L.A. Chefs with Sandy: Meet Kai Kani
This week, our guest food editor, Sandy Ho, put something special together to highlight six Los Angeles-based chefs. We are so honored to share the work of these incredible creators and hope you will join us in support of their initiatives. Here, Sandy chats with Kai Kani on how she got her start, what makes her move, and how she has been affected by this incredible and unprecedented moment in time.
SH: How has Covid 19 and the Black Lives Matter movement affected you and your business?
KK: The current movement of the world has affected me in a way of not having personal contact with my clients. Cooking gives all of us a sense of closeness, familiarity, and comfortability. Given that the world is, “Social Distancing,” the intimate factor of cooking for one another is taken out of the equation. So, clients have resorted to “Drop-Off,” Dinners, Etc from me. With my business, some of the services include In-Home Dinners, Brunches, & Private Parties. So, there is a slight disconnect with clients in physically being there to cook. All-in-all the current movement of the world has given me a shifted perspective into the world of food and how valuable it is.
SH: Describe a pivotal moment in your career that has led you to where you are now.
KK: A pivotal moment in my career that has led to where I am at now, is when I baked for Oprah Winfrey. I was 10 years old at the time so, I was really at the tip of beginning to pursue cooking as my career. The opportunity to show someone at that level of success what I love to do felt incredible. She shared inspiring words of wisdom with me that still resonates with me today. It was an eye-opening moment at a young age, and it was definitely a factor in me going full throttle with my business at 10.
SH: What empowers you to wake up in the morning and what keeps you up at night?
KK: Determination simply wakes me up in the morning every day, 4 AM. To keep creating, learning, and working is what motivates me. I have dreams of dishes, and I’ll make them come to life the next day. I know where I’m going in life and in my career. I’m the person that has to make to make it happen for myself. The only thing that keeps me up at night is if I have a major engagement to cook for, otherwise, I go to sleep with the birds and I wake up with the birds.
SH: Tell us about one dish that changed your opinion on food/people/love/ingredients.
KK: Handmade Pasta gave me a deeper love and appreciation for Italian food. It is very simple, but it takes skill and technique to make it right. That’s what I’ve realized with most great cooking. It’s that the premise is simplistic, but it takes technique, quality ingredients, and time to transform it into something amazing. This has also influenced the way I cook today. Quality means everything when it comes to making something incredible.
SH: Where do you see yourself in the future of food for the world?
KK:I will be at the top of the food game in the future. Cookbooks, products, shows, and more are currently in the works. I plan to continue sharing my passion with others and get more people excited about cooking and to find joy in it. I found my passion early in life, and I want to help others find theirs too. I will continue to build my brand and make it known worldwide.
SH: How can we stay up to date with what you’re doing?