By Sandra Barr Rivera, Culinary Arts
The 13th Annual Hilo Classic Food Show and Competition, hosted April 8th at the Hawaii Community College Campus by the Culinary Arts Program was the largest and best attended of their annual competitions. Second year East Hawaii student Rochelle Pagala, graduating this May, brought home the Best of Show Trophy and gold for her whimsical Celebration Cake, “ Underwater Adventure” featuring a cast of sea creatures, including Nemo.
Second Place overall and gold was won by the West Hawaii team of Nichole Humphries and Bruce Lee for their five course, “Menu Gastronomique”. The West Hawaii team of Daniel Cody and Alyssa Tokumura took gold and third place overall for their Buffet Pastry Platter.
Hosting culinary entrants from West Hawaii, former culinary students and professionals in their separate divisions, and Waiakea Intermediate teams in a secondary school division, drew a record number of competitors.
Working through the night to create their displays, the students fielded entries ranging from wedding and celebration cakes through plated desserts, savory buffet platters, to five course gourmet meals. All were beautifully cooked and presented as art. At 8:00 a.m. the stage was set.
The judges were Corporate Chef Ernesto Limcaco of Y Hata & Co. LTD, Executive Chef Casey Halpern of Cafe Pesto, and lead judge Chef Jim O’Keefe.
After detailed evaluation and scoring, the scores were tallied. The students continued cooking the generous pupu buffet for the public reception that followed. The judges all expressed appreciation of the students’ technique and presentations, and gave the student chefs a helpful critique after the awards had been presented.
Earning silver from Hilo were Kevin Kobayashi, Andrew Dela Cruz, Michael Sotto, Kerilee Spencer, and Team # 1, Mark Bernisto, Michael Foster, and Delsonlee Evangelista, Team #3 Brent Minato and Reed Kepaa. Also taking silver from Hilo were Team #4 , Karen Tanaka and Stephanie Dawson, and team #5, Karen Daniels and Annie Makekau. West Hawaiʻi silver was earned by Chad Chesser.
In the Former Students Division, Lazareth Sye took first place, and Soontaree Gervaise took second. In the professional division, the team of Jayme Yoshimura and Brandon Crichton took first place.
Nicholas Ohara took first place in the Secondary School Division. Second place was won by the Waiakea Intermediate School Team # 2: Breannan Paishon, Zoey Veracruz and Aysha-Lynn Estrella. Third place winners from WIS was Team # 4: Kryslynn Kobayashi-Agena, Maiyah Turner, and Jasmin Caban.
Bronze medals were earned by the following East Hawaiʻi second year culinary arts students: Maika Tarrant, Ko Watanabe, Shane Hanaoka, Laura Tanaka, Loke Ramos, Kelsey Davis, Kekoa Kabalis, Shay Sugiura, Kelsey Watanabe, and Gavin Franchey
First year East Hawaii students taking bronze were Tayden Poha-Ellamar, Yuta Kurahashi, Roxanne Daguio, Sarah Perrells, Lin Van, and the team of Anson Almeida, Emrie Chong and Ikua Purdy.
Bronze medals were won in the Secondary School Division by Team #1: Jayla Alonzo-Estrada, Khari Galdones, and Wren Pacheco. Also winning bronze was Natasia Rose Fontes and Team # 3: Risha Pacheco, Shylen Kahele-Aku, Devon Comstock, and Israel Apao.
Professor and Chef Allan Okuda, Instructors Sandy Barr, Shawn Sumiki, Sandy Dubczak, Brian Hirata, Paul Heerlein and Hospitality Division Chair Jim Lightner were all proud of their students’ efforts, their creativity, and their ability to work under pressure-the name of the game in the hospitality industry!