Isle collegiate chefs recently hosted a gourmet dinner in celebration of Big Island growers, ranchers and fishermen and Local First, a new joint effort of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii Community College Culinary Arts Programs in Hilo and Kona and Sodexo Inc., which operates the food service on the UH-Hilo campus.
Special guests on the evening of May 4 at the Hawaii Community College Culinary Arts building included UH President M.R.C. Greenwood, UH-Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney and HCC Chancellor Noreen Yamane.
Local First promotes the use of locally produced food prepared with healthful cooking methods. The dinner featured a wide selection of pupus, entrees and desserts made with local products and a whole lot of love and attention to detail.
More than 50 guests enjoyed the evening, which also featured the HCC Hawaiian Life Style dancers and singers, said James Lightner, HCC Hospitality Division chairman.
In mid-April, HCC played host to the 14th annual Hilo Culinary Classic Competition.
“It was a great success on many levels. Our culinary community came out in force to support the event,” said Professor Chef Allan Okuda. “This year’s competition brought out the hard work and talent of our participating students.” said Okuda.
The chef instructors are Sandy Barr, Shawn Sumiki, Brian Hirata and Sandy Dubczak.
“Medals are awarded by cumulative points scored by the judges: there were a total of eight gold medals, seven silver medals, and three bronze medals — a record. We also had entries from Waiakea Intermediate students in a separate division: one silver and four bronze medals were awarded to these young culinarians.”
He and his instructional staff are grateful each year for the generousity of suppliers and judges, including Floral Resources, Hamakua Mushroom Farm, Hilo Products, Hilo Rice Mill, Suisan Company and Suisan Fish Market and Y Hata Ltd., along with professional judges Casey Halpirn of Café Pesto, Ernesto Limcaco of Y Hata Ltd. and Jim O’Keefe.
In the college division, Best of Show, Best of Division and gold went to Team No. 6, Stephanie Dawson and Karen Tanaka. Candicelee Spencer took gold, and second place in division and overall. Roxanne Daguio also took gold and third place in division and overall. Golds were also awarded to Team No. 1: Tayden Poha-Ellamar, Kenneth Rambayon and Chris Guerrero; Team No. 3: Karen Daniels and Annie Makekau, and to Jewell Boots and Sarah Perrells for individual entries.
Silver medals were awarded to the individual entries of Mark Sadang, Mark Libunao and Shaina Morita. Teams winning silver were Team No. 2: Jaron Balunso, Mark Tadeo and Josh Pertubal; Team No. 4: Keoki Medeiros, Martina Laimana, Diana Mitchell and Anson Almeida. Also taking silver was Team No. 5: Justin Del Castillo, Lindsay Chandler and Nicolas Nelson, and Team No. 7: Julius Nillo, Edmhar de la Cruz, Krissel Lagua and Jerome Manaog.
Bronze medals went to Dori Harwin, Ikua Purdy and Vai Polota. In the former-student category, Lazareth Sye was awarded gold and first place in his division.
In the intermediate/high school division, Maiyah Turner took silver and Best of the Division. Bronze was awarded to individual entries by Jasmine Caban (second in division), Kaytlen Kort-Prudencio (third in division) and Natasia Fontes. The team of Devin Salas-Anderson, Wren Pacheco, Kairie Aiona-Peppers and Jason Maldonado was awarded bronze.
“The chef instructors of Hawaii Community College Culinary Arts Program thank all who helped this show to success: our generous vendors, our hardworking students and their families, our judges, and the supporting community who patronize our restaurants and cafeteria, and this special event,” said Okuda.