Culinary program will get Diamond Head site
A restaurant with sweeping views from the ocean off Waikiki to the mountains of Tantalus will be a centerpiece of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific being planned on the slopes of Diamond Head.
The new building will house a bachelor's degree program in culinary management to be offered by Kapiolani Community College and the University of Hawaii at West Oahu, as well as short-term training programs for working chefs and the public.
It's hoped the real world experience of the restaurant and cocktail lounge will complement classroom training and provide a source of income to offset the costs for the program.
The project, originally estimated to cost between $15 million and $25 million, will be on the site of the old Cannon Club.
UH is spending about $3.6 million in state and federal funds for the design, planning and permitting of the 42,900-square-foot structure, which will include classrooms, cooking labs, an amphitheater lecture hall and gardens.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime project," said David Akinaka, project architect with Ferraro Choi and Associates. "Very few buildings will ever be allowed to be built on Diamond Head."
In August, UH will publicly launch a major fundraising campaign, which includes a goal of raising $14.5 million in private funds to build the institute.
About $1.9 million in donations for the culinary institute have been secured so far, said John Morton, UH vice president for community colleges.
The plan is to build the institute with private funds, if possible, Morton said.
"It's just wonderful to see that Hawaii is just blooming with restaurants and the food service industry," said Conrad Nonaka, the director of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific. "But the need for management is going to become critical."
Management degrees in culinary arts are offered at private schools, most notably the Culinary Institute of America, Nonaka said. But few public universities offer that kind of training.
Hawaii could become a destination for culinary education, Morton said. He sees the institute not only local students, but also students from Asia and the mainland.
Carol Hoshiko, the dean of the Culinary, Hospitality and College Advancement program at Kapiolani Community College, said she expects about 200 to 250 students to enroll in the program once the building is completed.
If the money can be raised and permits approved, construction could begin in 2009 and the building completed by 2011.
Architects Ferraro Choy and Associates were selected to design the building. Hoshiko said they have been talking with instructors, administrators and the Diamond Head Citizens Advisory Committee about the design of the building.
Because the structure is in the Diamond Head Monument, there are restrictions on what can be built.
The height cannot exceed 25 feet, the height of the old Cannon Club building.
"I don't think we want a 'look at me' building," Akinaka said.
The project will have to balance the need for space with a need to keep the design low key, he said.
UH also plans to keep the community informed about the project, Hoshiko said.
The first sketches of what the new building may look like will likely be completed in August and unveiled for community feedback.