Recipe for Success
By Jack Kiyonaga, Reporter
For Molokai High School (MHS) Junior Shazen Bush, cooking became an interest when a friend needed help at their food truck. Marcus Hubbard starting cooking at home, making meals with his mother. Timika McLaurin also found herself inspired by family members creating meals. Last week, all three students and 10 of their MHS Culinary Club classmates found themselves at the Four Seasons Resort in Maui, shadowing cooks and learning about what a life in the kitchen could really look like.
“The point of the trip was to get them to taste the world,” said MHS Culinary Club founder and advisor Tiare Hubbard. The trip allowed for students to get a real sense of what a career in cooking could look like. The students observed not only the Four Seasons’ kitchen, but other types of related jobs like hospitality services, food trucks and locally owned restaurants.
The Four Seasons offered rooms at reduced rates as well as set up meetings with managers, tours of kitchens and job shadowing for the Molokai students.
The result was that the students were able to receive a real sense of what kind of careers exist in the world of cooking and how to get there, according to Hubbard.
“I want the kids to have pathways,” said Hubbard. “You can go anywhere with food.”
For students like Bush, who is the president of the MHS culinary club, the experience reaffirmed a desire to pursue a career in cooking.
Between preparing meals in food trucks to observing the dinner rush at the Four Seasons, Bush witnessed an experience that appealed to him.
“I like the people that are experimenting with food,” explained Bush. “If you don’t like this then try it another way.”
Beyond just food, the trip itself proved a valuable experience.
“This trip was full, packed with food and things to do,” explained Hubbard.
Marcus Hubbard, Sergeant in Arms of the Culinary Club, explained that the trip pushed him to try new things.
Even though he doesn’t like sushi, Marcus explained that “I tried it just because it was a five-star hotel…I still don’t like it, but it was still good to taste them.”
Likewise, McLaurin, secretary of the club, liked the career possibilities that the program illuminated. While she is more interested in the hospitality side of the industry, McLaurin explained that she “wanted to learn more about the career and I’m just keeping my options open.”
During the trip, the Culinary Club members were also exposed to successful people who have made their way in the world of culinary arts – specifically chef Pili Napoleon-Grambusch, who is from Molokai and works at the Four Seasons.
“My favorite thing was meeting Chef Pili because he’s from Molokai…seeing him not go to culinary school and he still made it to the top, that’s a mind-blowing thing,” said Bush. “He started as a dishwasher and just worked his way up.”
McLaurin added that “it’s inspirational seeing someone from Molokai in that position because it’s like, ‘wow, I can do that too.’”
Still in its first year of operation, MHS’s Culinary Club focuses on giving students experience cooking for real events. While catering for prom and staff meetings, the club also hosts a range of events and fundraisers to support their learning.
One such event, The Queen’s Gala, is coming up Saturday, May 13, and will feature musician Josh Tatofi. This event will include tastings from the Culinary Club in their first time working at independent chef stations. Proceeds will support future trips for the club.
“We’re going to go chef up some stuff. It will be fun,” said Bush.
After this event, the high school chefs will be open to be hired, explained Hubbard. Hubbard also noted that the club runs primarily off donations. Donations from Iaea Ohana, Haleola Essentials, Desirae Mendija and Take’s Variety store, among others, have contributed to the success of the club.
“We are doing big things considering that we are just a first-year club. I’m excited to see where this club goes,” said McLaurin.