$245K Supports Culinary Arts at Hawai’i CC-Palamanui

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A near-quarter-million-dollar donation from the American Culinary Federation Kona-Kohala Chefs Association was given to help establish the ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association & Jean Hull, CCE, AAC Culinary Endowment that will assist in supporting the new Hawai’i Community College–Palamanui campus’ culinary program.

University of Hawai’i Foundation officials say the endowment is the largest of its kind to ever support either Hawai’i CC campus in its history.

“This generous endowment will ensure that we can acquire and maintain the state-of-the-art kitchen equipment necessary to provide a first class educational experience for our culinary students,” Martin “Marty” Fletcher, Hawai’i CC-Palamanui director said. “In addition, this endowment will also help finance culinary competitions, visiting guest chefs, special events, and more, making dreams come true for many of our students and faculty.”

The ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association is a group of industry leaders who are dedicated to evolving the culinary sector through professional development and education. There are currently more than 50 chapter members of the Kona-Kohala Chefs Association, in addition to high school and college culinary students.


“We are immensely grateful to the West Hawai’i culinary industry, chefs, residents, and ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association members. Thanks to their support and generosity, we were able to make this major philanthropic investment,” said Jean Hull, board member of ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs. “This gift represents the cumulative impact of 26 years of community support and proceeds from fundraising holiday events dating back to when we hosted our celebration at the Hulihe’e Palace to the recent event at the Courtyard King Kamehameha Beach Hotel.”

Hull joined forces with Jim Lighter, director of hospitality at Hawai’i CC West Hawai’i, to organize the ‘Equip the Kitchen Campaign at Palamanui’. Of the $245,000 donation, $100,000 was raised from that one campaign.

According to Chef Clayton Arakawa, CEC, CCA president of the ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association, nearly every hotel and restaurant on the Big Island has at least one culinary student from Hawai’i CC.


“Having the best equipment, facilities, and instructors for culinary students is paramount to producing outstanding chefs and our culinary leaders of tomorrow,” Arakawa said.

“I am so pleased the Kona-Kohala Chefs Association opened this very large endowment to support the culinary program at our Palamanui campus,” said Hawai’i CC Chancellor Noreen Yamane. “In the 25 years since the first student graduated from the West Hawai’i campus with as A.S. degree, our graduates have gone on to become corporate chefs, high school teachers promoting culinary arts, executive chefs at local and national restaurant chains, and winners of gold, silver, and bronze medals at many culinary competitions. We are very proud of our program and send our sincerest mahalo to the entire board and its members for their support.”

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