Every act of aloha counts. Click here to DONATE to the MAUI RELIEF Fund.            

Philana Bouvier

Photo from Philana Bouvier

Photo from Philana Bouvier

In Hawaii, we love to eat, and thanks to nonprofit Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation, up-and-coming students not only can taste excellent foods, but also learn the skills to create unique dishes using local ingredients.

“It makes me feel great to work with local students and to provide education for them,” says foundation board member Philana Bouvier.

Her enthusiasm for the future of culinary education in Hawaii led her to volunteer with the foundation in December 2011.

In order to provide these wonderful tools for budding chefs, the foundation hosts its 16th annual golf tournament April 28, which features food served along the course. (To register for the tourney, visit hawaiiculinaryfoundation.org or call 941-9088.)

Chefs Alan Wong and Chai Chaowasaree, along with other great chefs from Tango, MW Restaurant, Contempo, Roy’s, Side Street Inn, Murphy’s, and Tiki’s Grill and Bar, will be on the grounds of Kapolei Golf Course serving food throughout the day.

According to Bouvier, Young’s Market Company executive vice president and general manager, who co-chairs the tournament this year, the fundraising goal is $50,000.

“This is the key fundraiser for the foundation,” she explains. “We have suppliers who fly in from Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Jack Daniels, Red Bull, Grey Goose. All these amazing supporters come to buy teams, and all the proceeds go to the foundation.”

Funds support Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation’s mission to provide students throughout the Islands access to visiting world-renowned chefs, educational opportunities, Center of the Plate Training programs, master classes and special fundraising events.

While she admits she normally doesn’t partake in yanks and yips, Bouvier says the tournament is the one time a year she plays golf.

“We’re in the wine and spirits business, and it’s natural in a business where it goes so well with social drinking and eating.

“You always want to support local charities that support local students, because you want to keep our students here in Hawaii,” says Bouvier. “To be able to bring talent to them (the students) to be able to learn is very rewarding, and it also teaches us a lot about partnerships and local farming, about all the unique flavors of Hawaii.”

The Islands are a melting pot of cultures, which means there’s a plethora of different foods and cooking styles. Thanks to Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation, Hawaii students have the opportunity to not only learn techniques from the best in the business, but also to incorporate local flavors into delightful dishes they can be proud of.