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Alan Wong, Ross Baechle, chef instructor Jason Peel, winning students Nohea Banner Martin and Mychelle Coon, Stephen Reyes and Denise Yamaguchi

Center: Fan’s Choice award winners chef instructor Paul Heerlein, Lily Frazier and Thomas Elcarco.

Kapiʻolani Community College won the inaugural University of Hawaiʻi Culinary Institute of the Pacific Brewing Future Minds Statewide Competition and the $9,000 first prize–$5,000 for the school and $2,000 for each of the two student chefs on the team. Four teams from UH community colleges competed in the event sponsored by Stella Artois, Hawaiʻi Food and Wine Festival and Kauaʻi Shrimp and held at the UH Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) on Diamond Head.

The UH teams from Kapiʻolani CC, Kauaʻi CC, Hawaiʻi CC Hilo and Hawaiʻi CCPālamanui had to create a dish using Kauaʻi Shrimp that pairs perfectly with a Stella Artois beer. The entries were judged by Chef Alan Wong of Alan Wong’s, Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Hawaii, Chef Keoni Chang of Foodland Super Market, Ross Baechle of Stella Artois and Paul Bienfang of Kauaʻi Shrimp.

The winning dish—spiced grilled Kauaʻi shrimp, plantain, sauerkraut applesauce and Stella cheese sauce—was inspired by a German recipe said Kapiʻolani student chef Nohea Banner Martin, who partnered with fellow student Mychelle Coon to take the competition.

“It’s exciting to see that all these chefs are here to try what we are making,” said Martin referring to the famous judges. “It means that they support what we are doing, so it’s nice.”

The celebrity judges were just one element of the competition. The CIP kitchen was packed with student chefs, judges and other guests who were able to enjoy the dishes as soon as they were prepared and plated before their eyes.

“I would say it’s a little stressful, but it’s also very satisfying to be able to see right away their face, while trying it,” said Martin. “I think it is a really cool concept.”

Wong, a graduate of the Kapiʻolani CC culinary program, says competition is a great experience for the students.

“All the culinary schools get their students together and compete, they’re like striving,” said Wong. “I think that’s the most important thing. The bonus is the food taste great!”

Kapiʻolani CC Chef Instructor Jason Peel, the instructor for the winning team, helped organize the competition. He says his goal is to get all of the UH culinary programs to compete.

“The biggest thing I want to see is getting the state together, getting the schools and start building this camaraderie,” said Peel.

The team from Hawaiʻi CC–Pālamanui, Lily Frazier and Thomas Elcarco, won the fan’s choice award and $500 each from Stella Artois. Their chef instructor is Paul Heerlein. The competitors from Hawaiʻi CC Hilo were student chefs Sachie Oshima and Jomar Oli with Chef Instructor Brian Hirata. The Kauaʻi CC representatives were Caylen Ajimura and William Park with Chef Instructor Steven Nakata.

“I was pleased with every dish,” said Wong who raved about the students and instructors before thanking the sponsors. “They create funds for competition like this, which raises the bar for all culinary campuses, for the future of the industry and the future chefs of Hawaiʻi.”

Speaking of future chefs, The winning team from Kapiʻolani CC will be featured at the Hawaiʻi Food and Wine Festival’s Winederland event at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on Friday, October 26, 2018.

Food being plated

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