Budding Epicureans Place at Dessert Cookoff

The RamPage, Staff

Career Technical Education teacher Jamie Kahalewai is busy working with budding epicureans in her school kitchen. When an opportunity presented itself to showcase her students’ culinary skills, a group of Advanced Culinary students participated and took first place in a dessert competition at the Pacific Beach Hotel on Nov. 6.

United Cerebral Palsy hosted its 27th Annual Dessert Fantasy and Silent Auction, an event that featured desserts from food establishments. This year, the organization incorporated for the first time, a high school dessert cookoff challenge.

Second and third year culinary students Jensyn Mison (12), Lee Ann Balai (11), Katherine Kan (11), and Jayna Garcia (12) represented the school at the event, competing against Roosevelt, Kalani, Farrington, Kaiser, Nanakuli, and Aiea High Schools.

To prepare for the competition, Kahalewai tasked the team to recreate their best dish. Team members agreed that they focus on what they were comfortable creating, so they placed their efforts on perfecting a dish, a deconstructed chocolate banana lumpia.

To prepare for the cookoff, the group practiced making their dish, and presented it to Kahalewai for feedback.

“It was the first time they had the competition, and the only thing we were told was they would be judged on taste presentation and texture,” Kahalewai said. “We didn’t see the judges taste our product, nor did we meet them. We only saw them from afar.” 

Winning was far from the young chefs’ minds. They were collecting their things and getting ready to leave the event when  they heard their school name announced.

“We were confused when they called our school, so someone had to find out for us what we won,” Kahalewai said. “It was a great experience for Jensyn, Lee Ann, Katherine and Jayna.”

Advanced culinary students Katherine Kan (11), Lee Ann Balai (11), Jayna Garcia (12), Jensyn Mison (12) take first place in the United Cerebral Palsy’s High School Dessert Cookoff Challenge. The team won by making a deconstructed chocolate banana lumpia. “We were confused when they called our school, so someone had to find out for us what we won,” Culinary teacher Jamie Kahalewai said.