Service- Aloha in action

I feel passionately that when you are endowed with a gift,  it brings you great joy and is energetically edifying to share your gift with others.   When I walk in the door at the end of a long day on site,  my husband is always in awe of how genuinely happy I still am.  Not your typical response from someone who just was on her feet for over 10 hours,  running hither and yon, prepping, grilling, stirring, whipping, serving and assessing all within a tight timeline.

Sharing is caring-  a cooking demo at the Queen Ka’ahumanu center on Maui for Blue Zones Project, Maui.  TV Hostess and former Ms. Hawaii, Malika Dudley is on the mike. 

The anticipation of a beautiful evening shared with friends is something that I feel so privileged to be a part of.

  Many people ask me,  “isn’t it weird to jump into such an intimate situation?, to just walk into someones kitchen, make yourself at home and feed them?”   The answer is yes but for what I am called for,  I also feel equipped for. 

I come from a large family of gregarious characters and I grew up in a bustling restaurant. I know food and I know people.

  There isn’t a situation that I have walked into carting my bins, coolers and my menagerie of staff that we have felt uncomfortable or out of place.  When you show up with the food,  most people are happy and when the scents start wafting out of the kitchen, the wine is uncorked, people relax and  the promise of a good time becomes real.  The people who work with me feel exactly the same.  We love what we do and it shows.

check out my instagram for the recipe! @lilikoicreations

This summer, a fellow lady chef,  Mijin Kang (@ultimateguamie) her chef husband, Tak and I embarked on a cooking program at a local youth center.  I cannot even tell you how much fun it was to see the kids faces light up when we started talking about Culinary.  

Equipped with hairnets ( yes hairnets! ), gloves, knives (yes real knives!) and cutting boards…

The kids are learning how to create in the kitchen and cook real, balanced meals from scratch.  The Kihei Youth Center provides drop in programs every single week day for kids all ages for anyone across the island of Maui.  The director, an amazingly gracious, industrious woman named Lehua finds grants, donations and whatever else is necessary to keep the doors open and the programming intact for these kids, many of whom come from low-income situations and these are the only meals they eat all day.    I feel so blessed to get to be part of these children’s lives.  Teaching my own children how to cook and create fearlessly in the kitchen is one of my greatest memories of parenting as well as a gift that will hopefully be perpetuated onto my grandchildren.    Wow,  that makes me feel old!  Love what you do and share it!

a hui hou~

Chef Maja

Lilikoi Creations- what’s in a name?

I adore Hawaiian words.  With 13 letters total, 5 of which are vowels,  the rest consonants and an ‘okina (‘),  you can bet I was confused when I moved here believing all words sounded like a different hybridization of the last.  I had to see it all written and repeated many times before I would commit it to memory.   Lilikoi is the name for the Hawaiian passion fruit.  These gorgeous golden orbs  drop to the ground just at the peak of ripeness.  Finding a lilikoi when they are in season is like scoring that perfect golden egg in a easter egg hunt.  Filled with the quintessential tropical flavor,  as a chef,  I claim that what a lemon or lime can do, a lilikoi can do even better.  

Lilikoi infused fresh coconut water.

From a culinary standpoint, whatever a lemon or lime can do,  a lilikoi can do even better.

From curds to hollandaise, savory marinades, dressings and most definitely a shrub or fresh element to a cocktail,  lilikoi is a lovely as its name and when they are in season,  you can bet you will taste them infused in myriad forms into my cuisine.  A little aside,  we lived for 6 years in Florida and we had a lilikoi vine that never fruited.  I was perplexed as to what this gorgeous flower was because it never did anything other than produce fantastic blossoms.   If you’ve never seen a lilikoi flower, it is one of the most spectacular and intricate blossoms I have ever seen. How ironic that my Floridian Lilikoi never gave fruit… not its season or mine I suppose as I was raising my two daughters at the time and locked away in baby prison. (loving every minute but definitely not on a career track)

My Floridian lilikoi blossom never gave fruit- not its season or mine,  I suppose. 

My business is a culmination of the fruit of my passions;  an organic convergence of what I am passionate about which yields this fruit ( or in this case,  my career!)  based on all that I am passionate about-  beautiful food, ingredients,  inspired cuisine and healthy lifestyle.   So,  LILIKOI is a passionfruit,  LILIKOI CREATIONS is the business I have built around what is the fruit of my passions.  There,  now you know.  🙂

Lilikoi bounty in a basket by Paia Bay, North shore of Maui

Aloha and be blessed ~

Chef Maja