HONOLULU (KHON2) – KHON2 visited with the Leeward Community College Culinary Arts Program to follow up after Septembers visit.
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KHON2 was so inspired by the delicious dishes that they made, we just had to come back one more time. So, this time, we are visiting Program Coordinator and Chef, Matthew Egami.
But, as we mentioned, we were here last month, and we are actually expecting to come back in the months ahead.
Why are you investing so much time and energy into this program?
“So, one of our main goals here is to really prepare our students for their career in the industry,” says Egami.
“And the hospitality industry is so varied, there are so many aspects of it, that we want to make sure no matter where they end up, they’re ready for it. So, we try to take them to different skills, techniques, exposure to fine dining, casual dining, all those sort of things so no matter where they end up, they are ready. What is really cool with this group is this is the same class when you came last time. So, now they are moved on to the next class and get to see the next aspect of it.”
Well, that’s perfect then.
April Acosta, you are part of that class, as mentioned, last month.
Within this one-month period, what is something new that you have learned?
“Well, I am going to be completely honest. This past semester has been kicking my butt, but I feel like I am learning how much I value trust because with the first course, our Fundamentals course with Chef Don, he’s great,” says Acosta.
“We started out as blanks slates. They taught us as if we were blank slates and we were. But, with moving up with Chef Matt, I feel like there is a lot more trust because they trust Chef Don and now that he has taught us, they trust us to have that next step in place and it really encourages me to get that rhythm going and I really start to want to do well because with professors like these who care so much, I feel like it’s only natural that you want to make them proud.”
Well, from pizza to pasta.
I am now joined with first year student, Stevie Puna.
Tell us, being a first year student, what are you excited about, at least with the future components of this program that you want to participate in?
“I think that one thing that I am excited about is the baking class we have next semester,” says Puna.
“For me professionally, I am not sure if I want to go into savory or into baking. So, making that distinction will be very fun next semester.”
Chef, do you have any success stories that we have now well-established past students who are well within their career?
“Yah. You know, we are very lucky to have a lot of very successful alumni,” says Egami.
“Two that come to mind is Chef Eric Oto of La Vie and Chef Shaden Sato of Halekulani. They are doing very well for themselves at their restaurant, but we have alumni all over the industry, Hawaii and beyond, who are doing really well for themselves, so we are really lucky to have that.”
You know, LCC’s Culinary Program is actually open to the public.
Even though you may not be a part of the school, they have restaurants that are open to the public and I have to say, they are very delicious.
To find what days they are open and hours of operation, click here.
For all the information about the culinary program, click here.