- With the imu, it's a really long process.
You have to go get your pig.
You gotta dig the pit.
You gotta set up the imu.
You gotta light the fire.
Everything goes in the imu and gets closed up.
Eight hours later we open it.
The main thing that we cook in it is pig, but you can really put anything in it.
I mean, traditionally, Hawaiians ate dog, Hawaiians ate fish, Hawaiians ate pig.
You can even throw in a pot of rice pudding.
(laughs) That's what my grandma likes to do.
(upbeat music) Aloha, my name is Kala Domingo.
I'm from Ka'a'awa, here on this island of O'ahu.
I am 19 years old.
I started cooking, I would say around 11 or 12 years old.
We are headed to the pig farm.
We're gonna go pick up some pigs that we're gonna put in the imu today.
I am a student at Kapi'olani Community College.
I am also a crew member for my father for his catering business called Nui Kealoha.
I'm in culinary school because I was interested in formal training in food, but also because I wanna support my dad in many ways too.
- In our family setting, everyone will just participate in whatever I'm doing, or whatever mom is doing, Kala, you know, it's a lot of weight on his shoulder.
(pop music) - The people participating in the imu today is a group called Ko'olau Aina Momona and they're a summer program that my mom is one of the leaders for.
Part of the curriculum is learning about how to make food and the purpose of them being involved is for the kids to have food that they prepared over the summer, so they don't have to buy Lunchables or whatever.
- [Kealoha] Over the years I've come to feel like the process is the important part to teach my children.
I feel fortunate that I was brought up around it, so it's important for me to share it with my kids.
- [Kala] I do feel a great responsibility to perpetuate culture.
As a young Hawaiian especially, that's one of my sole duties.
As someone who was given these opportunities to be raised in a foundation of Hawaiian culture, I owe the people who raised me carry that knowledge on.
(xylophone music) (plant slicing) - [Kealoha] Let's just double check the pig.
Make sure it's Ma'ema'e.
- In a lot of ways I feel like he's not pressuring me to become a chef, but whether I like it or not, I'm kind of his right-hand man.
- [Kealoha] Let's check out the filets first.
Kala, sometimes I have high expectations for him.
Of course I want him to be better than I am.
I want him to be way better than I am.
- [Kealoha] It's cool already.
- [Kala] Yeah, but I need to dust it off How am I going to dust it off?
- I said it's cool already.
Calm down, it's cool.
There's a thing called Kuleana.
Loosely, it means responsibility.
Before you do that, grab the tea leaf.
Kuleana is something that you don't always choose.
A lot of times it chooses you.
Dust them off.
(leaves dusting) Cooking is somewhat of a family kuleana.
It's in our DNA.
- [Kealoha] Come on.
Come on everybody.
Pass this way.
Pass this way.
- [Kala] It's interesting because you have a multi-generational environment.
The dads are teaching the sons and they're learning alongside each other.
- [Man] (mumbles) In the circle.
Put the shoulder in the hotspot.
Shoulder in the hotspot.
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go.
- [Kala] Everbody has a different kuleana, a different responsibility.
Not only the actual process of the imu requires a lot of hands, but it's also that concept of Laulima, which is interpreted as working together in coordination.
That's something that's really central in Hawaiian philosophy.
(tranquil music) (tranquil music) - [Kealoha] Let's circle up around the imu you guys.
- [Man] Okay circle up!
- [Kealoha] Good to see all of our 'Ohana here today.
Mahalo again to everyone who put their Mana into this imu.
Now is the big unveiling.
- [Kala] In Hawaiian culture, one of the purposes of food was to bring you closer to the gods.
Food was thought of as, we called it Kino Lau, which is many bodies, or many forms.
Edible food especially was something that you partake of them, so when you have that in mind, that this food that I'm about to prepare and partake in is a Kino Lau, you have that much more reverence for it.
(upbeat music) - [Kealoha] You know food is much more than something you put into your mouth.
And you know, when we prepare food, it's really about putting your mana, or your good energy into that food and sharing that energy.
Sharing that aloha.
(upbeat music) It adds like a sixth layer to what you're preparing.
It brings back a memory, but if it has a inner connection, then it tells a story.
- Mom's the real taster.
- [Woman] That's the one I saw.
(laughing) - That one was terrible.
- [Kealoha] I really am not worried about our next generation, because they have so much more than I did.
You know, my wife and I, we've done everything we can to bring up our kids surrounded in a community that lends to cultural health.
- I have many classmates that they moved to America for college and they never come back.
But what is that doing to help our people?
I feel like I have a responsibility to perpetuate food culture and revitalizing indigenous food in Hawaii.
And, you know, being a chef is a great career.
(upbeat music) (laughs) Back home we do four or five hundred people.
Catering is just me and him.
- [Kealoha] I don't see very many checks on there.
- [Kala] It's kind of a push and pull between us.
- Hold up on that batch.
You go get one.
You get one batch out already because right now it's 12:09.
Let's get it out on a table.
- [Kala] Sure.
- [Kealoha] Plattered.
- [Kala] Okay.