Christmas at the Fairmont – HCC Students Constructing Hawaii Landmarks From Gingerbread

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for culinary students at Hawai‘i Community College-West Hawai‘i. The future chefs are constructing gingerbread centerpieces fashioned to resemble a variety of Hawai‘i landmarks. The unique, holiday centerpieces will be auctioned at Christmas at The Fairmont-Dining with the Chefs on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Presented by the American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Assn., the 23rd annual gala finances local culinary scholarships and kitchen equipment for the future West Hawai‘i community college campus at Palamanui. Formerly held at the now-closed Kona Village Resort, the event has moved to the oceanside Turtle Pointe at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.

Not only will attendees be wowed by the creative talents of budding culinarians, but also be treated to tantalizing cuisine, elegant desserts and mouthwatering confections prepared by chefs from West Hawai‘i’s top resorts and restaurants.

West Hawaii Community College Students at the 2010 Festival

A sample of confirmed culinary station offerings include Fresh Island Catch with Spicy Sichimi Togarashi, Molokai Sweet Potato Puree, Asian Sprout Salad drizzled with Lemongrass Haupia Sauce, Island Tomato Consume, Sweet Corn Bisque and Chocolate Mint Brownies.

Twenty-some resorts and restaurants from Waimea to Kealakekua annually participate in the event, offering exceptional cuisine at culinary stations and volunteering their private services for bid at the exciting live auction. One of the standout auction items this year includes dinner for six in the presidential suite at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa with one night stay for two followed by breakfast— a $3,200 value.

Attendees can bid on the student gingerbread “houses” by silent auction. Using dough and a variety of food products—ice cream cones, noodles, pretzels and candy—the enterprising HawCC students have been busy constructing landmarks like Hulihe’e Palace and Moku‘aikaua Church. Debuting last year as gingerbread “hale,” the gingerbread creations are designed under the supervision of pastry instructor-chef Fernand Guiot, 15-year owner of Kailua-Kona’s former French Bakery. During the event, students will be on hand to “talk story” about their creations and will assist chefs and confectioners at culinary stations.

New this year, the fundraiser offers a variety of locally sourced gift baskets, food products and family activities available via silent auction. “We have stepped up our fundraising efforts to help outfit the culinary classrooms at Kona’s future community college,” says Stephen Marquard, event director. “The Palamanui campus will have two, 1,200-square-foot kitchens and an 800-square-foot bakery.”

In addition to the fine food, attendees will enjoy 100 percent Kona coffee, handcrafted ales and fine wines. Also on tap is dancing on the lawn and under the stars to the jazz of the Bill Noble Trio.

Attendance is limited to 600. Tickets are again $75 per person and include all-you-can-eat-and-drink, a souvenir tasting glass and free self-parking. In addition, reserved tables of 10 are available for $1,000, tables for six are $600. Tickets can be charged by phone at 808-329-2522 and can be purchased at Kailua Candy Company, Clark Realty/Kona, Kona Wine Market, Café Pesto in Hilo and The Fairmont Orchid.

A special event rate of $239 is offered for Partial Ocean View accommodations including breakfast for two and self-parking at The Fairmont. Contact reservations for details at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Christmas at The Fairmont.” For info, visit

Event updates are posted on facebook. For details, phone 808-329-2522.

American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association

ACF is the largest, professional, non-profit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors and growers;

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