PUHI — Kaua‘i people celebrated the end of a work week, congregating at the 9th Annual Culinary Institute of the Pacific Gourmet Spring Gala at Kaua‘i Community College, Friday.
The sold-out event featured the works of chefs from Kaua‘i fine dining facilities and was joined by guest chefs Alan Wong of Alan Wong’s Honolulu and The Pineapple Room, and Vikram Garg of the Halekulani Hotel.
Offering a break between sampling, patrons also could browse through the wide offering of items in the silent auction area, which Conrad Nonaka of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific said included room stays at the Halekulani Hotel.
The chefs were aided by the students from the KCC culinary arts program as well as students from the Waimea High School culinary arts academy.
Additional help was provided by students from various KCC student organizations as well as the Kaua‘i High School Academy of Hospitality and Tourism.
“We have 14 students here,” said Raisa Carlos, an AOHT student. “Half of the students are with the outdoor crew and the other half are taking care of the inside.”
Students headlined the bussing crew which took care of dishes used by the sold-out audience of several hundred people.
“This Ninth Annual Spring Gourmet Gala is the event for enjoying fine food, fine spirits, and friends,” said Helen Cox, KCC Chancellor, in the event program. “In addition, it enables our students to work and learn in the best possible kind of classroom, the real world.”
More than a dozen of the resorts sent its finest chefs to prepare samplings for guests taking the lead from Chef Wong whose crew prepared Seafood Salad on Soy Milk Panna Cotta and Pork Belly Bao Toast, that presentation being paired with BluFeld Risling 2009 (Mosel, Germany) and Wild Horse Pinot Noir 2008 (Central Coast) by Alan Suzuki, Constellation Wines U.S.
Garg offered Kona Lobster with Sumida Farm Watercress Veloute and Spinach and Kahuku Corn Saag with Sourdough Crostini, paired with Kim Crawford Saugignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand) and Red Guitar Tempranillo / Granacha 2009 (Spain), also presented by Suzuki.
Proceeds from the Spring Gourmet Gala helps develop the Kaua‘i Community College Culinary Arts Program and purchases essential kitchen and dining room equipment, instructional materials, and small wares, states the program. All of the purchased items are used for training which serves students, patrons and the hospitality industry on Kaua‘i.
Cox said community support at functions such as the Gala has helped the college’s culinary arts program achieve the high level of excellence which has attracted national recognition.
“Graduates of the program are not only well-trained to start their careers, they are also prepared to continue their education,” Cox sai. “As part of the University of Hawai‘i Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific, KCC provides a seamless pathway to further educational opportunities for out students.”
For more information on the KCC culinary arts program, call Bonnie Honma at 245-8257.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.