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Students working on a grill

Honey was the highlight of a mouthwatering menu prepared by Kapiʻolani Community College culinary students for supporters and donors of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s Adopt-A-Beehive Program with Alan Wong. It was the culmination of a two-day collaboration in November, blending sustainability, education and the importance of honey bees in our ecosystem.

Student pouring honey into a cup
Kapiʻolani CC students using UH Hilo honey in each dish

The event incorporated honey produced by UH Hilo’s apiary into a specially crafted menu made by Kapiʻolani CC Chef Alan Tsuchiyama and culinary arts program students in his “American Regional and Sustainable” course. The dishes included:

  • Honey and smoked paprika southern fried Ludovico Farm chicken
  • Honey bbq smoked pork ribs
  • Honey glazed sweet potato, apple banana and candied nuts
  • Mari’s Garden greens with house smoked honey bacon bits, honey glazed macadamia nuts and honey mustard vinaigrette
  • Honey butter cornbread
  • Honey vanilla panna cotta topped with braised honey pineapple

“We learned about the vital role that honey bees play in our community,” said Kapiʻolani CC culinary student Lauren Horita. “Honey bees are the pollinators of crops, allowing us to have an abundance of produce to create dishes. I loved that we utilized the honey from UH Hilo in various dishes and learned a lot about the varieties of honey, the describer factors and grades of honey.”­­

Adopt-A-Beehive Program with Alan Wong

Three people at U H Hilo honey and Kapiolani C C table
Chef Alan Wong, Lorna Tsutsumi, and Chef Alan Tsuchiyama

Now in its 13th year, the Adopt-A-Beehive Program raises awareness about honey bees’ vital role in agriculture and the environment while financially supporting UH Hilo beekeeping students working towards their degrees.

“Chef Alan Wong and I are very grateful for the opportunity to work with Chef Tsuchiyama and his culinary students,” said Lorna Tsutsumi, UH Hilo professor of entomology and co-founder of the Adopt-A-Beehive Program. “He took the honey harvested by the beekeeping students at UH Hilo farm and, with the skills that he imparts to his students, turned it into a fantastic meal for our community program supporters. That’s what it’s all about, bringing light to the importance of honey bees for local and global sustainability.”

Fried chicken in containers
Honey & Smoked Paprika Southern Fried Ludovico Farm Chicken

Tsutsumi and co-founder Wong shared their expertise with Kapiʻolani CC’s culinary program students through a unique presentation that highlighted the complexity and significance of honey bees in both the ecosystem and culinary arts. Their insightful lecture gave the students a deeper understanding of the journey from hive to table and emphasized the responsibilities of a chef regarding agriculture, sustainability and scarcity of ingredients.

“This experience with Chef Wong and Professor Tsutsumi has opened my eyes to how crucial honey bees are in our lives and as culinary professionals,” said student Ruth Cundiff. “Without bees to pollinate, we will start to see a scarcity in ingredients that are used daily. As an aspiring chef who cares about sustaining the foods we enjoy for the next generation, I learned of the importance of being mindful of the impact we make now.”

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