Leile­hua High Is Cook­ing Up Fu­ture Chefs

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Front Page - By LINDA DELA CRUZ

Leile­hua High’s Culi­nary Arts Academy is more than classes and cook­ing, as the stu­dents op­er­ate their own restau­rant, Ala Seren­ity, serv­ing par­ties of 10 to 40 cus­tomers dur­ing the school year.

Fu­ture chefs pre­pare the meals on stan­dard restau­rant equip­ment, then serve it and clean up af­ter­wards, said academy di­rec­tor Tammy Naka­mura. “We have our reg­u­lar peo­ple who al­ways come,” she said. “It is not walk-in; they have to call and make a reser­va­tion.” For reser­va­tions, call 622-6563.

A hun­gry bunch of 17 ed­u­ca­tors from dif­fer­ent schools — on cam­pus for a re­cent meet­ing — had lunch at the Cal­i­for­nia Av­enue venue in mid-Jan­uary.

“Stu­dents cooked Thai spring rolls with chili sauce to be wrapped in let­tuce. Leile­hua green veg­eta­bles with their sig­na­ture dress­ing was served, and din­ers had a choice of clam chow­der or French onion soup with cheese bread, and tiramisu for dessert.” All that for $12 a per­son. Naka­mura and an­other in­struc­tor take

FROMPAGE1 stu­dents through three pro­gres­sive cour­ses on the food-ser­vice busi­ness. “Ev­ery year is dif­fer­ent,” noted Naka­mura, who has been at the high school for 15 years. “It de­pends on the stu­dents. Ev­ery year is like train­ing a new group.”

And there are suc­cess sto­ries. For­mer stu­dent Chris­tian Dortch, for ex­am­ple, was named Best Teen Chef last year in a com­pe­ti­tion that awarded him a schol­ar­ship to the In­ter­na­tional Culi­nary School at the Art In­sti­tute of Cal­i­for­nia in Or­ange County. He now works in a Dis­ney­land restau­rant while at­tend­ing school.

The culi­nary academy opened in 2000 and fo­cused on ca­ter­ing ser­vices, but since 2006 — when they moved into the old li­brary and con­verted it — all ef­forts are con­cen­trated on the sit-down restau­rant and its three kitchens.

“Don’t ex­pect to eat,” Naka­mura warns her stu­dents, shar­ing the hard facts of the busi­ness. “If you get to eat, that’s a plus. You are go­ing to learn to wash dishes re­ally good.”

Fur­lough Fri­days have cut into the pro­gram’s cleanup time, she ad­mit­ted. Be­fore the fur­lough days, she would pull stu­dents out of their last class of the day to help with cleanup. “Now they can­not get out of their classes be­cause our time is cut short. They come back af­ter school to do the clean­ing.

“I don’t think I re­al­ized what a big un­der­tak­ing it is un­til I ac­tu­ally did it,” she added. “ There’s lots of plan­ning and or­ga­ni­za­tion. The kids have to be on top of it, too.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.