Series II: School Lunch - Hawaii's Farm to School Initiative

April 25, 2017 | 6pm - 9pm | THE MODERN HONOLULU

We learn, share, and are inspired by the many thoughtful conversations that happen over the dining table. From sparking new approaches to old challenges, finding the middle ground on opposing issues, to taking action in your neighborhood, HAF hopes to engage and empower communities on food, agriculture and change with EAT THINK DRINK: School Lunch - Hawaii’s Farm to School Initiative.

The evening kicks-off with an insightful discussion on agricultural and institutional strategies regarding food offerings in schools from chefs, educators, and policymakers.  What are the challenges and opportunities created by recent policy changes to farm to school agricultural procurement?  How do school lunch trays move from frozen, prepared food to fresh, locally sourced ingredients while addressing issues of food safety, consistent supply and capacity of cafeteria staff to prepare fresh food, when labor and training is tight?  School Lunch will bring leaders from Hawaii, as well as from other communities, together to share the real opportunities and challenges of implementing farm to school initiatives.  

Enjoy dishes prepared by four of Hawaii's most innovative and inspiring chefs who will tell their own story on a plate.  Dishes will be paired with an assortment of beverages by Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits.

Featured Speakers

Ann Cooper, Chef Ann Foundation and The Lunch Box

Ann Cooper is a celebrated author, chef, educator and enduring advocate of better food for all children. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Ann has been a chef for more than 30 years, with over 15 of those in school food programs. She currently serves as the director of nutrition services for the Boulder Valley School District. Known as the Renegade Lunch Lady, Ann has been honored by The National Resources Defense Council, selected as a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow, and awarded an honorary doctorate from SUNY Cobleskill for her work on sustainable agriculture. In 2009, Ann founded the nonprofit Chef Ann Foundation to focus on solutions to the school food crisis. CAF's pivotal project is The Lunch Box – a web portal that provides free and accessible tools, recipes and resources to support schools transitioning to scratch-cooked meals made with whole, healthy food.

Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, State of Hawaii

Lieutenant Governor Shan S. Tsutsui became the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaii, through succession, at the end of 2012 and was elected to a full-term of office in November 2014. Tsutsui serves as a member of the Committee on State Strategies on International Affairs for the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association (NLGA), as well as Chair of the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association (DLGA).

His current initiatives and programs include the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health (R.E.A.C.H.) initiative to support after-school programs for public middle/intermediate school students; Sports Development Initiative to develop a thriving sports industry at the professional, amateur and youth levels; Asia-Pacific Relations; Farm to School Initiative to increase the purchase and consumption of locally grown foods in public schools; and Aerospace States Commission, among others.

JuliAnna Arnett, USDA Food and Nutrition Service

JuliAnna Arnett joined the USDA in 2017 as the Farm to School Regional Lead for the Western Regional Office. Prior to coming onboard with the USDA, JuliAnna worked for nearly 10 years helping to bridge the gap between rural farmers and urban eaters. In her most recent role, she designed and led a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded nutrition standards intervention at the County of San Diego. She worked with food services and decision-makers to develop guidelines to help shift the County’s more than $10 million in annual food purchases towards healthier, less processed, and more sustainable options. 

JuliAnna also played an active leadership role in a number of obesity prevention and food systems initiatives including the California Food Policy Council, California Farm to School Network, and California Health Care Without Harm Healthy Food in Healthcare Team. Prior to launching her professional career, JuliAnna served nonprofits across the U.S. as an AmeriCorps  volunteer. She attributes much of her personal and professional passion to the expansion of community food systems to her experience seeing these issues support community development and connectivity. 

Greg Christian, Beyond Green: Sustainable Food Partners

Greg Christian is a highly successful consultant, chef, author, and entrepreneur offering solutions to help transform food service into a more sustainable entity. Greg’s efforts as founder and developer of the Organic School Project (OSP) have been recognized on both local and national levels. His involvement with the Organic School Project and strong background in the food service sector led him to launch Beyond Green: Sustainable Food Partners, a sustainability consulting firm, which provides organizations in the food service industry with in-house dining services, sustainable solutions, implementation strategies, and the expertise to adopt sustainable operations.

Dexter Kishida, State of Hawaii - Department of Education

Dexter Kishida joined the Hawaii Department of Education as a School Food Services Supervisor in 2012.  Prior to joining the Department, he connected children to their food as a Food Service Director and Farm to School, School Food Coordinator.  As a Cafeteria Manager, he created a successful food service program that provided healthy, fresh options to children.  Providing a 10 foot salad bar allowed students to ‘play with their food’ while making healthy decisions and creating positive lifelong eating habits.  


Featured Chefs

Randy Bangloy, Eating House 1849 - Kapolei Commons, Honolulu, HI

Chef Randy Bangloy was born and raised on Oahu.  Watching his parents in the kitchen taught him to be passionate about what he would do in life and it was then, at an early age, he was driven to one day become a chef. After attending Leeward Community College and graduating with a Culinary Degree, Chef Randy went to work for Roy’s and within the nine years vested, he worked his way from dishwasher all the way to sous chef.  Although Chef Randy will be moving restaurants his title will stay the same, sous chef at Eating House 1849 at Kapolei Commons.

Ronnie Nasuti, TIki's Grill & Bar, Honolulu, HI

Chef Ronnie Nasuti is the Executive Chef of Tiki's Grill & Bar and has been working in restaurants since the age of thirteen, where he started off as a dishwasher in Boston.  At seventeen, Nasuti became a kitchen manager at a Classical Northern Italian restaurant where he assisted the chef/owner on a daily basis while continuing to hone his craft.  After four years of culinary arts at the high school level and further developing his culinary skills at the Les Dames Escoffier Society, Nasuti completed a culinary apprenticeship at the Coply Plaza Hotel.

Moving to Hawaii at the age of twenty, Chef Ronnie worked at Horatios (previously Kincaid’s) wearing various hats in a very regimented, high volume kitchen.  Nasuti was eager to work with Chef Roy Yamaguchi and his new dining concept, so he began at Roy’s Park Bistro in Waikiki where he learned every station and even did 24-hour room service and pastry before transferring to the flagship restaurant in Hawaii Kai, where he trained further under Chef/Founder Roy Yamaguchi, Corporate Chef/Partner Gordon Hopkins and Corporate Chef Hawaii, Jacqueline Lau. Nasuti later transferred to Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill as sous chef before returning to Roy’s Hawaii Kai as executive sous chef, where he has also held the title of executive chef for a decade before moving to Tiki's Grill & Bar.

Keith Pajinag, THE MODERN HONOLULU, Honolulu, HI

Keith Pajinag is the executive chef of THE MODERN HONOLULU and was part of the team that opened the first Waikiki luxury lifestyle hotel in 2010.  He has over ten years of culinary experience in both Alaska and Hawaii.  As the executive chef and owner of Breakwater Hotel in Juneau, he was known for creating seasonal menus with a focus on sustainability and farm-to-table service.  As an owner, Pajing was also responsible for marketing and advertising for the restaurant, controlling room service, and private parties.  In 2008, Pajinag moved on to open ART Restaurant & Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle under Chef Kerry Sear.

With his many years of professional experience in both culinary and management, Pajinag’s execution is flawless and in line with the AAA Four Diamond rating of THE MODERN HONOLULU.

Matt Young, Hula Grill Waikiki, Honolulu, HI

Chef Matt Young has been in the kitchen helping his mother prepare meals for as long as he can remember. At the age of fourteen, Chef Matt began working in a pizza shop, and since then has only worked in the restaurant industry.  Young learned his passion lie in the kitchen, so he packed his things and headed to Providence to attend Johnson and Wales.  After graduating and working at several notable hotels on the mainland, Chef Matt moved to Hawaii and began working for Duke’s Waikiki. Chef Matt went on to join the Hula Grill Waikiki culinary team in 2011, with hopes to foster the farm-to-table movement, focusing on local products and sustainable practices.

Young finds his job to be very rewarding, as his dishes not only bring smiles to his guests faces, but also help his guests to create memories. Together, with the help of Chef Matt, Hula Grill Waikiki is able to participate in many community outreach programs including the ‘AINA in Schools: Kokua Hawaii Foundation.