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Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival donates to Culinary Arts program, gives students valuable experience

Culinary Arts Instructor Brian Hirata, fourth from the left in the front row, attended the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival's Mahalo Reception on March 10 where the organization announced donations to 23 groups, including Hawai'i CC's Culinary Arts program.

On March 10, the Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival announced it was donating $10,000 to Hawai‘i Community College’s Culinary Arts program using proceeds from its eighth annual event. The festival, which was held last fall, convened 120 chefs from around the world, along with dozens of wine makers and mixologists, to cook and create with Hawaiian products. The Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival hopes to provide the opportunity to inspire the next generation of chefs.

Students from Hawai‘i Community College participated to gain experience and help showcase what the state of Hawai‘i has to offer.

“We’re going to be working events like this when we’re in industry, so it’s nice to see… we’re giving back to these chefs who are teaching us all these things,” said Jaimee Finn, a Culinary Arts student at Hawai‘i Community College.

“The difference in a classroom is it’s a little bit more calm, but out here it’s more hands-on. So, what I’m going to take away is how to move fast and work well with everyone," added Thomas Elarco, a Culinary Arts student at Hawai‘i Community College- Pālamanui.

The Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival donated a total of $384,750 to local culinary, agricultural, and community organizations statewide from its 2018 event.

Hawai'i CC Culinary Arts Instructor Brian Hirata attended the Mahalo Reception where event organizers announced the donations. Hirata said having students working at the high-end event helps show them the possibilities within the industry. 

“Putting students in this environment not only gives them a lot of knowledge," said Hirata, "but it also exposes them to what can be."

Hawai'i CC students and Instructor Featured in Event Video