Forget Instagramming your food. Hawaii culinary students are busy making foods for a national championship. It not only tests their skills in the kitchen but shares the taste of Hawaii with others as well.

The students come from the Kapiolani Community College (KCC); the one that is near Diamond Head but probably more notably, the college that hosts the ever-popular Saturday farmers market. Rightfully so, since KCC’s culinary program is known for using only locally-grown ingredients.

In fact, the dishes they whip up in the college kitchen actually get served to customers. A small (and kind of expensive) fine dining restaurant is located right on campus.

KCC’s culinary program is no stranger to competing. In the past, students representing the islands got first place in 2009 and then second place the year after. This year, they will focus on using local ingredients with an Asian influence. Each course (appetizer, salad, entree and desert) will represent Hawaii in its own special way.

Whether or not they place, these students have gained invaluable experience that no “Top Chef” reality show could ever achieve. They will soon be stepping out into the work force and into kitchens that are part of well-known hotels and restaurants. It will – no doubt – be their very hands preparing the meals you eat the next time you’re in the islands.

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