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Leilani’s on the Beach mentors Maui culinary students

By Staff | Jul 2, 2015

Chef Ryan Luckey (center) and Maui Culinary Academy students Stevie Ray Walker and Darin Domingo (right) present menu items.

KAANAPALI – Two first-year students of the Maui Culinary Academy were recently hosted by Leilani’s on the Beach for two full days working closely with Executive Chef Ryan Luckey.

This mentoring program is part of the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation’s “In the Professional Kitchen” series.

Two students were selected through the school by demonstration of exemplary personal, professional and education qualities.

Students Stevie Ray Walker and Darin Domingo began their experience with Luckey by accompanying him to two local farms where Leilani’s sources much of its local produce.

The team was able to meet with local hydroponic farmer Geoff Haines of Waipoli Hydroponic Farm and Mike McCoy of Aina Lani Farm.

At each farm, the students were able to select specific produce to use in menus they would design with Chef Luckey.

Next, they traveled back to Leilani’s at Whalers Village to work alongside the dining room culinary team to create the nightly special, attend a front of house pre-service meeting, and observe and participate in the dinner service at the restaurant that evening.

After the first 14-hour workday, the students returned to Leilani’s for day two to put their new skill set to work designing their own menu. Chef Luckey coached them through menu development and execution for a complete five-course tasting menu using local products, balanced flavors and new cooking techniques.

Attendees for the dinner included Maui Culinary Academy External Coordinator Chris Speere, Hawaii Culinary Foundation’s Hayley Matson-Mathes and Leilani’s General Manager Jason Donez, among others.

This event marks the second partnership between Leilani’s on the Beach, the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation and Maui Culinary Academy at the University of Hawaii Maui College.