By Dani Douglass
Candes Gentry, BS ’98, MBA ’04, wears a lot of hats. The Shidler College alumna is a realtor, endurance athlete, former Miss Hawaii (1999), recording artist and philanthropist. Since 2007, she has funded the Candes Meijide Gentry Endowed Scholarship at Shidler College for aspiring entrepreneurs. As a scholarship recipient herself, Gentry sees her education as the greatest gift she was given by her parents and the Miss Hawaii Scholarship Program.
Candes Gentry, BS ‘98, MBA ‘04, is a college alumna and scholarship donor. Photo by Tracy Wright Corvo.
“There is no greater gift than the ability to pay your gratitude forward and impact someone’s life in a positive way,” she said. “To actually help others meet their financial needs so that they can focus on their primary task – their education – and get to meet the recipient of that gift year after year has been immensely rewarding.”
Among her lengthy list of professional and entrepreneurial endeavors, one of her most meaningful roles is mother to her and her partner, Steve Shropshire’s 9-year-old son, Poet. She can now add published author to her list of accomplishments and this one, which she refers to as a “passion project,” is shared with her son. Poet co-authored Eat Pono with his mother and provided the inspiration with his inquisitive questions about food sourcing and nutrition.
“In many ways, Poet is an extraordinary child but he is also a normal keiki when it comes to his picky palate as he develops his understanding of food and taste profiles,” Gentry said. “His tastes have evolved since the beginning of this journey. He has discovered that he doesn’t like tomatoes, but he has grown more tolerant of other types of vegetables and still loves to try new and exotic fruits.”
Gentry's 9-year-old son, Poet, was the inspiration for Eat Pono.
The book is 140-pages of easy and nutritionally-packed, kid-approved dishes, categorized under breakfast recipes, smoothies, bowls, snacks, wholesome meals, lite bites, sweets, juices and more. There is also a chapter on food sourcing and oils, nuts and seeds recommendations. The book is self-published under Gentry’s label, Poetic Productions.
Poet’s favorite recipe to make himself is Poet’s Famous Healthy Chocolate Mousse and his favorite mom-prepared recipe is Gluten Free Banana Bread. Mother and son have a simple message they hope resonates with readers. “Food is fuel and our mind, body and spirit deserve the best that we can offer,” Gentry says. “By eating healthy, we are paying our health forward and giving ourselves a fighting chance at staying healthy and vibrant throughout our lives.”
The duo also encourages these simple lifestyle tips to thrive in 2022:
- Use a reusable water bottle and shopping bag
- Source locally
- Buy staples in bulk
- Plant a garden
- Incorporate plant-based meals
- Simple and healthy menu planning
- Learn to compost and repurpose food waste to reduce greenhouse emissions like methane
- Exercise daily for optimal mind and body health
Eat Pono is now available in a variety of formats.
In Gentry’s household, nutrition is a family affair. Shropshire is a certified organic farmer with agricultural land on Hawai’i Island. The family also has family night meals (Baja Burritos and Hot Pot are regular choices on these nights) when Gentry’s sister, nieces and mother come over to talk over dinner and catch up with one another.
Gentry reflects on her time as an undergraduate at the School of Travel Industry Management and a graduate student at Shidler College fondly. “My time at Shidler helped me accomplish most goals I have set for myself,” she says. “Specifically, I have to sometimes make comprises in order to meet deadlines and to keep pushing when tasks seem unsurmountable. Being able to prioritize and tackle them one at a time is more effective.”
“Shidler has also given me one of the greatest gifts of all, the ability to give back. Being able to share my time, talents and support for our next generation of community leaders has given me a great deal of confidence that my contributions are not only important, but valued.”
Eat Pono is available on Apple Books, Amazon, at Barnes & Noble. You can also follow @eatpono on Instagram for vibrant inspiration, healthy tips and more.