Speeding Up the Process

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November 8, 2021
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With one step on a foot pedal, 64 ounces of freshly-prepared beef stew pours from a spout into an awaiting bag – all set to be sealed, chilled, and frozen.

It’s remarkable. In just a few easy steps, eight meals’ worth of nutrition is ready in a sous vide bag that only needs to be microwaved or placed in boiling water before serving.

Thanks to the Full Calabash Fund, a grant through the Kohala Center, Lanakila Kitchen partnered with Kapiolani Community College to learn to use this efficient packaging system that uses air pressure to dispense food into easily portioned sizes.  

The funds made it possible for Lanakila Kitchen staff to learn how to use the machinery under the tutelage of a KCC instructor, develop the recipes alongside KCC students, utilize the on-campus machines, and purchase the necessary packaging to produce the final products.

The 1,500 bags of ulu chowder, turkey enchilada, and beef stew that Lanakila Kitchen and KCC staff prepared are going to The Pantry, a Kalihi grocery store-style food pantry for families and individuals experiencing food insecurity. The frozen entrees provide bountiful nutrition, made using fresh ingredients, and only need to be quickly reheated before enjoyed. It’s a perfect way for busy families to savor a delicious meal together without having to worry about a cooking extravaganza!

“This new method will be perfect for emergency food distribution,” said Reid Yasunaga, Director of Food Service at Lanakila Kitchen. With a quick packaging time and easy process, it would enable faster meal production when facing events like natural disasters or other potential shutdowns. As long as seniors and other meal recipients have a microwave or boiling water, they would be able to consume healthy, hearty entrees, even if volunteers are unable to make it to their door for a few days.  

We’re so excited for the possibilities this new experience has opened up for Lanakila Kitchen! It’s going to make a world of a difference in our ability to keep our island fed, especially in times of food insecurity or other calamities.  

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A social enterprise of Lanakila Pacific, Lanakila Kitchen provides job opportunities for individuals with disabilities and cooks up delicious meals and treats for catering, retailers, and Lanakila Meals on Wheels seniors. With help from our supporters, hundreds have received job training and meaningful employment.

If you are interested in donating to support social enterprises like Lanakila Kitchen, click here.