Teeing Off To Aid Chefs In Training

Mar 17, 2010

By Tom Mullen, Chairman
Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana

Featured in MidWeek
March 17, 2010


The culinary nonprofit Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana, founded in 1998, trains and educates local culinary students by providing access to cutting-edge knowledge and techniques. Working in collaboration with the state’s community college culinary programs, the ‘Ohana coordinates special programs featuring local and visiting chefs – bringing professionals directly to the students – on topics as diverse as ahi, island beef, palate development and artisan bread.


Island chefs such as Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, George Mavrothalassistis, Hiroshi Fukui and Rodney Weddle are among the ‘Ohana’s roster of presenters. Also tapped are Mainland and international culinary experts, including Chef Charles Phan from The Slanted Door in San Francisco, who will present a workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. March 31 at Kapiolani Community College.


Other resources available to students include a Farm to Kitchen educational DVD produced by the ‘Ohana, which introduces students to local farmers who produce ingredients for the restaurant kitchen, and Master Classes for working chefs emphasizing kitchen techniques, cost control, wine service and sauce preparation.


Our programming reaches more than 2,500 culinary students and professionals annually.


Culinary students take notice when an award-winning chef explains the importance of fundamentals, hard work and goal-setting. This approach contributes to many culinary success stories.


One exciting example is that of a community college culinary graduate who volunteered to assist famed chef Jonathan Benno of Per Se Restaurant NYC at a Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana workshop. The experience led to a culinary internship and full-time position at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Napa Valley, Calif. She said it would not have been possible without Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana programming: “Every workshop enhanced my professional development.”


The Hale ‘Aina ‘Ohana golf tournament on April 19 is the main fundraiser for this unique nonprofit, when Hawaii’s leading chefs, educators, hospitality professionals, food/beverage distributors and vendors join together for a fun day of charity golf at Kapolei Golf Course.