14th Annual Taste of Kick Start

Posted on September 10, 2016 by admin
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Another Year, Another Kick Start

On September 4, I was happy to be a part of the Taste of Kick Start for another year in a row. This is a gala put on by Kick Start Karate, a nonprofit founded in 1994 by then Assistant Chief of Police Lee D. Donohue and Mrs. Amy Abe, an Educator from Waipahu High School. The mission statement of the organization is: “To provide alternative activities to combat anti-social youth gang membership in a welcoming environment while encouraging positive changes and enhanced quality of life with all participants through building leadership skills and a sense of empowerment, resulting in more productive citizens, and ultimately, a healthier society.” Youth who are enrolled in the program are required to practice karate, as well as maintain an acceptable grade average. 

The Taste of Kick Start is a fundraiser with food booths, beverages, and a silent auction. All proceeds go to benefit Kick Start’s goal of keeping youth off the streets.  My wife Suni put her name down for some delicious smelling 100% Kona coffee but was unfortunately outbid by a fellow coffee enthusiast. Maybe we’ll pick some up from our trip to Big Island this weekend for the Taste of the Hawaiian Range event…

The Taste of Kick Start is an annual event, and always features the karate youths as volunteers for the event, as they pass out dishes and beverages to the gala guests at the tables. Both this year and last year, we had the same kid volunteering with our booth. Last year, Evan was a Purple belt – this year, he had jumped to a Brown! It was nice to see a familiar face in the program, and heartwarming to see his progression with his training. I like to think that Evan likes working with us too – it’s always a fun time at the Tiki’s booth.

Each food booth is asked to prepare two dishes. This year, Tiki’s two dishes were almost on opposite ends of the spectrum.  The first was a Big Island Wild Boar Meatball, pecorino cheese soufflĂ©, sundried tomato chardonnay sauce, kale chip, and bread crumbs. This has been a favorite at other events we’ve done this year and is always a great, hearty addition that doesn’t leave you feeling too full.

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The second dish was a new vegetarian one, and it was a big hit! It was a Burratina with roasted grapes, grilled peaches, arugula, black salt, pesto, pine nuts, and strawberry. Light, creamy, and served cold, it was great for the humid and post-stormy weather of the day. Burratina (or just burrata, depending on the size) is a pouch of Mozzarella cheese, and instead of being solid like a ball, is creamy, and so soft that it oozes out as soon as you cut into it. It was the perfect balance of the peppery arugula and the sweetness of the fruit.

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It was fun to educate the kids on some of these more unusual flavors and names, like teaching them how to properly pronounce arugula. Hopefully, they enjoyed tasting the dishes as much as their sponsors did. We look forward to being a part of this great event again next year.

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