Palamanui Palate — with chef Paul Heerlein

  • Zachary Reid, center, when he was a student in the culinary arts program, which at the time was located in Kealakekua, now at the Hawaii CC - Palamanui campus. Courtesy photo

  • Confit turkey leg and roasted beet & grain salad. Courtesy photo

About a year ago, a gentleman approached me at a dinner party and introduced himself as Randy Reid, the father of Zachary Reid. Zach graduated from the Hawai‘i Community College – Palamanui Culinary Arts program in 2006 when the program was still in Kealakekua.

Randy was extremely pleased and wanted to thank everybody for doing so much to help is son succeed in the Culinary Arts profession. It was one of those truly rewarding moments as a teacher, hearing how you have positively affected a student’s life.

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Later, I did a little research and then reconnected with Zach a few weeks ago on Facebook, and wow: Zach has truly reached amazing heights since earning his associate degree with us. Zach is currently owner and operator of Froth & Forage, a farm-to-table restaurant outside Anchorage, Alaska. According to a New York Times article about Froth & Forage, Zach is making the case for using local ingredients in Alaska’s difficult climate “by serving up inventive comfort food that often pops with color and flavor.” You should really read the article. Search the internet for “Froth & Forage New York Times,” and you’ll find it.

What else has Zach accomplished since graduation? Here are some highlights:

• Earned his bachelor’s degree in restaurant and hospitality management from the New England Culinary Institute.

• Won the 2012 Vermont Chef of the Year from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and was named one of the Top 5 Chefs in New England, for his restaurant Brown’s Market Bistro, in Groton, Vt.

• Gained experience at high-end luxury resorts such as the Four Seasons Hualalai, Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, and the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii.

• Held several positions as Executive Chef managing large-scale operations, including at Orso Restaurant in Anchorage, the Grande Denali Lodge and Denali Bluffs Hotel in Denali, Alaska, and Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington.

• Won numerous awards with Froth & Forage, including best donuts in Alaska and best small places to eat in Alaska.

Zach we are very proud of all your accomplishments and wish you success in all your future endeavors! I have one small favor: On your next visit to Kona, can you please come by and talk story to the next generation of cooks and chefs? Perhaps your experiences will help inspire tomorrow’s graduates to achieve excellence and create a wonderful life.

Zach was kind enough to share his recipe for Confit Turkey Leg and Roasted Beet & Grain Salad. Enjoy!

Confit Turkey Leg and Roasted Beet & Grain Salad

Yield: 4 Each

Confit Turkey Leg:

Ingredients:

• 12 tablespoons salt

• 6 cloves garlic, smashed

• 1 shallot, peeled and sliced

• 6 sprigs thyme

• Coarsely ground black pepper

• 4 Turkey legs

• About 12 cups duck fat

Preparation:

1. Sprinkle 6 tablespoon of salt in the bottom of a dish or plastic container large enough to hold the turkey legs in a single layer. Evenly scatter half the garlic, shallots, and thyme in the container. Arrange the legs, skin-side up, over the salt mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining salt, garlic, shallots, and thyme and a little pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

2. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Melt the duck fat in a large saucepan. Brush the salt and seasonings off the turkey legs. Arrange the pieces in a single snug layer in a high-sided baking pan, Pour the melted fat over the duck (the turkey legs should be covered by fat) and place the confit in the oven. Cook the confit slowly at a very slow simmer — just an occasional bubble — until the legs are tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, 2-3 hours. Remove the confit from the oven. Cool and store the duck in the fat. (The confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)

3. remove turkey legs from fat carefully the meat should want to fall off the bone, place in oven at 375 to crisp skin or cool and save.

Note: The duck fat can be strained, cooled and reused.

Beet Salad:

Ingredients:

• 4 oz. greens salad mix

• 8 oz. roasted or pickled beets

• 8 oz. roasted baby potatoes

• 1/2 red onion thinly sliced

• ½ fennel bulb shaved

• ½ cup cooked grains (couscous or barley work well)

• 4 oz. fresh goat cheese (crumbled)

• 1 Tbsp truffle oil

• 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

• Salt- to taste

• Fresh Cracked pepper – to taste

Procedure:

1. Combine all ingredients; toss and serve adjust seasoning as necessary.

SMALL BITES

• Mahalo to the chefs, vendors, auction committee, volunteers, King Kamehameha Hotel and staff for all your support of the 30th Annual Christmas with the Chef’s event held last month. This event has helped countless students in West Hawaii receive a culinary arts education. A big mahalo to Jean Hull for starting this event 30 years ago! Mark your calendars for the 2019 Christmas with the Chefs slated for Dec. 7 at the King Kamehameha Hotel.

• On January 16, Robynne Maii, owner of Fete in Honolulu’s Chinatown, will perform a lecture and cooking demonstration. These classes sponsored by the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation (HCEF) enhance and add additional value to the students educational experience at Palamanui. Fete has won numerous awards, and the menu looks terrific. Find them online at fetehawaii.com, or better yet, go out and dine there next time you’re in Honolulu.

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• The Culinary Arts program at Hawai‘i CC – Palamanui hosts luncheons on several Fridays during the academic year. We invite you to enjoy our campus and the cuisine prepared by our students. Get on our email list to receive menus and to make reservations. Email Cathy Harlan at charlan@hawaii.edu.

Paul Heerlein, CCE, CCC is an associate professor of Culinary Arts at Hawai‘i Community College – Palamanui in Kona and on the board of the American Culinary Federation Kona-Kohala Chefs Association.

  1. kohalak January 1, 2019 12:44 am

    Nice story, but man, the preparation in the recipe is hard to follow. And where do you get that much duck fat in Hawaii?


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