Spring Gourmet Gala a hit at KCC

PUHI — The event was sold out at $125 per person at the 10th annual Culinary Institute of the Pacific Spring Gourmet Gala on Friday at Kaua‘i Community College.

KCC Chancellor Helen Cox said the even, celebrating its silver anniversary, has gained a reputation for being one of the island’s best events of the year.

The Spring Gourmet Gala, with more than 300 tickets sold, serves as both a fundraising effort for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific and classroom to KCC culinary arts students and students from area high schools.

Kui Souza, instructor and director of the Waimea High School Culinary Arts Academy, said his students were helping throughout the event featuring about two dozen different stations representing some of the island’s finest eateries.

Charlene Navarro had more than two dozen students from the Kaua‘i High School Academy of Hospitality and Tourism assisting with the event. The team was divided into an outside group and an inside group and learning the art of napkin folding just minutes before the doors opened.

“This gourmet food and wine-tasting evening serves an occasion to enjoy the company of friends amidst world-class members of the culinary arts profession,” Cox said in the Gala’s guide. “For KCC students, it is a classroom experience of a lifetime where they work directly with and learn from these food industry experts and featured guest chefs.”

Alan Wong of Alan Wong’s Honolulu and The Pineapple Room and Vikram Garg of the Halekulani Hotel were the featured chefs. Wong offered up Garlic Black Pepper Shrimp and Szechuan Pepper, which was paired with Dr. Hermann Riesling 2009 (Mosel, Germany) from the Alan Suzuki of Estates Group.

Garg’s offerings included Clove Smoked Kaua‘i Shrimp in Tomato Butter Sauce and Hawai‘i Red Veal Kebab Sliders with Mint Chutney, the sampling being paired with Laurenz V, Gruner Veltliner “Singing” 2010 (Kamptal, Austria) and La Posta, Malbec “Paullucci” 2009 (Mendoza, Argentina), also offered by Suzuki.

During the event, guests could browse through the silent auction offerings while letting samples settle and make a donation toward an Alaska Bounty Package, which included a five-course plated dinner for 10 on Kaua‘i and a five-night, four-day fishing lodge package in Alaska for two, or a solitaire platinum ring valued at $5,300, or an elegant basket of herbs, bread, wine and other items.

Mike Dandurand of Kustom Sounds Kaua‘i served as the evening’s host, his mobile microphone enabling him to broadcast from all parts of the indoor and outdoor arena. Livin’ Large, with Kahalau Leoiki, Tino Manuel, Cosme Amulacion, Sasha Figueira and Russell Wellington provided entertainment throughout the night.

“The KCC culinary arts program has achieved national notoriety for its high level of excellence, sophistication and innovation in teaching and learning,” Cox said. “Our students learn all aspects of the diverse food industry through quality training and real-world experiences in their courses. Their attendance and participation in state and national culinary exhibitions offers them more opportunities to enhance their educational experiences.”

Visit www.kauai.hawaii.edu or call Bonnie Honma at 245-8257 for more information on the  program.

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