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The Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) at the Kapiʻolani Community College, in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), launched a joint workforce and professional development program to enhance the skills of chefs and aspiring foodservice and hospitality professionals.

Related story: Culinary Institute of America training chefs at Culinary Institute of the PacificApplications are now open for the first two cohorts starting this fall. CIA is widely recognized as the world premiere culinary school with a primary campus in Hyde Park, New York, and branch campuses in St. Helena and Napa, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Singapore.

The collaboration was announced on June 27 at the CIP Diamond Head campus, attended by CIA leadership, state lawmakers and industry leaders.

“This initiative marks a pivotal moment in creating a world-class culinary institute in Hawaiʻi,” said Roy Yamaguchi, chef and CIP director, who is also a CIA alumnus. “We are excited to collaborate with CIA to create a workforce development program that is uniquely rooted in our cuisine and culture.”

Specialized classes for industry professionals

person fixing foodThe program offers five-day culinary intensives focusing on Hawaiʻi-sourced ingredients, plant-forward cooking, and contemporary techniques, starting with ʻĀina-based Mediterranean Cooking and Pacific Rim Plant Forward Cooking this fall. Participants will earn certificates from both CIA and CIP, including continuing education hours and a digital badge. CIA plans to offer a total of 24 cohorts of the CIA-supported curriculum over the course of three years.

“Our collaboration with CIP represents a significant investment in Hawaiʻi‘s culinary future,” said Michiel Bakker, CIA president-elect. “We bring a track record of culinary excellence around the world, having established successful institutions in regions that have seen transformative economic growth.”

Full-scholarships and continued support

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Kapiʻolani CC Chancellor Misaki Takabayashi, Gov. Josh Green, Chef Roy Yamaguchi and CIA President-Elect Michiel Bakker

Gov. Josh Green and state leaders highlighted the importance of this collaboration for Hawaiʻi‘s tourism and hospitality industry. The state secured $2 million in funding through DBEDT for the CIP x CIA collaboration.

“By investing in their employees’ future, restaurant and hospitality employers can capitalize on this opportunity to retain and train key staff, incentivize employee retention, motivate talent, and provide opportunities for growth and promotion,” said Yamaguchi.

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority is offering full scholarships for 32 industry professionals to join the first two cohorts this September. Applications are open until August 1.

Top chefs showcased

Robynne Mali
Kapiʻolani CC culinary alumna and chef Robynne Maiʻi at CIA x CIP reception.

Following the announcement, invited guests enjoyed a private reception with renowned chef alumni from both institutions. CIA graduates Ki Chung, Michelle Karr-Ueoka, Andrew Le, Mark Noguchi, Thomas Wong and Roy Yamaguchi joined Kapiʻolani CC alumni Keaka Lee, Robynne Maiʻi, Jason Peel and Alan Wong to celebrate.

In November, the Hawaiʻi Ag & Culinary Alliance will host Global Culinary Finesse at the Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival to support CIP and its collaboration with CIA.

Phase II construction of CIP, featuring a signature restaurant, auditorium, additional parking, outdoor lab, gardens and a creative center, is expected to be completed in 2025.

For more, visit the CIP x CIA Workforce Development Program website.

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