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Cohort two from the Hoʻokahua culinary program.

Pualu: Weaving a Cooperative Culinary Journey

In the vibrant community of Laʻiʻōpua, where warmth and togetherness thrive, a new partnership has unfolded, igniting a flame of hope and opportunity for adults aspiring to explore the culinary industry. Laʻiʻōpua 2020, a non-profit organization deeply rooted in the spirit of unity, has joined hands with the Hawaiʻi Community College – Pālamanui Culinary Program, giving birth to a groundbreaking program called Hoʻokahua. This program, infused with the essence of "Pualu" – a Hawaiian word signifying unity and cooperation, has embarked on a transformative journey that not only imparts culinary skills but also weaves the threads of camaraderie and shared success.

From its inception, Hoʻokahua has exceeded all expectations, painting a tapestry of remarkable transformation in the lives of its students. These aspiring culinary professionals have been guided through a comprehensive training and mentoring process, empowering them to take their first steps toward gainful employment. But the impact of Hoʻokahua extends far beyond career prospects; it touches the very core of their well-being and that of their families.

Immersed in a diverse range of subjects, students learned not only about food safety and sanitation but also the art of creating enticing menus using local, nutritious ingredients. They honed their skills in handling and caring for kitchen equipment while mastering the delicate art of knife skills, and gaining a certificate in food handling etiquette. This program was intricately designed to achieve the standards set forth by the American Culinary Federation. And by doing so, it not only enhanced our students’ culinary abilities, but sparked a passion for healthy living; uplifting their own health and inspiring positive change within their own families and community. 

As the transformative journey reached its culmination, the Hoʻike emerged as a grand celebration of the students’ culinary skills and cultural heritage. Students from two cohorts proudly showcased their mastery of the culinary arts through an intricately crafted Hawaiian, Filipino, and pastry themed menu. The Hoʻike stood as a testament to their creativity and unwavering dedication, where their families and community members came together to witness a breathtaking display of talent.

This visionary partnership, built upon a foundation of education, community building, economic empowerment, and sustainable practices, has created an environment where culinary dreams come to life. A program funded by the County of Hawaiʻi, Hoʻokahua serves as a catalyst for improved community health and serves as a beacon of innovation, inspiration, and positive change, paving the way for a brighter future. For Hawaiʻi Community College - Pālamanui this was a unique opportunity to bridge its many programs to the community and that together, we can shatter barriers and ignite passions. 

The Hoʻokahua Culinary Program is a testament to the power of unity and stands tall as a shining example of how partnerships, fueled by passion and shared vision, can uplift individuals and create lasting change. As we embrace the legacy of Hoʻokahua, we hold it close to our hearts, cherishing the memories and the boundless possibilities it has unlocked for our haumanā, their families, and enriching the Hawaiʻi Island community for generations to come.