A Delicious Exploration of Sustainable Food at Punahou

– By Yolanda Lau ’98 P’30 P’32

For seven years, I’ve volunteered on the Parent Enrichment Committee (PEC), organizing talks and events featuring our dedicated, talented and inspiring faculty and staff. This month’s “A Sustainable Food Future” gathering, where I served as the moderator, was a highlight. Chef and Educator Mark Noguchi, Director of Sustainability Debbie Millikan, and Garden Educator Eliza Lathrop shared their insights on Punahou’s efforts to create a sustainable food culture through gardening, culinary education and more.

As guests arrived, they savored locally grown fruits, kalo poke, caramel cuts, and chichi dango – a delicious introduction to sustainable cuisine and a taste of Punahou memories. Eliza, Debbie, and Chef Noguchi himself, affectionately known as “Chef Gooch,” led us in multiple activities to share our own food stories, think about our own food values, and prioritize what values we should focus on at Punahou.

A student’s question about starting a gardening club sparked a particularly heartwarming moment. The speakers enthusiastically offered support and emphasized the power of student action.

Midway through the talk, attendees were surprised with a delectable serving of Chef Gooch’s ‘ulu chowder and rice. Parents were thrilled to finally taste the ‘ulu chowder that their K – 5 children had been served at school! This dish, much needed as this talk was held during dinner time, highlighted the school’s commitment to incorporating sustainable, locally grown ingredients into its menu.

The evening left everyone inspired. We learned about Punahou’s dedication to a sustainable food future not just within the school, but beyond. We left equipped with ideas to support these efforts at home.

The PEC is looking for passionate volunteers! Help us plan engaging events, suggest topics and share your feedback. By joining, you can contribute your voice and perspective and partner with the school in meaningful ways. Join me on the PEC and help enrich the Punahou parent community!

The next PFA Monthly Gathering and Teacher Talk, “Performing Arts at Punahou” on Friday, April 12 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. is in the President’s Pavilion. Registration can be found here. 

New members are welcome to join us at the next Parent Enrichment Committee (PEC) meetings. For more information, contact parentenrichment@pfa.punahou.edu

Monday, April 8 
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Sullivan Boardroom
Light breakfast served

Monday, May 6
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sullivan Boardroom Room
Light lunch served

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