Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: L’ulu at Leeward Community College

Restaurant Insider

April 28, 2019

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Anne Lee, stands with chef Don Maruyama, center, and this year’s L’ulu chefs Eric Oto of Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel and Resort, Shaden Sato of Halekulani and Jared Suekawa of the Prince Waikiki. Each holds their signature dish to be featured at the L’ulu fundraiser.

ANNE LEE Speaks with L’ulu chair CHEF DON MARUYAMA

Ready your taste buds and don your favorite bibs for a tasty gathering commemorating 50 years of Leeward Community College’s culinary program. The L’ulu fundraiser is set to take place on Saturday, May 4 at LCC’s Courtyard from 6 to 9 p.m.

L’ulu chair chef Don Maruyama shares this year has a knock-out lineup of more than 13 chefs who will add to the event’s menu. Each chef was asked to partner with a rancher or farmer, fisherman or local food producer to showcase their product in their dish.

The experience will be an extravagant night to remember as patrons enjoy entertainment and beverages in addition to the delectable culinary creations.

“Guests should expect the ’60s as the theme of the night,” explains Maruyama. “Bands will play music relevant to the era and beverage vendors will be featuring cocktails circa ’68.”

General admission tickets can be purchased for $100 by calling Fabi at 455-0300. Maruyama also says that since the event will be held on the campus’ lawn, it will be a lovely night under the stars where attendees can mingle in the large space with several high boys available throughout the venue.

Part of the night’s lineup will include three chefs who got their start at LCC’s culinary program and are now making flavorful waves in Hawaii’s dining scene: Halekulani’s Shaden Sato, Hoku’s at The Kahala’s Eric Oto and Prince Waikiki’s Jared Suekawa.

“Patrons should attend because it’s awesome — it’s one of Oahu’s premier food and wine events, plus it’s for a good cause and executed very well. It also gives our graduates a way to give back,” concludes Maruyama, who is also an LCC associate professor and program coordinator of the culinary arts. “There is great silent auction — we will be auctioning off 50, $50 gift certificates for our restaurant here at LCC, The Pearl.”


This dish, by banquet/special event chef Shaden Sato of Halekulani, comprises nairagi ceviche, smoked poi and chili pepper water gel on Asian tostada. His inspiration for this dish comes from going to family luaus. “I used to take my poi and mix it with lomi lomi salmon, kalua pig and other stuff and eat it all together,” he says. “This is a play off of that. I wanted to captivate the same feeling and emotion of that dish (from my childhood).”


Prepare for a delight when you dive in to chef Jared Suekawa’s, of the Prince Waikiki, creation of sous vide adobo Pono pork jowls, Dela Mesa farms burnt cabbage puree and aguachile fluid gel atop a housemade achiote corn tortilla. This popping dish draws inspiration from Suekawa’s childhood. “I loved Mexican food ever since I was a kid. And recently I’ve been experimenting with making my own tortillas,” he says. “I’ve been seeing a lot of ties between Mexican and Filipino food, which I also love. So I figured I could merge them into one dish featuring the most popular of the two cultures.”


Chef de cuisine Eric Oto of The Kahala Hotel & Resort, is featuring this fresh dish for attendees to enjoy under the stars. Taking Big Island Abalone and local tako with preserved Buddha’s hand chimicurri, Oto creates a healthy and savory dish — especially because of the Moringa plant that is a superfood and one of the healthiest vegetables out there. “I really wanted guests to know about Mountain View Farms, run by David Wong,” shares the chef. “He grows all of his vegetables in a Korean natural farming method. In 2012, they embarked on implementing this method of farming to prove that this system will enable Hawaii to achieve a sustainable agricultural program.”

Pearl City, HI 96782

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