Moriso Teraoka
100th Infantry Battalion

Kapiolani Community College

After retirement, Moriso’s interest in cooking leads him to take culinary courses at Kapiolani Community College. He earns a degree in culinary arts in 1989 but continues to take classes.

While taking English 100, he discovers a talent and love for creative writing. He subsequently joins the staff of Kapio, the college’s newspaper, becoming both a contributing writer and photographer.

[The following section was written by Moriso Teraoka and Mary Louise Haraguchi.]

Culinary Arts

Moriso began taking culinary courses at KCC’s Pensacola campus in 1985 because he was interested in cooking. As he looks back he said, “I always wanted to be a weekend cook for my family and I also wanted to keep myself occupied and be doing something creative.”

While he didn’t initially plan on completing the program, he enrolled as a full-time student. Moriso received an A.S. in Food Services and Hospitality in 1989 when the program was still at its Pensacola campus. He continues to audit courses because, from the very beginning, “the school grew on me.”

When he first enrolled, KCC didn’t offer a basic introductory course in its culinary program so Moriso had to take specialized courses such as baking and short order cooking. He enjoyed them so much, however, that he even repeated one of the baking courses.

Students in the program also had the opportunity to volunteer their services at conventions at the large hotels in Waikiki and other large school and university functions. He always looked forward to participating, not to prepare for a career, but for the pleasure of using the skills he had learned. KCC students did whatever was needed, like cutting vegetables in the kitchen and arranging dishes to be served.

One of his baking instructors, Ernst Hiltbrand, was a great influence on Moriso. He remembers Hiltbrand making the fanciest desserts. As an instructor he was also “meticulous and demanding.”

Chef Ernst Hiltbrand. Honolulu, Hawaii.
Chef Ernst Hiltbrand. Honolulu, Hawaii.

One of the projects Hiltbrand initiated was having his students make over twenty gingerbread houses to donate to such institutions as Shriners Hospital during the Christmas holidays. This tradition continues.

Hiltbrand also taught him how to make a perfect piecrust from scratch. Moriso still remembers his emphasis on the proper proportions of ingredients. The students had to weigh the dry ingredients like flour, sugar and shortening. They also were taught to learn from their mistakes, such as over-beating the ingredients or over-handling the pastry dough.

Another KCC baking instructor who was a great influence on Moriso was Walter Schiess. Born and raised in Switzerland, Schiess learned his skills as an apprentice to a Swiss bakeshop owner. He was an expert in handling chocolate, making ice carvings and concocting pulled sugar art.

Schiess believed that every student had to master the basics. One included selecting the right size of eggs, which could vary by three ounces. Another was the importance of using the proper type of flour, such as bread, cake and other types for noodles and pasta.

KCC chef instructors S. Wiegand and Walter Schiess. Honolulu, Hawaii.
MKCC chef instructors S. Wiegand and Walter Schiess. Honolulu, Hawaii.

After Schiess retired from KCC in 1992, he volunteered to help Moriso in the Cactus and Succulent Garden on weekends until his death in 1995.

Language Arts

While he was taking cooking classes, Moriso also began to take courses in the language arts department. One of the required courses for the A.S. degree was English 100, the introductory writing course.

He realized during the course of the semester that he had both a deep interest in creative writing and also what he describes as “the knack” for it.

His instructor Janice Cook recognized that interest and waived the course requirement for a research paper. She let him substitute a creative writing piece. After reading his story about his father and his gold watch, Cook encouraged Moriso to continue writing.

With that encouragement Moriso enrolled in other creative writing courses, including one taught by James Shimabukuro. At the end of the semester Moriso asked for suggestions for additional courses. Shimabukuro thought he might be interested in KCC’s journalism course which included publishing the college’s newspaper Kapio.

Moriso began as a reporter for the paper in 1991 and continued for almost ten years, writing commentaries, profiles, articles on legislative issues and school events. One of his more in-depth pieces was about his experiences as a soldier in World War II.

When the paper needed a photographer Moriso volunteered and ended up taking the basic and advanced photography courses. He takes particular pride in having won an award for news photography in a competition among 29 colleges. His subject was the Dalai Lama who was visiting Hawaii during the centennial anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. He remembers following the Dalai Lama all around the Iolani Palace grounds trying to take photos of him.

Moriso was also very fortunate to have Winifred Au as his journalism advisor. She instilled in him “the importance of a journalist having to be objective and not being opinionated, to be fair and to always present both sides of the story.”

After Mrs. Au retired in 2001, Moriso decided to again focus on his own creative writing and resumed taking writing courses at KCC. His instructors included Judith Kirkpatrick, Dennis Kawaharada, Gail Harada and Lisa Kanae.

Taking these courses prompted Moriso to write even more about his “small kid days” growing up in Wainaku and his parents’ values and sacrifices.

He remembers one of Lisa Kanae’s classes in particular where he happened to pick up a book written by Juliet Kono. Her collection of stories included one about the difficult lives of the immigrant women who toiled in the cane fields. This story triggered his own recollections of his hoe hana days in the cane fields after he turned twelve.

As he would later write in a memoir, his father would wait for him to come home at the end of the day and sharpen his hoe. His father never said a word but in retrospect Moriso realizes that in helping him with his hoe he was acknowledging the hardships his son faced working in the cane fields.

When Moriso began writing these stories about his childhood, he was also thinking about his 100th/442nd veteran friends who had a similar upbringing in plantation camps. He hoped that ultimately they would share their own experiences as many of them were also writing articles for their quarterly Go For Broke Bulletin.

Even now veterans approach Moriso to express their appreciation for sharing his childhood stories.

"The text for this section was written by Moriso Teraoka and Mary Louise Haraguchi. Photographs courtesy of Moriso Teraoka.

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