Kealakekua’s Gastronomic Syllabus

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Well….it’s the rear-end of February, 2014, and hardly a mention of 2013 on this site! Will have to remedy that one with a fast-forward visit to our K-Babe style escapades.
But I will save that for another posting.

Although I personally have not enjoyed many Wednesday gatherings to date this year with my cheerful wahines, they keep me in the loop on the chance that I can find time to break free from personal and pesky restraints and get back to the business of enjoying the company of fine friends.

For awhile now, the Kona Babes have been discussing the possibility of getting a reservation for lunch at Hawaii Community College’s Culinary School in Kealakekua.  This is not such a simple endeavor, and is also, as we found out, a closely guarded secret by those patrons who frequent the weekly epicurean banquets.

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As luck would shine upon us; our fearless coordinator, Mei, auspiciously met the luncheon coordinator from the college, who endowed her with the golden knowledge of how to get a seat at one of these highly coveted events at the little two-year gem of a cooking school.  On Thursdays, first year students, with all the eagerness of babies learning to run, show off  their spectrum of new skills necessary to pass the school’s tough curriculum under the watchful eye of Chef Paul Heerlein.

HCC’s website page advises prospective students:  “…Participation in the Culinary Arts program requires the purchase of books, uniforms, shoes and a knife set.”  Well, I could certainly appreciate those requirements.  But how about these?  “…The programs have many hours of hands-on instruction as well as classroom, so be sure you are able to fully participate in the learning experience. You are required to take Introduction to the Culinary Industry, Sanitation and Safety, Fundamentals of Cookery, Food and Beverage Purchasing, and Math 50 in the first semester. In West Hawaii, Dining Room Operations is also required. That is a total of 16 or 17 credits which is a heavy load; however, necessary to enable you to build your culinary skill and knowledge.”

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This just makes us appreciate even more, the efforts put out by these young students – who are the future of our island’s main industry:   Tourism and staffing our upscale resort hotels and private restaurants as well as catering and banquets.  Of course, there could be the few who venture past our shores to gain more knowledge and experience and end up with a Food Network cooking stint or a 4 star restaurant!

The Kona Babes very obviously enjoyed their lunch on the patio, with  artful centerpieces and white tablecloths; proper tableware as necessitated by the day’s meal plan.

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A “Tex Mex” themed menu offered a tasty sampling of South of the Border cuisine featuring Stuffed Poblano Chiles and of course, Flan!

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flan

One of the (Seattle) K-Babes, Sue, was visiting with her mom and they also enjoyed the sojourn to South Kona.

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Most of the girls were a bit confused as to the location of HCC’s West Hawaii Campus, but a few queries and probably Google Maps on someone’s iPhone  helped point them in the right direction.  Admittedly, if you never heard of this almost covert lunch place, you would never find it.  And anyone who frequents it (and knows the drill on getting a reservation) is reluctant to reveal the location or contact…mostly offering “..it’s always full, or you can’t get through”!

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But hey – if you’re really curious to try it out, leave us a message and we might give it up!

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FYI:  They also serve breakfast and on Friday’s, the second-year students shower you with their best as the lunches ramp up to show off their  finesse acquired by another year of hard work and creativity.  West Hawaii Culinary has a Facebook page that’s very informative and also the school’s official website:  http://hawaii.hawaii.edu/culinary-arts/

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But….you won’t find the contact on either for those fabulous lunches!  It’s our little secret now….