A Bountiful KCC Benefit Breakfast

The 28th annual American Culinary Federation (ACF) breakfast fundraiser is this Sunday. Culinary students at Kauai Community College (KCC) will prepare and serve a massive all-youcan-eat breakfast, and proceeds go toward scholarships and classroom improvements.

Martina Hilldorfer, program coordinator and chef instructor for the culinary arts program at KCC, says this fundraiser plays a vital role for her department.

“The event provides our students with an opportunity to network and learn from Kauai hotel and restaurant chefs who are well-respected experts,” says Hilldorfer. “By providing students with resources, we pave a path for career development and achieving goals and dreams.”

Besides scholarships, money raised at the ACF breakfast is used to purchase, maintain and repair equipment, for faculty development and to sponsor student competition in the biannual Student Culinary Expo, held every other December at Kapiolani Community College on Oahu.

“Our hope is that once our students graduate, they serve the needs of our island restaurants as cooks,” says Hilldorfer, “and in time, move up the ranks to executive chef, or own a business.”

Culinary arts student Donna Yadao loves to cook. After taking an introductory course because she was curious to see the difference between home and professional cooking, she was intrigued when she saw students bond like family.

“I saw the students in their crisp, white jackets and checkered pants and said to myself, ‘That looks like fun. I want to do that,'” explains Yadao.

She adds that she struggled to get into the program because her math and English skills weren’t satisfactory.

“I wanted to get in so badly,” says Yadao. “While students were on summer break, I was in the math course. My instructor took extra time with me to make sure I was successful. Finally I passed my math. I was in!”

Annually, ACF awards $5,000 in scholarships to students who show the most promise of excelling in the culinary industry.

“I have received scholarships from KCC, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA), Poipu Rotary and Waialeale Foundation,” says Yadao. “Without scholarship funding, I never would have had the opportunity to be successful.”

Previous fundraisers have enabled KCC to renovate the demonstration kitchen, which includes $3,000 in shelving and close to $11,000 for pots, pans, bowls and utensils used in Student Learning Outcomes.

“As support to the community, we sustain one function of the Salvation Army by having island chefs cook a monthly meal,” explains Hilldorfer. “ACF reimburses restaurants $200 per month.

This feeds more than 100 clients a month at the Hanapepe and Lihue Salvation Army posts.”

As a student, Yadao has worked at college and community fundraisers, including the ACF breakfast, Garden Island Range & Food Festival, Poipu Rotary Wine Tasting, HLTA Golf Tournament and KCC’s annual Spring Gourmet Gala.

“These experiences gave me a chance to show the chefs the skills I have learned in school,” says Yadao. “When I graduate, I want to venture into hotels. I am eager and enthusiastic to just get my foot in the door!”

This event has been touted as “Kauai’s Biggest and Best Brunch,” so wear your stretchy pants and feast on all you can! Serious eaters bring a cardboard flat to carry their food. There will be eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, Portuguese sausage, ham, steamed rice, hash browns, omelets cooked to order, pancakes and pastries – all prepared by KCC students.

The breakfast will take place Feb. 16 from 7 to 11 a.m. at Kauai Community College. Tickets cost $15 ($18 at door), children $5 (ages 5-10), free for keiki under 5. Tickets are available at Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company; Kauai Coffee Visitors Center; Koloa Fish Market; Mark’s Place, Puhi; Fish Express, Lihue; Sole Mates, Kapaa; Pono Market, Kapaa, and Kauai Community College cafeteria.

Marta Lane is a Kauai-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.