The 16th-annual Hilo Culinary Classic is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. today, and promises to be the largest display of culinary technical skill, creativity and knowledge since the Hawaii Community College Culinary Arts Program began the food competition 16 years ago, said event coordinators.
Entries created by second-year Culinary Arts students from HCC will be on display, along with those of adventurous first-year student chefs. Culinary Arts graduates and professionals will square off in the guest competition.
The event will feature food to eat as well as food meant exclusively for viewing as first-year HCC students present a heavy pupu buffet. Foodies, families of student chefs and all members of the public are invited to savor a tasty feast while enjoying the technical heights HCC culinary students reached.
The Hilo Culinary Classic is large this year because of recent growth of HCC’s Culinary Arts Program. The Classic is the capstone project for culinary students and is the culmination of their studies.
The HCC Culinary Arts Program is an American Culinary Federation Accredited College. Students graduating from the program are hired at a higher standard throughout the United States.
Professor and chef Allan Okuda said the competition format “really tests the knowledge and skills of our students.” Okuda set high standards for the show, which gives each student the opportunity to prepare their most elegant, innovative and technically challenging creations.
A team of accomplished chefs will judge the entries in accordance with American Culinary Federation rules. Captain of the team and returning judge, Jim O’Keefe, formerly of O’Keefe and Sons Bakery, will bring his years of knowledge and practice in the culinary realm to the table. Chef Ernesto Limcaco, Corporate Executive chef for Y Hata Ltd., is also a returning judge. Chef Casey Halpern, of the venerable Café Pesto and a long-time supporter of the HCC Culinary Arts Program, rounds out the panel of judges.
The student displays will be evaluated on presentation, nutritional balance, thematic balance, workmanship, practicality, creativity and composition. Awards will be presented during the public exposition.
The event takes place at the HCC cafeteria in Hilo.
Tickets are $9.50, and are available at the HCC cafeteria, Bamboo Hale and from culinary students on campus. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Call 934-2559 for more information.