culinary graduates group

Women’s Community Correctional Center culinary arts graduates with their instructor, back row, Chef Lee Shinsato, Darnell Maluyo, Brittany Poole, front row, Kimberly Kim, Alisha Kaluhiokalani, Eldine Quintal and Nikki Spears.

Six women from the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) received Kapiʻolani Community College culinary arts certificates on April 28, 2016. Graduates Alisha Kaluhiokalani, Kimberly Kim, Darnell Maluyo, Brittany Poole, Eldine Quintal and Nikki Spears held a special graduation luncheon for their families and staff at the WCCC, featuring some of the five-star quality cuisine they have learned to create.

The Kapiʻolani CC culinary arts program at WCCC is a comprehensive program that aims to educate participants in professionalism, commitment and responsibility. The women worked their way up from a beginner class to the intermediate level class. If they chose to continue, they can also participate in an advanced class. They also earn 14 credits that will appear on their University of Hawaiʻi transcripts.

Chef Lee Shinsato, a lecturer in the Kapiʻolani CC culinary arts department, oversees the class along with teaching assistants Anthu Nguyen and Kela Pulawa.

“This four-stage certification is the same document that college students get when they complete this class. They worked hard and made a decision to start doing the right thing,” said Chef Shinsato. “It’s all about the soft skills, respect, being on time, doing the right thing. These women are better human beings today and now they are ready for new challenges in life.”

Inmates learn real-life job skills and those who don’t complete the final, advanced stage of certification before they leave, can choose to continue their culinary training at Kapiʻolani CC.

WCCC administration is always trying to figure out what we need to do differently in order to create positive change in inmates,” said WCCC Warden Eric Tanaka. “This cost-effective training program is a stepping stone for the women who will eventually be released from prison. They now have skills to get a legitimate job, improve their options and change the course of their lives.”

Local-style grilled steak quesadilla with pineapple chutney

Graduation menu

  • Charred Poblano-Potato Soup and Insalata Gardiniera Tossed Greens
  • Roasted Tomato Caprese Crostini
  • Local-Style Grilled Steak Quesadilla with Pineapple Chutney
  • Lup Cheong and Pineapple Fried Rice
  • Ume Chiso Glazed Mochiko Chicken
  • Naan Banh Mi Slider
  • Raspberry Cheesecake Chiffon

Graduates, from left, Darnell Maluyo, Nicki Spears, Kimberly Kim, Brittany Poole, Eldine Quintal and Alisha Kaluhiokalani.

For more photos, go to Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety’s Facebook page.

A governor’s office news release