Culinary Event at the FairmontThings started off with a bang: We were invited to a special event at the Fairmont Hotel, coordinated by Hector's friend chef Patti Kimball. It was the Culinary & Wine Extravaganza Charity Event for the Kitchen Campaign Palamanui to buy equipment for the school. Hector arranged to have three of my cookbooks at the auction! On the way to the Fairmont Hotel we were treated to a landscape of black lava, decorated with personal messages written with small white rocks. We thought about bringing some lava rock home as souvenirs but were warned by Hector that the goddess Pele would bring bad luck to anybody who does this. As we drove up to the hotel it seemed strangely familiar. It took a few days to discover that Elliott and I had stayed there 18 years ago when it was called the Ritz. The hotel was decorated for Christmas which included this unusual gingerbread house. The first person we met turned out to be a colleague of mine I hadn't seen since she moved to Hawaii: The chairwoman of the event Jean W. Hull (pictured with Hector below, at breakfast the next morning) Hector describes Jean as the Grand Dame of Hawaii Culinary. She wrote the curriculum for the West Hawaii Culinary College and now is a consultant for major culinary events Out in the garden, chef students helped man the booths. After meeting our host Patti Kimball, we raced around to try to taste everything! Favorites were the ginger chicken salad, wild boar meatballs, and eggplant cake frosted with avocado. We met and were charmed by French born chef Fernand Guiot who opened a bakery in New York in 1980 and a few years later opened a bakery in Hawaii. He now teaches at the culinary school. It was his students who made the gingerbread house above and several other ones, under his supervision. The next morning we were treated to the brunch buffet and were blown away by chef Curtis Lea making omelets. Not only were the omelets made with Portuguese sausages, cheddar and spinach so good we had to go back for seconds, what impressed us still more was when he volunteered that having a metal prosthesis served as a great advantage. He never worries about burning or cutting his left hand or arm, and can run the metal device under boiling water to sterilize it. (Talk about silver linings!) Patti told us later that she and he were in culinary school together and the students all took up a collection to buy him a better prosthesis. Hector and Jean at Breakfast Before departing for Patti's home we walked to the hotel beach and learned that the white sand was imported from California. A few of the beaches in Hawaii are black sand, but there are also beaches of plain rock, lava rock, and white sand. The Fairmont is located in an area where there is a mixed landscape of all these forms and colors.
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