Kapolei High Cookbook Aids Hospital Preemies

Culinary arts students from Kapolei High School raised $4,680 for Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children to support the neonatal intensive care unit with the proceeds from their From the Heart of Hawaii’s Families cookbook, a compilation of 182 tasty local recipes.

Students along with their families submitted personal stories in order to guide and inspire readers with their experiences.

“They wrote how their families muster strength when faced with divorce, poor health, financial difficulties and changing family relationships,” said culinary arts teacher Cynthia Pratt, who served as the editor for the cookbook.

A total of 300 culinary arts, photography and graphic design students worked together to complete the $15 cookbook. They also reached out to the community to get recipes from local chefs, media personalities, elected officials and public school administrators.

Culinary students assisted in preparing several of the recipes for photo sessions, and students of the arts were assisted by teacher Martha Richards and graphic arts teachers Pauline Sawai and Lisa Gonzales. The culinary students also prepared many recipes for events such as First Hawaiian Bank’s Holiday Gala, Mayor’s Reception at the Kapolei Christmas Festi- val, and Mele & Hula at Lanikuhonua.

“It is really inspiring that the students wanted to help Hawaii’s children’s hospital by contributing to the neonatal intensive care unit,” said Amanda Price, Kapiolani Health Foundation associate director of corporate giving. “High school students have so much going on in their busy lives that it is amazing that they were able to put together this project with the help of their teacher.”

And the cookbook isn’t the only thing these students have worked hard on. Pratt also explained that Kapolei High School will be assembling an aquaponic system in the classroom so students can grow greens and raise tilapia.

“We already have an herb garden outside our culinary lab, and we also have a composting system utilizing Bokashi buckets,” she said.

Thanks to the students at Kapolei High, who visited the hospital dressed in chef apparel to present the check to chief operating officer Martha Smith, the NICU now has additional funds for its operations.

“The cookbook project was an idea in my head and heart since 2000- 2001 when I began teaching at Kapolei High School,” explained Pratt, who took sabbatical leave in spring 2010 to begin the project.

Price also is impressed by the students’ desire to help the community with a project of this magnitude. “The two young ladies I met with from Kapolei High School’s culinary program were very thoughtful and professional; it was a pleasure to meet them,” she said.

The money will go toward advancing the work to support Hawaii’s smallest patients. Kapiolani Medical Center sees more than 900 critically ill new-born babies each year in the NICU.

“Each donation makes a difference to the lives of Hawaii’s women and children, and when our community comes together, we all work together to accomplish something great,” Price said. “This is a great example of people coming together to lend a helping hand.”

According to Pratt, the students highly recommend the Big Island-style Tofu, Watermelon Minted Tomato Salad, Thai-style Chicken Curry with Pineapple and the Lilikoi Cupcakes.

“The cookbook is an inter-disciplinary project to raise the esteem our students have for their own families through shared stories, advice and encouragement,” Pratt explained. “Shared stories, like recipes, bring families together and can be a source of joy and inspi- ration to many. Food, even in sad times, can bind families together across time, events and generations. Our decision to share cookbook profits with Kapi‘olani Health Foundation NICU demon- strates how connected we are to a larger ohana, that we need to share our resources with others in need.”

Some contributors and recipes include Gov. Neil Abercrombie (Governor’s Chocolate Mochi), U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye (Senator’s Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs), Chef Chai Chawasaree (Chai’s Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce), Lee Cataluna (A ’70s Kind of Pizza), Stephanie Lum (Auntie Dottie’s Pork Hash in Tofu Pockets), Bob Jones (Tumeric-Infused Baked Cauliflower), Derek Kirisu (Big Island Tofu, Takuan & Taegu Salad), Dean Okimoto (Nalo Farms Herbalicious Spaghetti Sauce), Chef Robert Denis (Island-Style Shoyu Chic- ken), Angela Baraquio- Grey (Papa’s Adobo Chicken Wings), Ron Nagasawa (A Dip for All Seasons) and Kapolei High School Culinary (Lilikoi Cupcakes and Death By Chocolate Cake).

The book’s fourth and final printing is available by calling 692-8200, ext. 3328 or by emailing . For more information, visit