Cooking Up Something Special

November 1, 2010

The courtyard outside Chapel was abundant with flavor: baba ganoush, made of fresh eggplant harvested from Ka Papa Mala o Punahou, cooked by Punahou sixth-graders; dollops of velvety smooth cream cheese and mini bites of rich liliko'i cheesecake with a homemade graham cracker crust from Alan Wong's; and delectable organic rice with fresh veggies served in ti leaves from The Green House's chef Raul Bernal.

It was all mouthwatering, and it was all local.

That was how guests were greeted on the evening of Sept. 21, 2010, to kick off the first Food for Thought series of the school year. Cooking demonstrations enticed guests to go local by indulging them in what Hawai'i's food movement has to offer. Alan Wong's Restaurant was represented by chefs and associates eager to prove their point, including Punahou alumni Jared Murakawa '99 and pastry chef Michelle Karr '93. Their side-by-side taste test of a mainland cream cheese versus cream cheese from the Naked Cow Dairy in Wai'anae held no contest. Taste-testers were hooked on the silky, robust flavor of the local variety. The mini cheesecake, also made with Naked Cow cream cheese, had people coming back for more.

Satiated by the appetizing local fare, guests convened inside Chapel, where they watched "Eating in Place," a documentary about the local food movement in western Michigan, produced by the Grand Rapids Area Council for the Humanities and Calvin College.

The event promoted Kanu Hawaii's "Eat Local Challenge," which invited people to eat local from Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2010. James Koshiba '91, executive director of Kanu Hawai'i, presented the challenge to guests, saying, "What we wanted to do was replicate the food movement in western Michigan. ... They shifted their society, their consumers and their businesses, and they did it by redirecting their local economy. We want that same redirection to take place in Hawai'i." The nonprofit is currently tallying up results from the challenge, and information will available soon on their website at

Academy English teacher Eliza Leineweber '92 Lathrop echoed his sentiments by saying, "We hope that you've been inspired to take action in supporting a more healthy, sustainable and secure food system."


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