Richard Ha writes:
Sometimes Hawaii Community College is overlooked in favor of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, but it shouldn’t be. The school gives students some excellent opportunities not otherwise available here.
My son Brian took the community college’s carpentry and electrician courses and now he’s an Apache helicopter pilot. The machine he flies costs more than our entire farm.
Several years ago I mentioned to Allan Okuda, director of the Community College’s food service program, that we were starting hydroponic vegetable production and wanted to do something with his culinary program. He was very receptive to the idea.
The Hamakua Springs Tomato Recipe Contest is our first opportunity to work with the culinary school. When I called Allan Okuda about doing something with them re: the tomato recipe contest, he said he’d been waiting for us to get back in touch. He liked the idea of having the program’s students prepare the recipes for final judging. Students will get the opportunity to use the skills they have learned to prepare the recipes for judging, he said.
Foodland Super Markets helped to make this event a reality by publicizing the Hamakua Springs Tomato Recipe Contest in their mailouts, as well as with point of purchase instructions next to their tomato displays.
As an added bonus, internationally renowned chef Alan Wong, who often visits us at Hamakua Springs and who treats us farmers like his partners, said he’d be happy to talk to some of the food service students.
In addition to being an internationally acclaimed chef, Alan Wong is a teacher at heart. He makes people comfortable and he also makes everything seem possible. I truly believe that for some of the students it could be a pivotal moment in their lives.
I asked Allan Okuda if he would select a few students to meet with Chef Alan, and he was happy to do it. He thinks this will be a unique opportunity for students to meet one of the best chefs in the world.
In Hilo, the “culinary backwoods” where we live, we will be so happy to help bring something like this about.