Sep 15, 2014
Ward Village and CookSpace Hawaii Serves Up Workshops on Traditional Island Cooking
In the evening, when night has fallen at Ward Village, a light shines from within CookSpace Hawaii's large transparent windows, creating a frame of what's within: a small and intimate kitchen with bowls of produce and seasonings, neatly set communal tables with different colored chairs, and owner Melanie Kosaka conversing with her guests.
"The fun thing about CookSpace is that you get to showcase people that are meaningful to you," Kosaka says. CookSpace demonstrations have featured classes such as the Modern Mai Tai with paired pupus, run by long-time friend Chef Ronnie Nasuti of Tiki's Bar and Grill and Tiki Bar and Grill's mixologist Alejandro Alvarado, and private classes on how to make hearty meals such as braised short ribs with Chef Jason Peel.
Kosaka has brought in chefs from the MW Restaurant, Sheraton Waikiki, and Vintage Cave, to name a few. She greets everyone with open arms and a warm smile, remembering the names of all her regulars and spotting and guessing—correctly—who's new. Soon, the room is filled with chatter of family and friends, foodies, and professional culinary artists awaiting the night's event. Some have been regulars since Kosaka first opened CookSpace in 2013 with partner Jason Kim, and others are new, checking out the place after hearing about it through word of mouth.
Ward Village and CookSpace Invite Beginners and Culinary Experts to Participate in Cooking Classes
"We're in a digital world where we lack hands-on experiences," says Kosaka, "so I wanted to do something that was a hands-on, interactive experience around food." CookSpace is a project she pursued after 20 years working in digital media, producing national and international public television culinary shows including Hawaii Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi and James Beard-award-winning The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter.
Food is something that we all share and can engage on whether we just like to eat or we're an avid cook. … Especially in Hawaii, it's in our DNA to share and gather around food, so it's nice to be able to do something that ups the food literacy.
From food enthusiasts to amateurs and professionals, all are welcomed to sign up for a class or tasting, and Kosaka loves seeing her guests interact with each other throughout the evening, saying, "Sometimes people come in as strangers sitting down at a table, and then by two classes later, you see like they've been old friends."
CookSpace offers weekly classes and public and private cooking events. Visit cookspacehawaii.com for a schedule of classes or to learn more.
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