On the first floor of Hale ‘Ākoakoa, staff mopped up water that chanter and Hawai‘i Ocean Education Academy coordinator Ian Masterson flung about while blessing the grand opening of the ‘Uala Leaf Cafe, WCC’s new cafeteria.
The January 19 ‘silver mop’ ceremony was filled with WCC students, faculty and staff. Chancellor Doug Dykstra gave special thanks to Hi‘ilaniwai Foodservice Innovations Training program instructor Lorie Wong, program coordinator Charlene Akina and kitchen manager Mike Roth.
The ‘Uala Leaf Cafe now serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. It offers meat entrees such as chicken curry and pork adobo, vegetarian courses like pasta and yaki soba and hamburgers and fries daily. There are also chilled items like garden hummus wraps and mini shack salads, as well as snacks, desserts and canned drinks.
The average price is $5.50 for any chilled, hot or vegetarian entree. Currently, the café only accepts cash.
“We’re ready to start cooking and serving food,” said Roth. “(But) the credit card system might take awhile … ”
Lorie Wong began teaching in the Hi‘ilaniwai Foodservice Innovations Training program in October
2014. The self-supporting organization uses the kitchen at ‘Uala Leaf Cafe as its base for its 8-hour and 16-hour certification programs.
Students enrolled in the programs train in food prep, nutrition, health and safety. They also learn academic and practical laboratory skills.
Last year, Roth was charged with designing and equipping the fully licensed training kitchen. He upgraded and bought a new six-burner gas stove, a large oven and a 4-foot-tall giant mixer and refurbished the walk-in fridge and freezer.
He was also responsible for generating bid requests to vendors for the major appliances and purchasing new serving hot plates.
After the ‘silver mop’ ceremony, faculty stood and rushed for second servings of Roth’s culinary grinds as he brought out the third tray of teriyaki chicken with pineapple chunks.
The staff prepared fresh organic vegetables from WCC’s medicinal garden, adding the ingredients together to make a salad.
Roth said, “We will try and use herbs and vegetables at least once a week from the gardens here on campus.”
The weekly menu is online at windward.hawaii.edu/Uala_leaf_cafe.
by Zachary Rupp-Smith, Ka ‘Ohana Co-Editor in Chief