Culinary Students Cook Up Five-course Meal With Russell Siu

Meet the Special Events Class (back, from left): Peter Kahao, Ashley Shickan, Shari Ouchi, Dane Ito, Deena Datu, Ellisa Vendiola, Ashley Kakazu, Pania Kalama and Kevin Magalion, (front) Lowana Lunasco, Daylene Chinaka, Chef Linda Yamada and Jose Aviles. Photo from Pania Kalama.

Diners can get a taste of what Leeward Community College’s culinary program has been cooking up at the Chef Showcase Dinner at 6 p.m. April 13 at LCC’s campus restaurant, The Pearl.

The 15 students in the Special Events class will assist Chef Russell Siu of 3660 On The Rise to prepare a five-course meal in celebration of the restaurant’s 20th anniversary.

The meal will begin with the Ahi Katsu, which is one of Chef Siu’s signature dishes at 3660 On The Rise, followed by Chopped Romaine Salad with Rock Shrimp Tempura. From there, guests will be served two entrees: Chinese Braised Snapper and Fire Roasted Applewood Smoked Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin Beef in a caramelized shallot sauce. All of that is topped off with another one of Siu’s signature dishes, Chocolate Souffle Cake, served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with mocha sauce.

“(Chef Siu’s) food is very simple, and he keeps the integrity of the ingredients,” said Pania Kalama, one of the class members in charge of marketing and advertising for the event.

“For me, I think the Chopped Romaine Salad with Rock Shrimp Tempura is the best. The shrimp is so tasty and flavorful,” added Kalama, who recently tasted the menu items for the event. “And the tenderloin is cooked just perfectly. It is melt-in-your mouth good.”

The students in the Special Events class, which is taught by Chef Linda Yamada, have been working tirelessly to prepare for the dinner. Throughout the semester, the students have learned various aspects of event planning, and they practice preparing the meal – all of which culminates in the showcase dinner.

“We do everything from the front of the house to service to budgeting, to ordering the food, to cooking the food,” Kalama explained, adding that each student has a different role to play.

Siu selected the menu, but the students are putting their own spin on a few of the dishes. For example, Kalama said, he has instructed the students to come up with their own batter for the tempura.

The young cooks also are in charge of providing the ingredients, and Kalama said that they are aiming to purchase produce and meat from local vendors.

“We are trying to use local companies to support the local economy,” she said.

“We want our guests to leave there happy and satisfied, first of all. We want the food to taste good. We want the service to run smoothly, and we just want everybody to have a good time.”

The cost for the dinner is $70 without wine and $85 with wine. Proceeds will benefit the college’s culinary program.

The dinner can accommodate 80 guests, and reservations are currently being accepted.

For more information or to make reservations, call 455-0298.