Cooking For You And Teaching Too
Have you ever wondered, while slaving over a hot stove, what it would be like to have a private chef to do the work for you? Thanks to chef Kathi Alice Saks of Hawaii Private Chef, that once seemingly unattainable dream can be a reality.
Saks, originally from Long Island, N.Y., has always had a passion for cooking, but didn’t take it up as a profession until later in life.
“I started out as a surface pattern designer, designing fabrics mostly for the home market,” Saks says. “I changed careers at 40 years old and decided to combine my passion for cooking and travel becoming a chef on private yachts. After working on yachts for almost five years, I met NBA player Grant Hill, who asked me to work for him and his family.”
Now a renowned chef, Saks credits California Cooking Academy in San Francisco for providing her with diverse cooking skills. Now immersed in the world of food, Saks has 15 to 20 regular clients and also caters to travelers who are renting homes during their vacations here in the Islands. Companies hire her to cook for private functions, and she’s tapped to come up with elaborate menus for parties and weddings as well.
“My services are for groups of two to 100 people,” she says. “My business is service, therefore my services are very personal and private, and my events are normally held in someone’s home, a vacation home or rental.
“I cater all my menus to the specific needs and tastes of each and every client,” Saks adds. “I make recommendations and try to guide my clients, making their vision mine. I always take into account who I’m cooking for and any dietary restrictions.”
A design background also enables Saks to assist her clients when planning a party, whether aiding in decision-making when it comes to table design, floral arrangements, décor and cake design, or the overall flow of the event from start to finish.
“I have several specifically trained staff who I work closely with to execute the client’s every detail, and when in the kitchen I am inspired by using locally farmed products,” she says. “I like to take ingredients from different cultures to make unique flavor pairings. I also like to make healthy food taste great!”
A couple of her standout dishes are Thai Spiced Watermelon Soup and Mango Dill Chicken Salad. For Saks, elegance and creativity are key.
“It’s rewarding every time people go ‘wow’ when they taste my cooking, and when I get customers being referred to me from clients, it reaffirms that I have done a good job,” she says.
When she isn’t busy cooking for new and loyal clients, Saks offers cooking classes, ranging from classes for kids to classes that promote healthy eating. All instruction is tailored to specific groups of people, there are no preset classes.
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