Kapiolani Community College’s culinary program recently opened their Lē’ahi Concept Kitchen, in the former Nobu space in the Waikiki Parc Hotel. At the grand opening, everyone got a bag of KCC’s butter mochi crisps, and my instagram of it made the public go wild. What a concept, right? Everyone wanted to know where to get it.
The crisps were created by Lauren Tamamoto of KCC’s Culinary Innovation Center. The new center has state-of-the art equipment that lets teachers and students think out of the box and play with their food in a whole new way. Tamamoto is no stranger to innovative food products, as she was once a food scientist for Frito-Lay.
Her mom has a good butter mochi recipe, and she wanted to create something new that was unique to Hawaii. After much trial and error, Tamamoto developed a product that was ready to market. The bags go for $5 each and are sold at KCC’s cafeteria. Call ahead, though, as they don’t produce this every day.
The crisps aren’t super buttery, since they’re dehydrated shadows of the original; they have a delicate crunch and taste a lot like the Japanese Yoku Moku cigar cookies. They’re definitely fun to eat, like astronaut ice cream (which is another thing they can make at the Culinary Innovation Center).
Tamamoto showed me some other experiments she’s working on. Some are just ideas, but others may actually be for sale soon.
Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Rd.