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March 08, 2013 12:15 am • Dennis Fujimoto - The Garden Island LIHU‘E — Culinary students had an opportunity to get an up-close experience with some unusual ingredients Thursday during the Hawai‘i Culinary Education Foundation presentation at the Kaua‘i Community College. Chef George Mavrothalassitis, chef and owner of Chef Mavro restaurant and winner of the James Beard Award, was joined by Brooks Takenaka of the United Fishing Agency in working with fresh fish at the KCC fine dining facility. “It’s very important to me that future Hawai‘i chefs appreciate the highest quality local ingredients,” Mavro said. “These workshops give advanced culinary students a chance to work with ingredients they may not encounter in school, such as whole lamb and whole fish.” Ahead of the actual culinary preparation, Takenaka took the students through an overview of the sustainable Hawai‘i fishing industry. He broke down an ahi, and Mavro prepared seared bigeye and spicy ahi as part of the Center-of-the-Plate-Workshops under the sponsorship of the Hawai‘i Culinary Education Foundation. Takenaka, with more than 30 years of professional experience in the Hawai‘i fishing and seafood industries, has been the assistant general manager of the Honolulu Fish Auction, which is operated by the United Fishing Agency. The fish auction plays a pivotal industry role in fishery operations and seafood safety, which affects its clients, mostly fishermen, and its customers, which are seafood buyers and consumers, according to the Hawai‘i Culinary Education Foundation. Visit www.hawaiiculinaryfoundation.org for more information.