Two former Hawaii governors joined current Gov. David Ige Tuesday as the Culinary Institute of the Pacific provided a preview of its new facility at Diamond Head.
Ige and former governors John Waihee and Benjamin Cayetano were among invited guests who toured the shiny new teaching kitchens completed in February.
The $25 million facility marks the first phase of a project that eventually will include a restaurant and auditorium.
Speakers at the event noted that the project has been in the works for more than 20 years, reaching back to the administration of Cayetano, who helped negotiate the turnover of the Army’s former Cannon Club to the University of Hawaii system.
Tuesday’s celebration included food provided by Kapiolani Community College culinary graduates now running restaurants of their own, among them chefs Lance Kosaka of Top of Waikiki, David Lukela of Beachhouse at the Moana and Robynne Maii of Fete.
Chef Alan Wong, one of the day’s speakers, called himself a “proud graduate” of the KCC class of 1979, when the campus was on Pensacola Street.
“It helped to give me a dream, it opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed,” Wong said.
The Diamond Head campus is crucial to preparing students for today’s culinary industry, he said. “This facility will help us keep pace with the rest of the world.”
Classes in American, European and Asian cuisines will begin in the new instructional labs in the fall.