Make A Wish
Xhosa Chinn is a really sweet kid from Orlando Florida who has heart problems. He’s 6’4” and was playing basketball. His wish was to come to Hawaii and see what it would be like to be a chef. I was given the honor by the wonderful people at the Make A Wish Foundation to be that chef for Xhosa.
So I made a list of proteins, starches, vegetables and finally sauces we could make from scratch. We “Iron Chef-d” it; took a bunch of ingredients without a preconceived idea of what to do and make something cool out of it. I collaborated with Xhosa on his ideas and what he wanted to make. He was really into making egg rolls. I told him we’d make some nice authentic multi-cultural egg rolls.
All of the proceeds of Xhosa’s special that would be sold that night would go back to Make A Wish. We decided to make a combo plate for greater value. I took him through the process of putting together a special, why you could use this fish, what makes it great, this is the kind of sauce that you can make to compliment it. I have some great Laotian cooks that took Xhosa through process of making, seasoning, cutting and preparing authentic chicken and taro egg rolls. His hands were a bit too big to get really tight roll, much like mine but he’s got a great attitude and he never quit trying to get it just right.
Xhosa’s Surf & Turf: Chicken, taro, avocado spring rolls, ginger chicken chili sauce. Misoyaki butterfish, sweet ‘n spicy mustard sake sauce. Baby bok choy shiitake stir fry. It was pretty outstanding, check out the gallery images on top.
Xhosa is a very soft spoken boy so I told him that in this industry it can get intense and you have to speak up and be assertive, not unlike all those reality chef shows you see on TV, though they’re a bit over the top. But he opened up by the end of the day and I think he really enjoyed the whole experience and finally sitting down with his family eating the dish that he prepared. I heard he told the Make A Wish Foundation that this was a career he could fall in love with. So obviously I think that’s great.