt. Dice the tuna into small cubes. Marinate the tuna in the seasoning liquid.  Add the sesame seeds, seaweed and tobiko. Whip the crème fraiche in a kitchen aid mixer till crème friache reaches stiff peaks.  Add the sambal and mix till incorporated. Place tuna in a ring mold.  Fill almost to the top.  Pack down with a spoon. Top with crème fraiche and smooth over the top with an offset spatula.  Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the crème fraiche to set. To serve, put ring mold on a plate and remove ring.  Garnish with gaufrette potato.

Photo by James and James Production

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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