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!