KCC opens new kitchen learning center

PUHI — A new facility in the site of the former Kaua‘i Community College bookstore was unveiled Monday afternoon before an audience of KCC Chancellor Dr. Helen Cox, culinary arts department instructors, students and supporters.

The Fundamental Skills Learning Kitchens, comprised of classrooms, a demonstration kitchen, storage and offices for the culinary arts instructors, was dedicated by the Rev. Wayne Vidinha of Ke Akua Mana Church.

“This is an exciting moment for the college,” Cox said in a KCC release. “Everyone in the community knows our culinary arts program, and our students go from the program into jobs across the community. This new facility will enable this already strong program to be able to better serve our students and our public.”

During the blessing, acknowledgment was given to design consultant Shimokawa Nakamura, Richard Maeda and Kaua‘i Builders, the state’s Department of Accounting and General Services and the Office of the Vice President for Community Colleges.

The concept of a fundamentals skills learning facility was born about eight years ago when KCC chef instructors agreed on a facility which was needed to complement the higher level cuisine courses.

“They needed a different kind of kitchen to teach the fundamentals of culinary arts,” said KCC instructor Mark Oyama. “Students needed a place where the fundamental concepts, skills and techniques of food preparation could be presented.”

Following the relocation of the KCC bookstore to its new location near the One Stop Shop, it was decided that its former site, located adjacent to the culinary arts complex, was ideal . With the input of KCC chef instructors, the area was transformed into a state-of-the-art learning facility.

The demonstration kitchen offers learning stations where students can learn and practice basic cooking methods for meats, stocks, soups, sauces, seafood, vegetables and starches. It also enables the students to learn the proper use and maintenance of equipment, tools and utensils.

“This prepares students for the next level where they advance to the fine dining area,” said Cammie Matsumoto, the KCC director of community relations and special projects.

Chef Martina Hildorfer, instructor of the fundamentals course, said a lot of the equipment in the new facility was possible because of fundraisers by the college and the American Culinary Federation, Kaua‘i Chapter, including events such as the Gourmet Spring Gala and the annual breakfast in February.

In addition to the efforts by the ACF, Kaua‘i Chapter, the Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association, Kaua‘i Chapter, also assisted with a lot of the equipment.

“The new facility is an integral part of student learning outcomes which serve to cultivate a better quality of skilled graduates who enter the workforce with confidence in what they can do,” Hildorfer said. “I am so proud of our students, faculty — both with us now, and those who have retired — the staff and administration for their efforts to keep a sharp and careful focus on successful learning.”

Steven Nakata, KCC chief instructor, said the area will also be used to train students for culinary arts competitions.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.


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