Hawai'i State News

Christmas with the Chefs awards six culinary scholarships

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The American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association recognized six recent scholarship winners Saturday at the sold-out Christmas with the Chefs gala on the grounds of Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. 

Recipients are all local culinary students who are continuing their education at Hawai‘i Community College-Pālamanui. They include Trinity Tavares, Exon Pimentero, Nina Stuart, Minnie Pira, Shanley Tabios and Mallory Javillonar. 

The annual event has two goals to further West Hawai‘i’s culinary industry. First, it raises monies to fund scholarships for culinary students attending Hawai‘i Community College—Pālamanui and local high schoolers wishing to enter culinary school for the first time. Continuing culinary students can apply for spring semester Kona Kohala Chefs scholarships through December 31.  

“These scholarships aid students completing their two-year AAS culinary degree, while preparing them for gainful employment in the workforce,” explains Chef Paul Heerlein, CCE, CCC, Palamanui associate professor. Scholarships can also assist professional culinarians wanting to further their education. Event proceeds and sponsors fund the scholarships. 


Second, the event’s silent auction is a benefit for the HCC-Pālamanui culinary program through the American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs and Jean Hull Endowment fund. The fund, set up in 2015, finances guest speakers, travel to student competitions and purchase of the latest culinary equipment and supplies for students.  

To date, Christmas with the Chefs has awarded about $900,000 in total funds. 

Mahalo to the 2023 participating chef and beverage station participants: Kona Village A Rosewood Resort, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Mauna Kea Resort, Luana Hospitality Group, Roy’s Waikoloa, Fairmont Orchid Hawaii, Royal Kona Resort, Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection, Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa, Tropical Dreams, 12th Hawaii Distiller, Ola Brew, Johnson Brothers, Westside Wines, Menehune Coffee, Republic National Distributing Company, Kona Brewing Company and Kona Coffee & Tea. 


Thirty-four business or individuals donated to the silent auction: Anne Van Leynseele, Atlantis Adventures, Bargreen Ellingson, Big Island Bees, Café Pesto, Capt. Cook Trading, Captain Zodiac, Chef Ilona, Chef Patti Kimball, Chef Paul’s Spices, Chef Suzanne Bearth, Dr. Monica Scheel, Fairmont Orchid Hawai‘i, Grand Naniloa Hotel, Hawai‘i Soap Company, Hawaiian Goodness, Ho‘omana Oils, Island Crunchy Jerky Munchies, Kammie Char, Kona Chips, Kona Cliffs, KTA Super Stores, Lava Pots Hawai‘i, Makau Nui, Mikan Photography, Moon Temple Designs, Pat Pearlman Jewelry, Rags to Riches, Royal Kona Resort, Sushi Sam, Tai Lake, Tante’s Island Cuisine and UFO Parasail.

Mahalo also to event sponsors Sysco Hawai‘i and Big Island Television. 

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