Mixed Plate scholarship competitors compete for chef title

Published On: Mar 11 2014 07:45:41 PM HST   Updated On: Mar 11 2014 08:26:53 PM HST

Buying local is one thing, but cooking local is entirely a different matter.

Click here to watch Pamela Young's story.

This year a field of competitors took to the kitchen for the Mixed Plate Scholarship. Ready, set, cook.

The finalists had only one job. That's to impress the judges: Michelle Karr Ueoka of MW Restaurant, Jon Matsubara of Japengo and Alec Sou of Aloun Farm.

This year two ingredients were chosen: Ewa sweet corn and Kona vanilla bean. They had to be used in both the entree and dessert.

How's that going to work? Well, the contestants gave us a glimpse.

"I'm making a cream of corn, corn puree with seared fish and warm zucchini salad with vanilla foam. My dessert is going to be a creamy polenta. It's a traditional dish from my country Brazil. We call it conjika," Mariana Oliveira, a scholarship hopeful.

"Popcorn crusted mahi-mahi with smoked tomato sauce, creamy corn polenta, goat cheese crème freshe. Dessert is going to be a creme brulee strip," said competitor Joselito Calpito.

"For my entree I'm doing a vanilla brined chicken, corn puree, bacon dust," said Kenneth Lee, a contestant. And for his dessert he said, "Corn brulee, mint jelly raspberry anglais and vanilla ice cream."

"Seared fish with corn puree and corn Asian ragout," said scholarship hopeful Emi Akiyama.

For dessert, she said she would make a corn cake, corn cookie and corn ice cream.

The theme works the new localicious movement that 65 restaurants have adopted.

"Our philosophy is farm to table and support the next generation. Part of localicious is a dollar from every dish goes back to the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation and the Veggie U program," said Karr Ueoka.

"We use local ingredients all the time anyway. Now, we get to give back. It's kind of a win-win situation," said Matsubara.

"What we produce goes from not only the university level, but the high school level all the way through the kitchen and the consumer," said Sou.

All finalists earn scholarships. The big winner will be announced at Kapiolani Community College's fundraiser Ho'okipa on Thursday.


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