Brewing a better-tasting beer…at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa? Experimenting with electricity and yeast fermentation is actually a project for the state’s first culinology student, Alan Martin.
Martin will be the first graduate of the four-year UH culinology program, consisting of science degrees with two years of institutional food service management at Kapiʻolani Community College, followed by two years of food science and human nutrition–culinology from UH Mānoa.
He is already applying what he learns at UH to one of his jobs in the field as a baker at the Kahala Hotel and Resort.
“Having a way better understanding of how yeast really works on a molecular level or microscopic level really helped me understand how the bread works,” Martin says. “Since I started taking those (culinology) courses, my bread’s been coming out way better.”
The hotelʻs executive chef, Wayne Hirabayashi, says Martin has already developed new signature items and will help to expand the shelf life of other products, such as the hotel’s chocolate macadamia nuts.
“Itʻs limitless,” says Hirabayashi. “UH is part of Hawaiʻi, and Hawaiʻi’s just growing so fast. The food industry is growing so fast, and this is giving us a foot above everyone else.”
Martin’s former advisor at Kapiʻolani CC, Associate Professor Lori Maehara, says there’s excitement about the program.
“Culinology is important for Hawaiʻi because we need more graduates who are interested in the research and science component of culinary arts,” she says.
Adds Martin, “Culinary arts, of course, encourage a lot of creativity, and combining that with science, the possibilities are endless.”