College events revolve around good food

PUHI — With more than an hour remaining, over 1,700 meals had already been served.

Based on that observation, Bonnie Honma, one of the Kaua’i Community College volunteers estimated that they would serve over 2,000 by the end of the Sunday brunch.

“We found this about five years ago, and we’ve been coming back ever since,” an excited New York family member said, while waiting in the quickly-moving line at the Annual American Culinary Federation Brunch, Sunday.

The annual event has grown to overflow parking lots and multiple events, all centered around good food prepared by some of the top chefs from Kaua’i’s culinary destinations.

While waiting in line, the New York family was already anticipating their discoveries in the used book sale that was taking place in the back of the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center.

Tracy Tucker, one of the volunteers there, was busy moving boxes of books to replace the volumes that had already been gobbled up by the sea of bargain hunters.

“Might as well sell ’em,” Tucker said. “No sense keeping them in the box.”

Hans Hellriegel and his wife had a Land’s End bag filled with their discoveries.

The main attraction, though, was the food, as Executive Sous Chef Ed Mizuno, one of the chefs from the Sheraton Kauai kept a close eye on when to replace the ham from one of four carving stations.

Janet Kahalekomo wasn’t going to come, but when she found out that one of her granddaughters was going to be the recipient of an ACF scholarship, she said, “Might as well come and enjoy the food, too. It’s not every day that one of your children is honored, especially a first-year student, and I’m so happy that she was selected.”

Brandi Carlos Kahalekomo was one of the two ACF scholarship recipients announced by KCC culinary arts instructor Billy Gibson.

Gibson told the full house of diners that the ACF scholarships are presented based on several criteria including grade point average, leadership abilities, community service, and future outlook as a culinary arts professional.

Richard Cariaga, who will be graduating in May, was the second ACF scholarship recipient.

Kahalekomo and Cariaga were joined by 20 other scholarship recipients.

Funds for the scholarship derive from the annual Taste of Hawai’i event at Smith’s Tropical Paradise which is scheduled for June 4 this year.

The 20 recipients on Sunday received a total of $5,500 and join the 12 recipients who were presented scholarships in the fall semester. In total, the Rotary Club of Kapa’a has presented $8,000 in scholarships for culinary students alone.

Gibson added that in addition to the scholarship funds, the Taste of Hawai’i affords the students invaluable experience in working alongside some of the finest chefs in the state at the popular culinary extravaganza.

Glenn Alquiza of the KCC Automotive Department had several alternative fuel vehicles from local distributors on hand for diners to inspect.

One of those included a hybrid SUV from Ford that a Mid-pac Sales representative said gets 39 miles per gallon.

Alongside the hybrid designation was the E-10 ethanol logo that Alquiza said is right around the corner. The E-10 logo designates the new gas that will be available April 2.

Alquiza said they recently attended a conference where the state claimed it will have 10 percent ethanol in gasoline by April 2.

One of the benefits of this mixed gasoline is that it is exempt from the 4 percent state excise tax on retail sales, said a brochure “Retail Station Management Issues for Gasoline Blended with Ethanol.”

“Beginning April 2, at least 85 percent of the gasoline sold in Hawai’i will contain 10 percent ethanol,” said an E-10 brochure. Another name for this fuel formulation is “E-10 Unleaded.”

The brochure, produced by the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said Ethanol is a renewable resource that could be made from sugarcane and other locally available materials such as waste paper and yard and wood waste.

Local fuel production could help bolster our state economy, create new jobs, and lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels, the brochure continued.

For more information on E-10 Unleaded, people can visit the new Web site new-fuel.com.

Irinio Soriano, who works with automobiles on a daily basis, was studying the quietly-running hybrid engine, shaking his head. “Gotta make sure to read the book before taking this apart,” he said.

At the KCC Technology Building, the electric car team coached by Bob Saligumba greeted patrons to the ongoing Tech Fair inside the building.

Saligumba had his Waimea High School team members on hand to provide explanations on their entry to this year’s Electron Marathon that is scheduled for March 18, on O’ahu.

In addition to this year’s entry, which was built from scratch, the Menehune had their entry from last year’s competition where they finished seventh out of 27 teams entered.

This year, Saligumba, who has been coaching the program for six years, said at last count there were at least 33 teams including one from Kaua’i High School.

Inside the Technology Building, Jeffrey Walden was chatting with Stu Burley between Walden’s four audience interactive presentations on electromagnetism.

Walden is a metrology engineer in charge of the Engineering Division at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Corona, Calif., and has been working in the field of metrology for 22 years, holding a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois.

In keeping with the interactive theme, Mia Ako and Matty Yoshioka of the Kaua’i Economic Development Board offered up a station where youngsters (and young-at-heart adults) could create their own paper fliers and fly them down a designated course in an attempt at getting the best flights.

In an adjoining computer lab, it was a full house as Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Robotics students had a variety of projects on hand to provide explanations and demonstrations in preparation for their upcoming competition on O’ahu scheduled for April 1.

Jon Sakurai-Horita just happened to be swinging through Hawai’i, and this year, offered up a table for his Kama’aina Careers operation based out of California.

Sakurai-Horita said the aim of his firm is to connect local residents who have moved away, with high tech jobs in Hawai’i, enabling them to return home.

Beth Tokioka of the County’s Office of Economic Development anchored the event as students were given information on scholarships and what they could do to pursue a career in technology.

Over $5,500 in scholarships was available through the generosity of 11 of the exhibiting vendors.

Although planned to run from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. Sunday, many diners lingered through the craft offerings of the college’s art departments and several in-house crafters.

Dr. Ramon Dela Pena, Kaua’i Regent to the University of Hawai’i, finally got a chance to get his ticket from Chancellor Peggy Cha.

“They said this was a good time to eat,” Dela Pena chuckled after spending the greater part of his morning as a parking attendant.

“And, I don’t need to worry about the food. They said they had plenty.”

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