Waipahu Teens Running Their Own Cafe

The culinary academy at Waipahu High School is proving to be a delicious way for students to learn the ropes of running a restaurant, from purchasing and ordering ingredients to cooking and plating meals.

And now the community can have a hearty meal prepared by talented students who have a heart for cooking.

“They plan out their menu and make sure they can purchase what they need to make a profit,” explained principal Keith Hayashi. “They tried out different recipes and prepared three different menus. They are able to learn the front and back of the house.”

Waipahu High has six career pathways so students can focus on a specific area of interest, and the Marauder Café is one component of the public and human services pathway.

Through the school’s partnership with First Hawaiian Bank and Leeward Community College, these future culinary artists were able to learn from the chef at The Bankers Club on top of the First Hawaiian Center. So those who choose to dine at the Marauder Café can feel confident knowing they’re going to get a great meal.

Proceeds from the café go toward scholarships for the students. LCC helps those who would like to continue their culinary ventures after high school by providing support to students who want to start college courses in the culinary arts.

Adviser Elaine Matsuo is proud to see her students honing more than just their culinary skills.

“It’s not just learning about things in the food industry,” she said.

The café was created to help students build skills for both life and work, instill strength of character, and empower students to take charge and make a smooth transition to the real world.

According to Hayashi, Waipahu High School strives to provide its students with “real life” experiences to give them skills to change and adapt to different situations, and the Marauder Café is a great way to do that.

The students will be preparing lunches every Thursday through April. But it’s been such a hit that it’s booked for the rest of the semester.

For more details, email jess_nakashima@notes.k1 2.hi.us.