On Wednesday, December 4th, eight aspiring chefs gathered at the Innovation Center of Kapiolani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific to prepare and present eight very special dishes to a panel of judges.
The panel, which included Dining Out’s own Anne Lee, was charged with a formidable task: select the winning dish for 7-Eleven Hawaii’s “On the Line” culinary competition.
Open to students of Kapi’olani Community College’s Culinary Arts and Culinology and Leeward Community College’s Culinary Arts programs, the contest challenged students to develop a healthier, “better-for-you” entrée. It was also was designed to support local agriculture; each submitted recipe had to include at least two locally grown, caught or raised ingredients.
Criteria for presented entrées were as exacting as one might expect. Among other rules, each recipe and cooking process had to adhere to USDA/FDA food safety guidelines. Food costs had to be kept at less than $4 per serving. Each entrée had to fit in a standard 7-Eleven Hawaii container. It had to contain less than 700 calories and 10 grams of fat, but it also had to have at least three main components (protein, vegetables, grains, or pasta) – none of them rice.
In the end, eight students – one from LCC, seven from KCC, and all tremendously talented – presented intriguing dishes like Tofu Kabocha Stir Fry (Ranie Ranga) and Chicken Tom Yum Couscous (Toby Kammunkun). Lee Ann Young prepared Thai Curry (Kabocha Puree) Soba; Jeremy Stevens his Shredded Chicken Burrito; and LaTonya Emedo her Pacific Rim Meatballs for the judges. It was a deliciously close contest, according to all.
Kainoa Reloza, who prepared Sinigang Rice Noodle Soup for the judges, won the 1st Place cash award of $1000, and runner-up Brittany Soga, with Chicken Hekka Long Rice Noodle, received $750. A People’s Choice award for $250 was presented to Ritchie Wong for his Mapo Tofu Udon.
If Reloza’s winning entrée is selected for sales, look for it at your favorite 7-Eleven Hawaii location in March 2020 as a featured Localicious dish. Spearheaded by the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, the Localicious campaign supports culinary education in Hawaii.