Maui Food and Dining

Maui Youth Get a Taste of Better Eating with American Heart Association

March 16, 2018, 11:05 AM HST
* Updated March 16, 5:18 PM
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The Kids & Teens Cook with Heart Program teaches students how to make healthy smoothies, salsas, dressings, and even chili during a six-week program held at Lahaina elementary, middle, and high schools. Photo Courtesy

The American Heart Association teamed up with Maui chefs to give Lahaina-area students and their families a taste of better eating.

The Kids & Teens Cook with Heart Program teaches students how to make healthy smoothies, salsas, dressings, and chili during a six-week program held at Lahaina elementary, middle, and high schools.

This school year’s program culminated with an “Iron-Chef” style high school competition held on March 8, in which students competed for prizes including cooking tools and gift certificates.

Forty high school students took part in the competition which required student teams to select from healthy ingredients and prepare a multi-course meal. They were judged on the nutritional quality, taste and presentation of their creations.

Lahainaluna High School senior Viviana Pont Ose was on the winning team this year. “The competition was so much fun – I was so happy when we won!” she said. “We received a chef’s knife and other cooking supplies and healthy cooking cookbooks as our prizes. I hope they keep doing this at our school, it was great.” Other students on the winning team included: Sami Saribay, Ja Ann Cailao, Samantha Calma, Isabella Omuar, Liliola Vekehite, and Grace Takemoto.

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Lahaina-area chefs volunteer with the American Heart Association to share their talents with the students and teach them both healthy eating and cooking skills. The volunteers included: Chef Jojo Vasquez (The Plantation House), Chef Ryan Luckey (Leilani’s), Chef Betty McDonald (B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery), Chef Kaipo Nakata (Sansei Kapalua), Chef Riko Bartolome (Asia Vous), Craig Erickson (Kaanapali Beach Club), and Chef Paris Nabavi (Pizza Paradiso).

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The American Heart Association developed the Kids & Teens Cook With Heart program to teach elementary, middle and high school students how to prepare healthy meals as a way to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Over four hundred kids and teens participated in the Lahaina schools complex program this school year.

Chef Rob Mason coordinates the Lahaina Kids & Teens Cook with Heart Program. “We aim to educate the child so that they teach their families the healthy eating recipes we learn in class,” he explained.  Mason serves as program coordinator, so contact him via email or call 808-280-0991 for details on becoming a volunteer.

A fundraising event will be held this summer in Kapalua to support the program. To learn more or donate, click here.  For more information on opportunities to support and grow the Kids & Teens Cook With Heart Program, email or call development manager Eva Bondar at 808-212-4861.

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