PUHI — Several hundred people enjoyed the 14th annual Culinary Institute of the Pacific Gourmet Spring Gala, a food and wine tasting event held Friday at the Kauai Community College.
“I’ve been doing this for 14 years now,” said Chef Mark Oyama, a professor with the KCC culinary arts program. “Next year is my 15th year, and every year from the start, it has been sold out.”
The gala event featured the talents of headline chefs Alan Wong of Alan Wong’s Honolulu and The Pineapple Room, and Alan Wong’s Shanghai, as well as Vikram Garg who had a special addition for extra spicy to go with his Black Pepper Beef Short Rib Fry and Corn Porridge.
Wong offered up Big Island Baby Abalone, Dried Scallop Shiitake Mushroom Salad, Ni‘ihau Lamb and Spicy Miso.
KCC Chancellor Helen Cox was unable to attend the function due to meetings on Oahu, but sent her message via the evening’s program.
“Known across the Garden Island as ‘The Gala,’ this event is an outstanding example of exemplary partnerships between higher education and the community where a long-standing and new friends from Kauai and across the state work closely with Kauai Community College’s culinary arts program chef instructors and staff,” Cox said. “The result is one of Kauai’s best must-attend events of the year.”
David Sosner, general manager of the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, took advantage of the event to introduce his new executive chef, Chef Rodman Machado, who along with Chef Gavin Onishi, a graduate of the culinary arts program, prepared Vietnamese Braised Short Rib Crepe-Bean Sprouts, Lettuce, Pickled Daikon and Carrots, Cilantro, Toasted Peanuts and Nuoc Chum Aioli.
“We had to beg to be included,” said Jim Guerber of the Kauai Beer Company. “They said this is a wine tasting, but look at how many different beers, including the popular Fat Tire by Yong’s Market, are here. I’m glad we were persistent and can be here.”
Proceeds from the Spring Gourmet Gala benefit the Kauai Community College culinary arts program. In particular, funds are used to purchase essential kitchen and dining room equipment, instructional materials, small wares, student cardio-pulmonary resusitation and first aid training, and American Culinary Federation cook certification costs for all graduates.