by Karen Rose
One of the finest dining experiences is finding something rare and out of the ordinary. One such opportunity is to visit a local culinary school when students are serving up their culinary creations to the community. In Kona, Hawaii, the culinary school offers several of these luncheons every semester, each with a unique theme or occasion. This particular occasion was the ACF Kona Kohala Chefʻs Association Luncheon.
According to one former student, it’s nerve-wracking feeding a house of professional chefs and self-proclaimed foodies. However, that’s what students at Palamanui Culinary School in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii did for their November 4th luncheon.The nerves and training paid off when eager eaters applauded the students after imbibing on a carefully prepared four-course meal.
Led by dining instructor, Mark Johnson, Patisserie Instructor, Fernand Guiot and Chef Instructor, Paul Heerlien, this year’s students prepared and served dishes made with 80% locally sourced ingredients.
The first course was a Ewa Corn and Nelha Shrimp Bisque. The corn was sourced from Ewa on the island of Oahu and the shrimp are ‘pathogen free’ shrimp from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). Creamy and delicious, the soup was so tasty, everyone could have had seconds and gone home happy.
Ewa Corn and Nelha Shrimp Bisque
The second course a salad made with truffle goat cheese, local tangerine, beets and Sesame Cracker. The tangerines and beets were sourced from Buffington Family Farms and Pauillo Forest Farms, and the lettuce from JA Farms in Waimea. The goat cheese was delightfully prepared in small round ‘balls’ rolled in sesame seeds.
Next to be served was roasted Puna Chicken with a Hamakua Mushroom Farce, Ulu Potato Mash, and Hawaiʻi Island Vegetables. The chickens were sourced from Punachicks and the harvest of local autumn vegetables were from Adaptations Charter School Garden. The Ulu Potato Mash was a buttery, delectable stand-out of the third course.
Puna Chicken with Ulu Potato Mash
Dessert was a pineapple-apple tart with vanilla ice cream drizzled with rum caramel. The pineapple was locally sourced from the island of Maui, and the puff pastry, ice cream and rum sauce were all made in house.
Pineapple-apple tart with vanilla ice cream and rum caramel
All this deliciousness was washed down with a Lime Ginger Aide made with limes from the ahupuaʻa of Kalaoa and ginger from Hilo. Second only to the food was the price of the meal. The entire cornucopia of edible art cost diners a mere $20. I wonder what the next themed meal will be?