Kapiʻolani Community College culinary students

The state’s best culinary students and professionals will be competing in the biennial Hawaiʻi Culinary Competition Expo and Salon on December 8 and 9 at Kapiʻolani Community College. The event showcases culinary competitions in cold food, hot food and pastry categories.

The chair for this event is Kapiʻolani CC Chef Alan Tsuchiyama. The competition is sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), and ACF certified chefs will be flown to Hawaiʻi to serve as judges. The lead judge will be Stafford DeCambra, who will be assisted by Douglas Fisher and Derek Spendlove.

John Richards, Kapiʻolani CC dean of culinary, hospitality, business, legal and technology education programs, observes that the competition challenges the skills and knowledge students learn in the classroom.

The winning team will be named state winner and go on to compete in the ACF Western Regional Culinary Salon Competition. The winning team from each region then earns the right to compete for the national title and the coveted ACF Gold Medal.

“We encourage competition because it brings participants to the highest level in the culinary world,” said Ron Takahashi, department chair for culinary arts. “Competition provides the best experience and it raises the bar for everyone.”

Program and competition support

The competition is part of the Lyle L. Guslander Distinguished Visitors Program in Advanced Food Service and Hospitality Education. The late Lyle and Grace Guslander recognized that while Hawaiʻi was geographically isolated, the islands offered incredible talent in the culinary and hospitality industries.

In 1989, the Guslanders made a generous donation to Kapiʻolani Community College to nurture a program that would attract world-renown culinary arts and hospitality leaders to Hawaiʻi to allow students and faculty to sharpen their skills and become global leaders in the fast-paced and rapidly changing industry.