A group of culinary students and chefs

Maui Culinary Academy students and chef mentors at the 2012 Noble Chef fundraiser. (Photo courtesy UH Maui College and Peter Liu of Kaiscapes Media)

Even a tsunami warning couldn’t dampen the spirits at this year’s Noble Chef held Saturday, October 27, at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui.

Top chefs from five-star restaurants and resorts, Maui community members, and culinary aficionados from across the country gathered to experience delectable menu offerings and support the aspirations of students in the Maui Culinary Academy program at UH Maui College.

The Noble Chef is Maui Culinary Academy’s largest annual fundraiser, with proceeds directly supporting culinary education and student career advancement and community service.

Proceeds are allocated toward student scholarships, student field experiences and internships, student culinary competitions, program enrichment and enhancement, equipment purchase and maintenance, and professional development for culinary faculty.

Two students awarded culinary scholarships

It was a special night in particular for Peamsook Park, the first Maui Culinary Academy student to be awarded the Tylun Pang Aspiring Chef Scholarship. The scholarship was developed in honor of the Fairmont Kea Lani’s executive chef, Tylun Pang, a member of Maui Culinary Academy’s advisory board and a long-term supporter of the program.

Park will complete an eight-week, $5,000 paid summer work experience, which will include a close mentorship with hotel chefs including Pang, orientation to hotel departments, kitchen experience for Kō restaurant, and the chance to develop a dish that will be included on Kō’s 2013 menu.

Runner-up Kendra Carter received a special $1,000 scholarship award and will complete a one week internship in the Fairmont Kea Lani’s bake shop. The Fairmont Kea Lani has provided support for the Maui Culinary Academy over the years in a variety of ways, including serving as host for the Noble Chef event.

Students team with chef mentors on winning dishes

The lucky attendees who were able to get tickets to the sold-out event enjoyed a tantalizing array of appetizers prepared by Maui Culinary Academy students and their chef mentors, and then voted for their favorite.

“Best Use of Local Ingredients” was awarded to Chef Chris Kulis of Capische?, Maui Culinary Academy students Myron Ancheta and Desiree Valencia for their Big Island Mushroom and Taleggio Tortellini, Roasted Baby Vegetables and White Truffle.

Chef Lyndon Honda of 100 Wines, Maui Culinary Academy students Yi Song and Summer Manzano won “Best Presentation” for their Harissa Lamb Sausage w/ a Pickled Watermelon Radish & a Pimento Aioli.

“Best of Theme” went to Chef Mark Ellman of Honu/Mala, Maui Culinary Academy students Leah O’Brien and Lindsay Hunt for their Stuffed Kabocha Flower with Ricotta & Fennel Pollen & Basil Powder.

— Adapted from a UH Maui College news release

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