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LCC’s Culinary Gala Returning May 10

By pairing 13 chefs from some of Hawaii’s most renowned restaurants with farmers, ranchers and aquaculturists, the annual L’ulu Leeward Culinary Gala, set for from 6 to 9 p.m. May 10, will feature dishes that use local products created from these partnerships.

The event, which serves as a vital fundraiser for the community college’s culinary arts program, will be held in The Pearl Restaurant on campus.

On the menu this year will be a 48-day Aged Maui Ribeye from Alan Wong’s Restaurant, Island Inspired ceviche from REAL a gastropub, Big Island Wild Boar from Tiki’s Bar and Grill, Ahi Ravioli with Porcini Mushroom Sauce from Tokkuri Tei and Braised Short-ribs with Hamakua Mushroom Risotto from HASR Bistro.

The Pearl, Leeward’s own award-winning restaurant, also will contribute to the gala feast by preparing and serving Slow Cooked Asian Pork and Beans with Sesame Slaw.

Other participating restaurants include Japengo, Pili Hawaii, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Roy’s Ko Olina, Ama Ama at Aulani and Naupaka at Ihilani Resort and Spa. Meals will be complemented by wine, beers, spirits and specialty coffee and tea. The gala also includes live entertainment and a silent auction.

Roy’s Ko Olina executive chef Darryl Shinogi said that the restaurant hopes to help “raise a lot of funds, and for the students to learn off the chefs that participate.”‘

Throughout the years, the event has raised thousands of dollars’ worth of funding for the program. It all started in 2000 as a way for the culinary program to raise enough money to purchase a new oven.

“The event became an annual one with even more program needs not being met by the college,” explained LCC culinary arts program coordinator Tommylynn Benavente. “Monies from the annual event were eventually used to support facility renovations.”

Hosted in the school’s culinary facility, the gala allows attendees to see what their support is helping to finance.

Benavente explained that the gala helps the program purchase kitchen equipment and tools – such as pasta machines, smokers and ice cream makers – to help students stay in touch with industry trends. It also funds scholarships and extracurricular activities.

According to Benavente, one of the biggest successes of the gala has been highlighting products from local producers.

“Guests at the event have expressed their delight to be able to talk with the farmer partners and learn more about their businesses,” she said.

General admission for the gala is $100 through Friday; the price jumps to $125 after that.

For more information about the gala and to purchase tickets, visit events.leeward.hawaii.edu.