Sean Austin & Austin Manipon-Hamad

Graduating Students

Why Choose College; A Student’s Perspective 

Culinary Graduating Students

Culinary students at KCC become a team, and in some senses, a family. No matter where we’re from, we’re all in this together. We depend on each other. There’s intensity, there’s stress, but at the end of the day we’re nourishing and feeding people, and that’s perhaps one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. Imagine the feeling you get when you cook for your grandmother and she loves every bite!

KCC’s Culinary Program is known statewide by the best in our field. We learn everything from keeping our kitchen in working order to running our own restaurant, and it’s vigorous. You have to earn your place. The first two years are rough, and I remember that I (Sean) wanted to quit. But each semester I chose to continue, and through the instruction of my chefs, I learned to keep trying until I achieved success. In fact, I left the Big Island, my home for over 20 years, to attend the culinary program at KCC with no personal contacts on the island of Kaua’i. I did so because every mentor I had on the Big Island encouraged me to move forward at KCC.

Our favorite part of culinary is giving what we’ve created back to the community. This year, we served people at the Salvation Army for Thanksgiving. We cooked for people who were needy, some of whom who didn’t know what Thanksgiving was, and in that moment, all of the stress of preparing that much food was worth it. That, we believe, is the heart of cooking itself.

As aspiring Chefs, we’re all on the same level. We’re a team. No cook is an island when you have a plate presentation that features four separate contributions from four different stations. It must all come together as one.

Culinary can be a challenge because it pushes you every day. But once you accept that fact, it’s just a matter of trying again each day and giving it your all. For us, it is inherent; it is the only way. That’s why we do it.