Culinary Arts Under the Stars 2017: Preparing Culinary Leaders of Tomorrow

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To the delight of local foodies and culinary art fans, the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association and Hawaiʻi Community College – Palamanui, Culinary Arts Program students joined forces on Friday, May 5, for the 4th Annual Culinary Arts Under the Stars.


Ahi nachos. PC: Karen Rose

abalone. pc: Karen Rose

Alex Thropp of Westside Wines. PC: Karen Rose

A Bays Island Grill Chef Darcy Ambrosia photo by Warren Higuchi

Spicy hot chocolate. PC: Karen Rose

Crispy pork belly. PC: Karen Rose

Instructor Paul Heerlein of HCC PC: Warren Huguchi

Ippy Aiona from Koa Table. PC: Warren Higuchi

Culinary students and professional chefs pulled out all the stops to create tasty dishes ranging from crispy pork belly nachos to thick, spicy hot chocolate.

The annual event is hosted by Kings’ Shops at Waikoloa, where guests can stroll through the scenic shopping center and sample tastings of delicious local cuisine while listening to the classic Hawaiian sounds of musician and songwriter John Keawe.

“This event is a chance for the students to show off their culinary skills,” said Nancy Ginter-Miller, Event Coordinator. “They must plan, prepare and serve hundreds of plates that look and taste the same. The participating restaurants, chefs and attendees all contribute by encouraging and training the students for ‘real life’ as chefs in the industry.”


More than just a fun and entertaining evening out, Culinary Arts Under the Stars is a fundraising event that benefits the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association and Jean Hull Endowment. The funds support the Culinary Arts Program at the Hawaiʻi Community College – Palamanu campus.

The association recognizes the importance of having excellent culinary education, especially in Hawaiʻi where culinary and hospitality professionals are vital to the state’s all important visitor industry. Industry leaders such as West Hawaiʻi’s ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association are committed to enriching and perpetuating culinary opportunities through training and professional development.

The KKCA currently has more than 50 chapter members, in addition to high school and college culinary students who are instrumental in ensuring Hawaiʻi’s successful future in the tourism industry. Through the association’s partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi, progressive learning environments and innovative programs are available to prepare tomorrow’s culinary professionals.


“The community can support our Culinary Arts Program students by attending events like Culinary Arts Under the Stars that help students pursue a career in the hospitality and food industry which is so important to Hawaiʻi and our community,” said Ginter-Miller.

This year’s chefs and beverage vendors included, Peter Abarcar Jr., from Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Allen Hess from Mai Grille Waikoloa Beach Golf Resort, Darcy Ambrosia from A Bay’s Island Grill, Ippy Aiona from The Koa Table, Jennifer Hamilton from Roy’s Waikoloa Bar and Grill, Beth Fuller from Lava Lava Beach Club, Jayson Kanekoa from Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, As Danao from Daylight Mind Coffee Company, Instructor Chef Paul Heerlein from Hawaiʻi Community College – Palamanui, Instructor Chef Christina Pettersen from Hawaiʻi Community College – Palamanui, Instructor Kerstin Pfeiffer – Konawaena High School, Chef Patti Kimball with ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association, Ryan Cooke with Odom Coca Cola Hawaiʻi and Alex Thropp with Westside Wines.

For more information on how to support the students and programs at Hawaiʻi Community College, contact KC Collins at [email protected].


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