Wai-TIKI with Leeward Culinary Arts
For this blog post I have some very exciting news about the Leeward Community College Culinary Arts Program special dinner titled Wai-TIKI that I recently participated in.
The evening featured a five course dinner with wine pairings by Chuck Furuya and some incredibly creative work by LCC’s culinary stars of tomorrow. A lot of preparation went into getting ready for this evening and I can tell you that it was awesome. Linda Yamada, David Millen and Don Maruyama, the chef instructors at LCC did a fantastic job preparing the students. I’ve known Don going back to when I started at Roy’s in 1992 where he was a sous chef. I’ve known Linda for a long time too and done many charity events with LCC over the years but this was the first time I had created the menu for the special dinner that they feature once each semester.
Preparing the Menu
I put together some really great tasting dishes with lots of fresh local ingredients of course and some preparations that I thought would also present a learning opportunity for the students. We made Kauai Shrimp & Day Boat Scallop spheres as part of one course, Truffle Scented Polenta Stuffed Quail with another and prepared some Sous Vide Eggs as part of the Island Steak & Eggs course.
I’m sure the students have already learned most of the skills to prepare these dishes at LCC because all the chef instructors at LCC are highly trained. They have more than enough knowledge to recreate the menu but when they came to Tiki’s for me to show them the dishes, Linda asked for the recipes.
I didn’t have them.
She understands, but most people don’t. When you do complex wine dinners, in your own kitchen, you don’t write recipes for every single thing. There are so many components that to write all these recipes would take a long time. Showing my staff of trained cooks how to do them and coaching along the way is far more efficient. Too many details are subject to change to get tied down to written instructions.
Preparing the Students
To prepare the Leeward Community College students, Don, David and Linda watched me, took video and I made the dishes. They, in turn, did the same thing with the students and the students were awesome! I went to the school for a tasting and the students had prepared the dishes top to bottom. They also played with the presentations, presenting them in different ways and had awesome ideas. I believe this is how creative thinking is produced. Anyone can follow a recipe but to people that cook, a recipe is a guideline to express your own tastes with something you don’t already know how to cook.
Preparing the Wine Pairings
Our wine pairings for the evening were put together by Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya. I consider Chuck a friend, a coach and a bad ass when it comes to pairing wine with food. He helped train me on how to do wine maker/wine dinners at Roy’s through tasting and coaching. An amazing experience.
He had some insanely obscure gems lined up including “Les Traverses de Fontaines”. This wine, which is paired with our Island Steak and Eggs, is produced almost single handedly by a Frenchman, Cyriaque Rozier. He’s well known for his work with a major French winery but then he puts in 16 hour days so he can produce this wine in his own winery, under his own label from a single, very special 5 hectare piece of land. This is just one of the four selections that Chuck made for the special LCC Culinary Arts dinner.
It as an amazing night of dinner and wine for everyone who attended!