October 17th, 2013
From left, Kapiolani Community College chef instructor Warren Uchida, KCC students Santos Quesada and Mariana Oliveiro, and Kahala Nui CEO Pat Duarte. Quesada and Oliveiro were the student winners of Kahala Nui's annual Healthy-licious cooking competition. — Nadine Kam photos
I was lucky enough to be invited back as a judge for Kahala Nui's 3rd annual Healthy-licious Contest, which invites Kapiolani Community College culinary students to create healthy recipes for seniors.
The competition took place Oct. 12 at the KCC Culinary Auditorium, and it's a contest I welcome, because unlike a lot of other food events around town, this one's easy on the opu and body as the students are tasked to use the most beneficial ingredients possible.
In his opening remarks, Pat Duarte, CEO of Kahala Nui, a life care retirement community, said that part of Kahala Nui's mission is to be an advocate for healthy dining for seniors.
"More people want to go out and eat healthy," he said, while noting that people often find healthy food isn't appealing.
He said the dullness associated with low-fat, low-sodium fare often gives hospital and nursing home food a bad rap and, "we want to change that perception and encourage young students to consider careers in this area."
He said diners don't want healthy dishes "to be an afterthought," like presenting a platter of plain steamed vegetables. In creating this competition, he said Kahala Nui aims to push students to create "something that will be the star of the menu."
This year, a field of 60 teams of two were reduced to four, based on submission of essays and recipes. Students were allowed to work with main ingrediens of chicken or a vegetarian protein. Scoring was based on taste, simplicity of preparation, nutrition, organization and delivery, and visual presentation.
Winners Mariana Oliveiro and Santos Quesada, who created Asian tofu lettuce wraps, will each receive a $600 scholarship.
Emcee Kim Gennaula received an assist from her "famous" husband Guy Hagi. She joked that now that she's been off TV news for five years, restaurant hostesses don't remember her, but will rush to seat Guy, and her own son doesn't recall that once upon a time, mom was more famous than dad.
All the students lined up with their awards and gift certificates for their participation. (more…)