Talented culinary students prepare dishes at competition

A La Carte

December 8, 2019

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

7-Eleven Hawaii president and CEO Greg Hanna, left, with First Place Kainoa Reloza, People’s Choice Ritchie Wong and Runner-up Brittany Soga.

Last Wednesday, 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.

A shrimp and veggie combo competition dish.

Open to students of Kapiolani 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” entree. It was also was designed to support local agriculture; each submitted recipe had to include at least two locally grown, caught or raised ingredients.

Reloza’s winning dish, Sinigang Rice Noodle Soup

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 entree 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.

Jeremy Stevens, at front, prepares his Shredded Chicken Burrito

In the end, eight talented students, one from LCC, seven from KCC, 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.

The eight finalists with their entries

Kainoa Reloza, who prepared Sinigang Rice Noodle Soup for the judges, won the First Place cash award of $1,000, 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 entree 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.

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