Catering Much More Than Food
Yaneth Leialoha specializes in putting together luaus, where the aroma of food wafting from her six-foot grill beckons hungry guests.
Her catering and event-planning company Island Luau offers a menu of about 50 items, such as appetizers ranging from meat sticks to fruit and vegetable platters.
Hungry guests graze on a variety of dishes including laulau, chicken long rice, pulled pork, teriyaki chicken, haupia cake, brownies and cheesecakes. The most popular dishes include Huli-Huli chicken and coconut rice.
“We’re cooking right there in front of them,” says Leialoha. “It’s like we become a part of their family.”
Leialoha’s executive chef Kathryn Krohn, who previously owned a pasta business and an oyster bar, handles the grill on-site.
“It brings them together to see where their foods are coming from,” says Krohn.
Leialoha gushes about her team of 15 staffers, who make it possible to have parties for 10 to more than 700 people.
Leialoha’s forte is table decorations, for which she uses fresh flowers, plants, other adornments and music to create an atmosphere of aloha.
“We want to make it look good,” says Leialoha. “People tend to take lots of pictures. We also change the decorations so that the clients will see some different variations each time they hire us.”
“It’s from the beautiful heart that she has,” says Krohn.
Leialoha started her business two years ago, and since then the company has branched out to offer patriotic, sports, baby shower, Valentine’s, Mexican, Italian and holiday themes.
Ten years ago she coordinated her husband’s mandatory military picnic at Bellows Beach for 400 people.
During that picnic, she was refilling the food when someone asked her to cater a retirement party. Her calendar was soon filled with military events, baby showers, baby luaus, birthdays, graduation parties and corporate functions. Leialoha, a former banquet and catering manager who loves surfing and hiking, says that most of her catering events are outdoors.
The Kailua resident acknowledges the support of her clients, vendors, staff, friends and family, especially husband Frank, who is in the Navy, and their children, 16-year-old Iniki, 12-year-old Ikaika, 9-year-old Makoa and 2 year-old Mahealani.
Now she’s again looking forward to getting donations to compete in this year’s national Great American Bake Sale contest, as she won first place for Most Patriotic in the United States in 2009 and donated $800 in proceeds to the nonprofit organization Share Our Strength, which is dedicated to ending childhood hunger.
For more information, call 389-5380 or log on to www.islandluauevents.com .
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