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Dishing it out has never looked or tasted better. On December 4, Kapiʻolani Community College Culinary Arts and Culinology and Leeward Community College Culinary Arts students competed in the “On the Line” entrée competition at the Culinary Institute of the Pacific.

7-Eleven Hawaiʻi partnered with Kapiʻolani CC and Leeward CC to develop a better-for-you entrée that may potentially be sold at all 7-Eleven Hawaiʻi locations for a limited time in 2020. This competition supports the local agriculture industry and local culinary talent, as well as enables the students to apply their culinary knowledge and technical skills to develop a new food product.

Eight finalists put their best food forward.

  • Ritchie Wong (Kapiʻolani)-Mapo Tofu Udon
  • Ranie Ranga (Leeward)-Tofu Kabocha Stir Fry
  • Toby Kammunkun (Kapiʻolani)-Chicken Tom Yum Couscous
  • LaTonya Emedo (Kapiʻolani)-Pacific Rim Meatballs
  • Lee Ann Young (Kapiʻolani)-Thai Curry (Kabocha Puree) Soba
  • Jeremy Stevens (Kapiʻolani)-Shredded Chicken Burrito
  • Brittany Soga (Kapiʻolani)-Chicken Hekka Long Rice Noodle
  • Kainoa Reloza (Kapiʻolani)-Sinigang Rice Noodle Soup

“Partnering up with these large companies gives students this opportunity to boost up their resume or say hey look at this I made this dish that millions of people can buy,” said Kapiʻolani CC Culinary Arts Instructor and Culinary Innovation Center Director Lauren Tamamoto.

The contestants’ dishes had to contain at least two locally grown, caught or raised ingredients and have no more than 700 calories. The entrée also had to be able to withstand four hours under a heat lamp, had to include at least three components, such as protein, vegetables, grains or pasta, and could not contain rice.

““We like that demographic with new ideas, they think out of the box, so things that we haven’t thought of and the culinary students have the skill to put it together,” said Debbie Lee Soon, 7-Eleven Hawaiʻi senior category manager of fresh food.

Kainoa Reloza’s Sinigang Rice Noodle Soup took first place honors and a $1,000 prize, with Brittany Soga’s Chicken Hekka Long Rice Noodle a close second. Ritchie Wong’s Mapo Tofu Udon was named the People’s Choice winner, taking home $250.

Reloza’s dish incorporated local Kauaʻi farm raised shrimp, locally grown sweet onion, bok choy, okra, long beans, roma tomatoes and rice noodle in a tamarind broth. “I just cook basic food you know, I didn’t think something as simple as what I made would actually be sold. It’s a little unreal.”, said Reloza.

Soga’s inspiration for her dish came from her childhood. “Itʻs like a comfort style food for me and it reminds me of my Grandma. Hopefully you can take away from it that feeling of being at home or reminders of the past of memories that bring you back.”

Smiling people
From left: 7-Eleven Hawaiʻi president Greg Hanna, 1st place winner Kainoa Reloza, People’s Choice winner Ritchie Wong and runner up Brittany Soga
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