HONOLULU (KHON2) — With Spam Jam coming up, chefs are busy preparing for the festival this weekend. Of course, the chefs cannot do it all on their own which led the SPAM JAM committee to partner with schools across Oahu, giving students interested in the career field experience.

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KHON2 spoke with chef Jared Astrinos, executive chef at Aloha Beer Company, about working with James Campbell High School students this morning.

Chef Astrinos was preparing for the busy festival at the school’s kitchen and said it was nice to see the kids were not only interested in how to prepare the food for the festival, but also wanted to know all the preparation details that go into making a big event run smooth like quantity and cost of materials.

Astrinos mentioned there were more students in culinary classrooms pre-pandemic and hope this event is a gateway for the high schoolers he saw this morning.

When asked what it was like to work with high school students, Astrinos chuckled and said that they needed a bit more explanation but not far off from working with a normal line cook.

You know, it was a, it was a fun experience. You know, the kids were amazing. They were very taught well, so they knew what they were doing.”

Jared Astrinos, executive chef at Aloha Beer Company

He did mention there was one student who cut his finger while cutting, but Astrinos showed him why. It was because he was gripping the item in his hand wrong, “but it was a lesson at least that he, he can learn, you know, so that next time, you know, you don’t get nicked like that,” said Astrinos.

Ten students from this morning will help chef Astrinos on the day of the festival, five for the morning shift and five for the later shift.

When asked if the students were engaging, Astrinos said, “They were asking questions about the restaurant, they were asking questions about like internships,” and they were also surprised to learn many things.

One thing the students learned was how to properly cut spam.

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Astrinos mentioned they were all doing it wrong from home, which surprised him, and told KHON2 the correct way to cut spam.

Once the can of spam is opened and flipped up-side-down, spam is cut top to bottom. To get even slices, Astrinos suggests continuing cutting the spam in halves until the desired thickness.