Honokaa students enjoy culinary journey on ship


A culinary extravaganza on the Holland America Line MS Oosterdam cruise ship was eye-opening and inspiring for 18 Honokaa High and Intermediate students, including Roxy Wells, Kiani Oneil-Salazar, Jeffany DeRego, Isaiah Fernandez, Malia Lindsey, Sherry Anne Pancho, Micah Saito, Angelo Gonzales, Kereiti Karsin, Jennalyn Baia, Kiara Martinez, Ashlynn Kaimakini, Sharlene Bala, Samantha Shea Miguel, Gary Torres, Kawehi Lara-Aguirre, Richard Duarte and Sean Perala taking the Culinary, Hospitality and Hotel Operations class.

Students enrolled in Culinary, Hospitality and Hotel operations at Honokaa High School have been studying the principles of formal/iInformal dining under the instruction of Rebecca Jones.

Jones, a veteran teacher from Tennessee believes in “appreciation” and “practice” for students to learn course objectives. When Jones heard of this exciting event sponsored by Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, she felt this was an educational opportunity for students to engage in formal dining replicating what millions of passengers actually are able to experience on worldwide cruises. Students would learn more about elegant, casual and buffet dining, as well as having multiple career exploration opportunities. These would include knowledge of food service industry, management and medical careers along with ship safety policies and procedures that are critical to passengers and workers in these career roles.

According to Jones, “Mr. Gray, Principal of Honokaa High School encouraged these efforts for students to have this learning experience since most have never been on a cruise ship. While students are making decisions about their career path, they also have a passion for the culinary industry. Students from varied demographics are developing a sense of marketing themselves while understanding that achievement is vital in the global workplace. In helping students Believe in themselves, it is important that they focus on success as they visualize their future. They must learn through the examples of others that success is not about the number of hours they have to work, but about the challenges they must tolerate, the end result and the lives they touch along the way. To be a part of the VASH experience is truly a way ‘to make a difference’ in their lives.”

“The ship is like floating on a piece of land in the water,” said RJ (Richard).

“It’s just Big,” added Sean.

“And this ship makes me feel safe. Look, the crew is having a fire drill right around the deck in front of us,” said Jennalyn, also noting that the ship takes their emergency preparations seriously.

Luncheon dining is an elaborate affair as the group indulges in many courses including Grilled Scallop in Ginger Soy Glaze, Chilled Sour Cherry Soup (just something a little different), an entrée of Olive Oil Poached Ling Cod, Oven Baked Rack of Lamb or Harvest Butternut Squash Risotto and a dream dessert, Crunchy Fruit Napoleon.

Linda Allen, executive director of VASH, said their mission is “to share the aloha spirit with visitors affected by adversity.” VASH services help identify options and fill the gap until visitors can access their own resources. For example, there is assistance with lost/stolen passports, credit card and identification; emergency lodging arrangement, emergency transportation; emotional support and much more.

“I would like to make the lamb. It would be fun to go and help in the kitchen just to learn. I like to try new things and really enjoyed the lamb,” Isaiah said. This was a reference the fact that original menu presented to the class before the trip and was changed.

Micah has been accepted into Culinary School and he found the atmosphere relaxing. “I got to try all kinds of food; this is a very good job experience. The lamb, the flavor, I would like to experiment with all kinds of foods.”

It was enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, as Sherry said. “Eating in the dining room, being served makes me feel special. The crew is friendly and the room is quite big and pretty.” She found that there was much to learn especially about the auction.

AS dessert arrived, Sharlene said, “It’s the design ... makes it good enough to eat.”

Then it was off to tour and go through the buffet line on another floor to sample everything.

As they came to say their good-byes to the crew and VASH, it was with ice cream cones in hand. However, they had to finish before leaving because ice cream is not allowed to leave the ship.

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The Third Thursday Thrive, TTT, Community Potluck is on Thursday, March 15, at 6 p.m. at North Hawaii Education and Research Center.

Do you wish there was an easy way for all the local citizens and ohana in the Hamakua area to gather without agenda, to share and support one another as we learn to thrive into the future? If you are interested in growing into the future in a way that is sustainable and includes everyone, you are curious to meet people who want to make our community more resilient, and if you care that the future be fruitful for “our kids, our families, our farms and our businesses, please come! Meet with your friends and neighbors to share food, fun and manao, and let’s explore the ways we can create this, both locally and islandwide.

This month features Christian Kay, who will talk about the Hamakua CDP Strategic Plan and Celtic tunes by Jim and Teri Sugg. TTT Community Potlucks are an ongoing event, held every third Thursday of the month. For more information, call 775-1234.

Carol Yurth’s column is published every Sunday and spotlights activities on the Hilo-Hamakua coast. She welcomes items for her column. Reach her by mail (46-1240 Kalehua Road, Honokaa HI 96727) at least 10 days before the requested publication date, call her at 775-7101, or e-mail waiukahe@interpac.net.