Maui Business

Big Island Chocolate Festival Benefits UHMC Culinary Students

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The 7th Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival took place last week at the Hapuna Beach Resort. The event featured a chocolate culinary competition where chefs, chocolatiers and culinary students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the professional and student culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

For the college competition, UH-Maui College advanced pastry students Mya Carter and Alyssa Frost took first. Lady-Lyn Dasmarinas and Gary Perreira took second and Chayce Cardenas and Merie Pastrana took third.

UH Maui College’s Culinary Arts Program was also one of the five beneficiaries of the festival along with Hawai’i Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Waimea Country School and founding event organizations Kona Pacific Public Charter School and Kona Dance & Performing Arts.


Gala culinary winners were Chef Dayne Tanabe of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Savory, Chefs Suzanna Angeles and Kalani Garcia of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai for Best Plated Dessert, Chef Eddie Enojardo of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Bonbon and Michelle Yamaguchi of Wailua Estate for Best Bean-to-Bar Chocolate. Winning the cacao competitions were Nine Fine Mynahs for Best Criollo Bean and Mauna Kea Cacao for Best Cacao Bean.

In addition, three Hawai‘i Island high school culinary teams vied for People’s Choice Awards Saturday night. Kealakehe High School culinarians took top honors for both savory and sweet offerings.

“This event provided an amazing opportunity for students to learn in a real life setting with guidance from industry experts and support from our community,” said Karen Sheff, Kealakehe culinary instructor.


Judges for the various competitions hailed from throughout the state and Mainland: Chef Alicia Boada CEPC, CCA, CCE, ACE of Cacao Barry; Chef Connor Butler of Kona Butcher Shop; Chef Anna Hoehberger of Hilton Waikoloa Village, Chef Emily Rosenberg of Four Season Resort Maui; Chef Frank Kramm of Kona Butcher Shop, Chef Hannah Stanchfield of UH-Maui College; Chef Jeremy Choo of King’s Hawaiian Bakery; Chef Joseph Tocci of UH-Maui College; Dr. Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate; Neal Campbell of Healani Orchards; Chef Ricky DeBoer of Fairmont, Kea Lani; Chef Stephane Treand MOF of The Pastry School; Chef Teresa Shurilla of UH-Maui College; Vicky Kometani of Mauna Kea Resort and Chef Yoshikazu Kizu of The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

Visit for updates on next year’s event which takes place from April 26 to 27, 2019.





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