This week we feature a guest blog by Sandy Barr Rivera, Chef Instructor in the Culinary Arts Program at Hawai‘i Community College (HawCC) in Hilo A retired Chef of Merriman’s Waimea, Barr Rivera has been involved with Taste for numerous years, as both a chef and instructor. She teaches what she believes and lives, saying, “local beef is the best—its flavor, nutrition and benefit for community sustainability.” Chef Sandy shares she always serves grass-fed beef to her family. “It is the Big Island,” she adds.
Culinary World Tour Recipes
I’m sharing recipes used in our Culinary Arts Program. The capstone semester for our students takes them on a World Culinary Tour in HawCC’s fine dining restaurant, Bamboo Hale. We start in Europe and travel week-by-week to different countries and continents, offering three-course menus with multiple entree choice, breads, beverages and desserts. The food is as authentic a culinary experience as we can provision.
Staff and Studies at HawCC
Our Culinary Arts Program has been in existence for over 50 years. This fall, our enrollment is the largest ever: 45 first-year students and 25 second-year (returning) students. Our program coordinator is Chef and Professor Allan Okuda. Altogether, there are five instructors: in addition to Chef Okuda and myself, Shawn Sumiki, Brian Hirata and Sandy Dubczak complete the team.
We teach within the structure of operating restaurants, with our first-year students managing our cafeteria throughout the year with a lunch menu that changes daily. Second-year students operate the ‘Ohana Corner Cafe in the fall semester, serving breakfast and lunch with a standard menu, plus weekly specials. In the spring semester, these students operate Bamboo Hale.
All our restaurant outlets serve the public as well as our students, faculty and administration. Our restaurants are housed in the Culinary Arts building on the Manono, or Lower Campus, in Hilo.
Participation in Taste of the Hawaiian Range
We look forward every year to the “Taste;” our students have participated for a dozen years. We have not only prepared our assigned meat cut for the throngs of guests, but also assisted all the island and off-island participating chefs.
For our students, it offers an eye-popping, mouth-watering look at the breadth of culinary creativity and presentation. They get to sample dishes they have never even dreamed of while enjoying the opportunity to work side-by-side with our state’s most noteworthy chefs.
After 50-plus years of educating cooks, our program graduates are working around the island, state and in the Mainland. After 12 years of participation in Taste, many HawCC students have found positions in the kitchens of event chefs.
Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range offers our future chefs an education of the palate, the mind and a chance to network and “show their stuff.” See you there!