Chef Chai Chaowasaree’s (known as Chef Chai) passion for the regional cuisine of Hawai’i extends far beyond his kitchen. He co-founded Hawaii Islands Chefs with a mission to provide the world with the best of Hawai’i’s diverse culinary resources from the culture of the people and the bounty of the land and sea.
Chef Chai is best known for fresh ingredients and a taste of the islands. His personal culinary style fuses fresh Hawai’ian ingredients with the flavors of Asia, embodying the cultural diversity of the Hawai’ian Islands. As owner and chef of Singha Thai Cuisine in Waikiki and Chef Chai at Pacifica Honolulu, he perennially receives recognition as one of the region’s preeminent chefs. Seeking out new ingredients from Oahu farmers markets and Honolulu’s Chinatown serves as a reminder of his childhood in Bangkok scouring for ingredients for his family’s popular restaurant.
And now he’s bringing his signature flavors to 30,000 feet as Hawaiian Airlines’ new executive chef, crafting the in-flight first- and economy-class menus and managing more than 20 kitchens worldwide.
“I’m excited about the challenge of offering customers a new selection of menus that will make the flying experience to and from Hawai’i even more enjoyable,” said the award-winning chef.
Safe to say, travelers are excited, too.
What three go-to ingredients are always in your home kitchen?
Garlic, sambal chili and shoyu (soy sauce) — with these three key ingredients, you can create endless seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes.
What’s your favorite season for cooking, and why?
I would definitely say summer, because all of the fruits and vegetables are in season and taste the absolute best. Local tomatoes are so juicy and flavorful, and the pineapple is the sweetest. There is also nothing like biting into fresh ahi (my favorite fish), and in the summer prices are reasonable.
Aside from your current position, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
Honestly, I’ve loved all my jobs. I always count my blessings and strive to do my best in any environment. If I have to choose one, it must be when I hosted my own weekly TV cooking show with my best friend, BethAnn Nishijima, Two Skinny Chefs. It was a lot of fun. We met so many guest chefs and traveled the world together.
What’s the first meal you ever cooked?
Back in Thailand when I was 12 years old, it was mixed vegetables stir-fried with black tiger prawns. I remember walking to my family dinner table that evening and I couldn’t find anything I liked, so I went to the kitchen and cooked something for myself. After that, it became a regular thing.
What are your first thoughts when you hear “farm-to-table”?
What a fantastic idea, especially since I live in Hawai’i and sustainability is important. Waiting for produce from the mainland can take several days, and it can lose freshness and nutrients. If I had enough space in my restaurant, I would love to grow my own herbs, spices and greens.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.