Monday, December 27, 2010

Leslie in Hawaii Hospitality Magazine Nov 2010

This says:

"Who are Hawaii's most promising culinary talents? Here's a sampling of the current crop of standouts. Each person is uniquely brilliant, believes in the farm-to-table approach to cuisine, and has a bit of wisdom to share about the industry. These are 12 stars you need to watch!" by Jason Soeda

Leslie in Aloha Express * Japanese Travel Guide

Leslie in Glamorous * Japanese Travel Guide

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Put Yourself First

In my last posts, I made a commitment to step out of my comfort zone and share more of myself with everyone. 2010 got off to a pretty rocky start for me, so I am in the energy of great celebration for the close of that yearly cycle and for the possibility of rebirth and renewal in 2011. I am in such deep and beautiful gratitude for the lessons I learned and all the frankly magical opportunities that came my way in the past year. It rocks! Possibly one of the greatest lessons of my life came in the first few days of 2010. I'm sharing this so that no one else needs to get "run over by a Mack truck" by the universe.

Here's what it was:


If I am not taking care of myself in the way I need to, then I cannot show up for anyone else to share from a place of wealth and abundance. Anything less than this comes from the energy of depletion and lack.

How does this relate to you?

Over and over again, I hear SO many people in my classes say, "My husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend/kids need(s) this healthy food the most (more than me), but they won't eat it."

What does this mean?

It means that whomever is saying this is actually projecting a part of their own self-conscious onto another person. When you say "I am worried about my husband's blood pressure, weight, diabetes (etc., etc.)", take a moment to pause and look inward. Do you have these issues resolved for yourself?

Everything we do has to begin first with ourselves. I took 2 years of my life and spent a lot of my hard earned money to learn about macrobiotics in depth, engrossing myself and practicing cooking every single opportunity I had. I made big elaborate meals on the weekends or other days off, and then invited my dear friend Clair over to try everything. She and I traded, so that when I fed her, she gave me reiki treatments and NLP (these are what she was learning at the time). When I was home with my family over the holidays, I cooked my own dishes with enough for everyone to enjoy, and added these to our table as options. Often (but not always!), these were favorites and are now requested dishes each time I come home. And I can guarantee you that we did NOT grow up eating kale or miso soup!!

When you live and breathe health, and when you immerse yourself in caring for yourself, you will naturally attract interest. As I became a better cook and as my own health soared, it didn't matter what I put on the table. It was enjoyed as a gift of love from my heart because it was filled with the qualities I was vibrating.

When you reach this point, you won't need to say a single thing to anyone! Begging, forcing, controlling and cajoling will have quite the opposite effect you desire. When you are grounded in your own health and wellness, people will naturally gravitate towards your bright and shining light.

And just a reminder if you have forgotten: YOU'RE WORTH IT!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

6 Steps To Changing Your Life

So, now that I've told you about me, how can you change your life?

Here are the steps that I took.

1) Most important is to commit to yourself and commit to your health and happiness as your number 1 values.

2) Identify the limiting beliefs you have (and we ALL have them running subconsciously).

3) Get a teacher, coach, or mentor to help you learn how to cook and someone who can help you identify and shift these limiting beliefs

4) Quit anything that drains your precious life force. (My income doubled and then tripled when the extreme toxicity of a relationship was removed and opportunities have started flying my way left and right.)

5) Build community that will support and encourage you.

6) Experiment, try new things, and don't be afraid to fail!

Leave comments and tell me about your experiences!

Change Your Food * Change Your Life

I set an important and life-changing goal for myself.

Want to know what it is?

This goal is to positively and radically change my life in 2011, to embrace my gifts and to show up fully in the world.

You see, I think that for that majority of my entire life, I have been hiding out. I've been too afraid to really just "go for it". I've been hiding behind fears, limiting beliefs, and other people. In fact, just writing this blog post has me totally nervous to share who I am with you! In the past, at times, just "being myself" and having my dreams was met with criticism and discouragement.

Well guess what? I'm doing some extreme make-overs that I intend will bring more ease, effortlessness, grace, love, and joy into my life!! And when I accomplish this, it means that I will have so much more of my own gifts to share with the world.

If you look at my life right now, you might never know that I used to:
  • be overweight
  • have acne
  • to smoke (a lot of) cigarettes
  • eat at McDonald's fairly regularly (in fact, I loved the french fries and chocolate shake as an afternoon snack)
But then I experienced a couple of really life-shattering experiences that set my life on a brand new course. As life brought these challenges, I have shifted into more of who I am. How did I do this?

I got to where I am now by QUITTING......


Here's what I quit:

1) Chicken, pork, and red meat first, then several years later finally dropped cheese and milk, and after that, fish, so that now I live a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

2) Processed foods. This was a revelation and a huge step toward completely renovating my whole life and my entire career. I felt so much better physically and emotionally that I was able to start my own business and embrace public speaking.

3) Negativity in my environment. "Food" comes in the form of what we are used to thinking of (e.g., what we put into our mouths), but did you ever stop to think about the "food" that is in your environment in general, such as the fear perpetuated by the media, the violence in the movies you watch, and people who drain your life force energy with their negativity? Have you had that same stack of clutter in your house for months? All of this is "food" because it's energy that you're taking in every single day.

4) Limiting beliefs. Because of my own life experiences, I've had significant limiting beliefs that have caused me to avoid living fully into my fullest potential. These old scripts play in our minds subconsciously, and you know what? They drain your energy. In committing to my life, to myself, and to happiness, prosperity, and abundance, I have been able to identify, cleanse, heal, and love myself more fully and sink more into my authenticity.

In addition to "quitting" I have also added in more positive influences -- let's call them "COMMITTING"! These have been:

1) Establishing a habit of eating whole foods, plant-based, organic home cooked meals. I didn't know how to do it when I first started my journey, so I got a bunch of books and read voraciously, AND I spent the money (in the thousands of dollars) to work with my teachers and educate myself. This became my passion and my full purpose for living.

2) Finding a community that would support me, and when I couldn't find community I started my own. I have an entire TEAM consisting of a coach, a mastermind group of fellow people with similar goals to my own who celebrate me and cheer me on and nurture me when I hit any obstacles (this happens to all of us no matter what stage we're experiencing), experts at shifting energy who I see here in Honolulu regularly, and friends and family who show up for me unconditionally.

3) Committing even more fully healthier living including spending time with awesome girl friends, meditating (doing this twice daily); nurturing and loving myself by keeping up a regular yoga practice, getting massages, resting, or going to the beach; as well as taking courses that will help me succeed.

What have been the results since I set and committed to my recent goal?

In the past month or two, I have radically shifted and received numerous blessings including:
  • being named one of the top young chefs in Hawaii by the trade magazine Hawaii Hospitality (and the majority of those mentioned in addition to me were men)
  • being named one of Hawaii's "most respected private chefs" by the Grow Hawaii team
  • landing a celebrity client
  • being featured in local and international food, fashion, and travel magazines
  • getting elected the chair for the newly formed Health and Nutrition Working Group in the Hawaii Food Policy Council
  • a spot on our local cable TV channel in November and December
You know it feels really good because my mission and purpose for improving my own life is so that people not just here in Hawaii, but the world, can experience healthier living! There are so many reasons for us to do this (and I'll cover them in another post.)

I'm going to be stepping even further out of my comfort zone, and I have to admit, this totally freaks me out. But I'm committed. I'm going for it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Women, Food, God

Do you feel like you don't have time to eat well?

Worry about the cost of buying organic?

Think it's way too difficult and you could never master it?

Fear your family and friends will reject you, your food, or your efforts?

Think badly of yourself if you make a mistake in the kitchen?

These are the top beliefs that most people I work with seem to have when they come to me. They may really desire losing weight, getting off of their diabetes medication, or making their lifestyle more green (among other outcomes).

Why is that when so many people deeply desire positive outcomes that they avoid changing their diets?

My observation has been that what "getting healthy" represents taps people's deepest feelings about themselves. Geneen Roth wrote a book about this called "Women, Food, God". She says,

"The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God."

So even though you may really want to lose weight, it means truly facing the emotions that are attached to this issue for you. That's the scary and uncomfortable part for people! All the defense mechanisms pop up when we say we don't "have enough time" or "it's too expensive." Deep down, what it actually could mean is "this is too painful/fearful for me to experience at this moment." It could also mean, "I don't feel worthy enough" or "health isn't one of my core values yet." To know what you true values are, look on your plate.

However, "going beyond both the food and feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul to the bright center of your own life."

When people finally feel ready to transform their approach to diet and lifestyle, the result can be simply magnificent! These positive benefits might be a stabilized and healthy weight, clearer skin, more energy, sounder sleep, and an overall improved outlook on life. Those fears we had that someone "won't want to eat this healthy dish" get transformed when the a dish that you place on the table is the first to be devoured by all the guests simply because your most authentic loving expression of yourself is one of the ingredients in the food.

Love yourself enough to eat well. To me this means, "eat in a way that nourishes your spirit on a deep level". You deserve it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sipping Tea with the Emperor and Queen Victoria

Vegan High Tea the other day at Baby aWEARness was a HUGE hit. We had a great time.

In preparation for the tea festivities, I watched a DVD called All In This Tea. One section included a quote (I'll have to paraphrase) that really moved me and that I would like to share with you:

“In this moment [of drinking tea], we have the same experience that Queen Victoria had 150 years ago, the same taste a Chinese Emperor would have loved. Tea is living archeology. We are resurrecting flavors and experiences that bind us to the past shared by generations before us.”

Comments from participants:

"I don't usually like scones, but yours were so buttery and delicious."

"You are a wonderful hostess! Thank you for a great time of tea and new friends! I look forward to another event in the future."

"You have a talent for making food and the sharing of it so meaningful."

"The high tea on Sunday was so lovely. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. We've been trying to catch up with one another so we appreciated you creating the time, the space, and all the wonderful goodies to indulge ourselves. I've been raving about it to everyone and hope you will do another one in the future (especially since you've got all those wonderful teapots to put into good use)."

"Thank you, Leslie, for the splendid time at High Tea and the onolicious food! I am grateful for you, your skill, your palate and your vision for the community and the world!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I am extremely grateful for all the joy, abundance, love, beauty, fabulous ohana, and opportunities in my life. Thank you!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Just a little YouTube video to ring in some good celebratin' energy about all the GREAT GREAT things in my life!! WOO HOO! For some booty shakin' fun, watch the video and be sure to dance!

A few lyrics by the Black Eyed Peas, from Let's Get It Started

"Obstacles are inefficient, follow your intuition, free your inner soul and break away from tradition. Coz when we beat out, girl it's pullin' without.......Step by step, like an infant new kid. Inch by inch with the new solution. Transmit hits, with no delusion. The feeling's irresistible and that's how we movin'."

A Healthy Cup of Tea

My life has been a whirlwind lately, from cohorting with some internationally renowned local chefs, to getting a rush of much welcomed and appreciated press, to taking on celebrity clients. I'm in awe, and extremely grateful for all my opportunities and the places my job takes me. What a life!

While my job is often mind-blowing, there are those mundane times when I'm driving around town through traffic in search of items for my next event. If you value organic whole food items of high quality, it takes some work to source things sometimes.

In my pursuit of all things related to tea today, I had an amazingly wonderful and extremely random adventure.

Here I was, driving down industrialized Nimitz, daydreaming about tea, tea pots, and the Vegan High Tea event coming up on the 28th. The universe speaks in mysterious ways sometimes, and as I was daydreaming, I looked up and saw a white van drive by. I happened to notice that it said something about the Hawaiian Islands Tea Company, and there was a phone number. Hmmm.... That was some kind of serendipity impossible to ignore. I took action and called the number before the van disappeared from sight, only to leave a message.

About one hour later, a man named Dave called me back and said I should stop by for some samples. I was escorted to the back by Mr. Dave Plaskett, who turned out to be the Director of Tea for the Hawaii Coffee Company.

photo from

His office was simply breathtaking, with rare dried teas from every possible corner of the earth. His walls were decorated by photos of people who work with tea throughout the world, posters of tropical fruits, samples of tea bags hanging from a poster board, and what appeared to be an apothecary of various concoctions he is working on for their line of teas. I was so incredibly impressed.

We sat and talked for about 15 minutes about macrobiotics, an idea he has for his next business, the origin of genmaicha, one of his philosophies about business that seemed very timely to me, and where I could potentially get the tea that I needed. In the meantime, he loaned me All In This Tea, a documentary about a man obsessed with finding the world's rarest teas. He was an absolutely cool and fascinating guy who transformed my day from the ordinary to the extraordinary! Thanks Dave.

I'll be seeing some of you at the tea party on the 28th!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grow Hawaii Iron Chef Competition: Next Generation

The Iron Chef Next Generation teams were scrambling around the room choosing all their ingredients to use in their cook-off. Kabocha was the "secret" ingredient of the day.

The displays were incredible of all the fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients.

And on the judge's panel.... that's ME, with Ed Kenney, Alan Wong, and Roy Yamaguchi signing autographs at the end of the day. Yeah baby!! I was one of the very few female chefs there representing.

(this photo is from Honolulu Magazine's account.)

Article on Hawaii News Now

Monday November 8th, 2010 - The Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools (HAIS), Sheraton Waikiki and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawai‘i presents the GROW HAWAI‘I Challenge. Fifteen public charter and independent schools across Hawai‘i have been selected to participate in HAIS’s innovative Grow Hawai‘i pilot program to incorporate locally grown produce into their school cafeteria menus. Breakout sessions will celebrate local success stories and heroes making a difference in sustainability. Chefs from Starwood’s Hotels and Resorts across the islands and local celebrity restaurateurs will team up with the school chefs and students in a School Garden Cooking Challenge. Attendees will enjoy a delicious Farm-to-Table lunch prepared by Sheraton Waikīkī chefs before the awards are presented.


Article on Grow Hawaii's website:

Over the next three years, Grow Hawaii will use a variety of strategies to significantly enrich the educational dialogue in all private and public schools statewide concerning the urgency for growing food in the islands. Beginning with the belief that the betterment of humankind is inherently possible and that schools are a prominent force for good, Grow Hawai’i and its partners aspire to create lifelong “buy local, eat local” consumers by engaging students, starting in elementary school, in exploration, experimentation, and action-oriented problem-based learning that will foster consideration of the origins of and their relationship with island grown food and the social systems and values we will need to create a more sustainable way of life. Simultaneously, we aspire to document this story and share it with all who are interested, allowing the voices of students to chart a course to the future and be in the vanguard of those leading the way.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Named one of 12 up and coming chefs to watch

Hawaii Hospitality named me one of the 12 up and coming chefs to watch. Check out their November issue for the article.

Grow Hawaii Project

Leslie will be teaching a break out session along with some other very well known chefs in Hawaii as part of this project! See

Leslie on OC16

I was recently on OC16's TV program called Career Changers.

Check out my segment on their You Tube Channel where I demo how to make a healthy holiday Quinoa Pilaf:

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Diet for a Small Island

Come join us for two inspiring dialogues on food/agricultural problems and on visions for food democracy in Hawai’i and beyond!

Frances Moore Lappé, the world-renowned democracy advocate, author (Diet for a Small Planet, Hope’s Edge, Liberation Ecology, World Hunger, Twelve Myth among many), and food and hunger expert, will be featured at the Umematsu and Yasu Watada Lecture Series on November 5-6 at Church of the Crossroads.

November 5 (Friday 7 pm)

“Food Democracy: Ideas and Stories to Liberate Our Food Systems”

Talk by Frances Moore Lappé

November 6 (Saturday 9 am)

“Diet for a Small Island: Visioning Food Democracy in Hawai'i.”

Panelists: State Senator Carol Fukunaga, Eric Enos (Ka'ala Farms), Dr. Ted Radovich (University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources), Hi'ilei Kawelo (Paepae o He'eia), and Frances Moore Lappé.

Talks are free and open to public. Both talks are at Church of the Crossroads, 1212 University Avenue, Honolulu. Tel: 808-949-2220.

For more information about the Watada Lectures Series, visit our blog

See you there!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Plant-based "Made in Hawaii" Potluck, Oct 15th

I just spent the afternoon shopping and preparing a few dishes for the "Made in Hawaii" potluck my friend Joy and I are hosting tonight. It was difficult to choose what to make because so many ideas flew into my mind while all the veggies simultaneously flew into the shopping cart. Approximately $100 later and I was on my way!!! I have a hard time with restraint when it comes to quality ingredients. :-) (But I will choose quality ingredients over other treats any time.)

I had a hard time with the flavor of the oil that I picked up (which shall remain unnamed) so my executive decision was to change to olive oil and use some balsamic vinegar too. Those were the only non-local ingredients in these dishes.

One of the items that I'd like to incorporate into a dessert is some kona coffee.... How to do this vegan style??? Hmmm...... Ok will work on that.

Here are some of the things that I was working with.....

Chinese cabbage, red radish, daikon, asparagus, basil, thyme, mint, lemon, orange, strawberry, lilikoi, tomato, Waialua chocolate, Japanese cucumbers, mac nuts, beets, beet greens, kale, and arugula.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mighty Lentils

In our previous cooking class, Grains and Beans, one of the beans we explored was lentils. I absolutely LOVE lentils, and for this class we specifically used French Lentils. I find them so beautiful with their blue, green, and brown earthy, life giving, vibrant colors.

I typically ask questions like "What's so great about lentils? Why should we eat them?"

Well..... Here's why we want to get lentils into our diet. They:
  • are high in protein & iron
  • contain dietary fiber
  • are low in calories
  • contain essential amino acids (eat with rice to have a complete protein source)
  • are inexpensive to purchase in bulk
They fill you up, but don't fill you out!

Cold French Lentil Salad

My friend Kathy turned me onto this dish that combines French lentils with fennel. I have to admit, even though I am adventurous, I was at first a little bit skeptical, until I tasted it.

The flavors exploded in my mouth, and boy, did I change my mind quickly! It was absolutely stunning!

It was so good that I immediately decided to highlight this recipe in my Grains and Beans cooking class.

When I took out the fennel, everyone got nervous and squirmed a little bit in their seats (kinda like how I had too). I could see them looking at me and thinking, "What is she about to do?!"

Here everything is ready and we are just about to eat.

(photos by Ruth)

The final recipe looks like this (below) and it comes from Vegetarian Times.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Refreshing Local Treats

I have been enjoying some local fruits from my friends' backyard gardens, specifically lilikoi and mountain apples. These are such refreshing treats.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Many Thanks

I have been really blessed lately with such a beautiful life, so I wanted to pause and acknowledge this. To my friends, customers, and teachers in life, I just wanted to express a big thank you for being a wonderful part of my life. In the past 9 months in particular, many of you have been such a beacon of love and light for me. Hope I don't leave anyone out. You are loved even if unnamed.

In gratitude to...

My family: For their unconditional love and support.
Anjali: For your friendship and skillful web design work.
Michelle D: You are always there for me. I love you!
Stephanie: For your friendship and beautiful graphic design.
Monique: For helping me shift my consciousness to a better realm.
Brenda: For your friendship.
Sandi: For teaching me about living fully. I cherish every day with you and your family.
Summer B: For your friendship.
Alice I: For always choosing love and light.
Gui: For creating an energetic space for me to reunite with myself on the yoga mat.
Paul and Amy: For both of your great sense of humor and Paul's beautiful photos.
Aprilani: For your friendship.
Joy and Shen: Blessing circles rule!
Shar and Art: For your open hearts and generosity.
Dania: For sharing important information with me with divine timing and your words of wisdom.
Kokua Market: For allowing me to develop new areas of my creativity.
MOA: For sharing space with me for cooking classes and for wonderful johrei energy work.
Baby aWEARness and Ashley Lukens: For sharing space with me for cooking classes, friendship and more cool stuff to come.
The Shintani's: For an opportunity to cook for people in life-changing ways.
Kathy: For being a colleague and friend in macrobiotics here on Oahu.
Willow: For insight into the sheer chaos!
Barbara P: For helping me manifest my heart's desire, quickly, easily, effortlessly for the highest good of all.
Nancy O: For the luscious mountain apples.
Geri: For your handcrafted dishtowels. I love them so much!
Holly & Moumen: For sharing.
Cherub & Joannie: For including me.
Divine source/mother nature: For providing everything I need.
Jeri: For helping promote me unselfishly.
Fred: Your heart is so filled with love. Thank you for touching mine. Any client who works with you is rich beyond belief.
Mavis, Ruth, Mi, Kay, Lei, Susan, Shelley, Joan, Karen, Jackie W, Arleene, Karin, and to all my incredible customers: I am honored to serve you! You make my job so wonderful! Thank you so much for your beautiful selves.

With love, Leslie

Photo by Paul Herchig of

Monday, October 04, 2010

Adventures in Gluten-Free Baking

Sooooo many people have asked me to make gluten-free goodies, and I have honestly just resisted. Wheat is just so yummy and makes such delectable desserts. Well, I'm operating outside my comfort zone now, just experimenting, and so far the results are not bad! Possibly even truly delicious. Behold the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, and the Thumbprint Cookies. (I started baking on a whim and didn't have any apricot jam, so I improvised). I have to thank Lorraine for giving me a GREAT cookbook to get me going.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Heirloom Bean Soup

Sunday's cooking class is all about soups! This heirloom bean mix will be used in one of our soups that I'll demonstrate, seasoned simply with sea salt, veggies, diced tomatoes, and some herbs.

Cheesy Melty Vegan Lasagna

I'm recipe testing for future classes, and I put together a vegan lasagna that looks like it turned out pretty good.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recent Photos from the Bento Cooking Class

photos by Paul Herchig

My Trip to Waikiki Worm Company

I've dabbled in composting before, but I was told that I wasn't doing it quite right. I had a spinning composter, but worms don't like to get tossed around. When I changed living arrangements, I sold my spinning composter and took a hiatus from the whole endeavor.

Throwing vegetable scraps away just didn't feel right, and after attending the recent agriculture conference, I committed to seriously getting back into composting. I made my visit to the Waikiki Worm Company this afternoon and purchased all my new composting items. Here is the store owner getting my worms ready for me.

Mindy explained to me how to set up my system. First, I have to shred paper and place it into my composting bin.
Then, I take the pile of worms and separate it from the vermicast, sprinkling the vermicast onto the paper to make a nice bed for the earthworms. It's important to water it so that it stays moist.
From there I take the ball of earthworms and place them onto the bed and let them wriggle their way into their bed of paper and vermicast.

Now I can begin to feed them, so I grabbed some alfalfa sprouts that I had leftover from a cooking class and sprinkled them in.

Finally, it's important to cover the food with more paper, and then wet everything down, and place on the lid.

My system is now operational! I'm heading back to her shop on Saturday to pick up some compost tea to spray on the foilage of my plants.

I'm really seriously working on getting a big container garden going. Here is my kale, basil, thyme, chives, parsley, and Maui onions.... (hard to see but they are all in there!).

Cilantro and arugula are sprouting in some other containers...