Oahu student chefs roast the competition in culinary championships

Frank Leake
Frank Leake
San Shoppell
San Shoppell
Ken Yi
Ken Yi

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Earlier this month, six students from Kapiolani Community College cooked up a victory at the American Culinary Federation's Regional Championships.

Six months, working 10-12 hour days, everyday earned six KCC students a top regional award. Now, they'll compete for a national championship.

"We took the gold, we won the regional title to be able to bring that home, that is such an amazing feat for any team to do," said culinary coach Frank Leake.

Back in the kitchen, they're preparing for the next cook-off against three other regional champions.

"It's a huge experience for us, as well awesome networking tools for us to meet other chefs and potentially have future jobs," said culinary student Ken Yi.

Expecting a heated competition to take place, they'll have to come up with some tasty dishes. They're fired up about their chances of taking the top prize based on teamwork. It's the same ingredient they used to win the regional championship.

"Their ability to pull together as a total unit made a difference in this competition," said culinary coach Frank Leake.

"I think with practice and organization we know what our skill level is and then we just go in and do, as we say do our job," said culinary student San Shoppell.

It's not only other teams they have to worry about; it's also a race against time.

"From the moment you walk in the door and do your setup to the moment you complete your task in you final cooking and presentation everything is timed all the way to the judges table," said culinary coach Frank Leake.

With only a few months left until the competition, this culinary "dream team" is confident they'll be able to cook-up another winning recipe.

The team is working on developing a four-course meal to enter in the contest. It will be held in Orlando Florida in July.