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Celebrate Christmas In Style

Cover Story

December 8, 2019

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Hostess Kaylee Lin with Chef Chai holiday gift cards

In what has become a popular stocking stuffer during the Christmas season, Chef Chai continues a holiday gift card tradition that adds incredible value to the iconic, award-winning island fusion cuisine at his namesake restaurant.

At Chef Chai, which is situated on the ground level of the Pacifica Honolulu Building on Kapiolani Boulevard across from the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, $100 gift cards are available now through Christmas Eve for just $80 with no expiration date! The specially priced gift cards are not available for redemption during happy hour.

“We do this every year, and a lot of customers look forward to the promotion,” says chef Chai Chaowasaree. “In our first year with this holiday offer, we sold more than $200,000-worth of gift cards, so come in and pick up yours today!”

Guests can also order gift cards online via chefchai. com without incurring any delivery charges or fees.

Mighty and meaty Grilled Certified Japanese A5 Wagyu

Christmas is right around the corner, and there’s still time to reserve seats for Chef Chai’s popular Christmas Eve Dinner Menu available on Tuesday, Dec. 24 with the first seating at 4:30-5 p.m. followed by a second seating at 7-7:30 p.m. Prices vary by menu selection, and reservations are being accepted now with a credit card by calling 585-0011.

A popular choice on the Christmas Eve menu is the Deconstructed Grilled Beef Tenderloin Wellington with Duxelle Mushroom Truffle Puff ($55 a la carte, $75 for set course menu including appetizer and dessert). Chaowasaree explains that when the dish is baked, “Everything is de-constructed then put back together, which allows us to make this Beef Wellington for one guest with a merlot demiglace, mashed potatoes, haricots vert and baby carrots.”

Deconstructed Grilled Beef Tenderloin Wellington with Duxelle Mushroom Truffle Puff (file photo)

Another must-try Christmas Eve Dinner entree can be discovered with Duck a l’Orange with Candied Kumquat and Cranberry Apricot Chutney ($45) along with mashed potatoes, haricots vert and baby carrots. The seasonal dish features crispy duck skin with a subtle orange-based duck sauce along with herbs and spices to add an Asian-infused element to the rich flavor profile.

As a special entree on both the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve special dinner menus, indulge in the exquisite Grilled A5 Japanese Wagyu ($160) as the succulent beef from Japan offers impeccable marbling and flavor that melts in one’s mouth with a hint seasoning of salt and pepper.

Chef Chai’s dining room (file photo)

“The A5 is the best of the best, and there’s so much marbling and the beef is so tender, it’s like eating butter,” says Chaowasaree. “The cattle are fed with beer and milk to enhance the fat content, and a good, whole A5 Wagyu cow can sell for upwards of $80,000! Not many restaurants in Hawaii serve this special cut, and we only bring in one loin – each cut comes with its own certificate of authenticity – so this special is based on availability.”

As a world-renowned chef, Chaowasaree reflects on his 30 years of culinary achievements, he counts his blessings. From starting with almost nothing after coming to Hawaii from Thailand three decades ago, the culinary craftsman opened award-winning restaurants, launched a top-rated cooking show, published popular cookbooks and even served as executive chef for Hawaiian Airlines for eight years.

“It’s a true American dream, and I really count my blessings and appreciate the local people in Hawaii who support us, because not everyone can do what we’ve accomplished,” says Chaowasaree. “I’m very proud.”

Chef Chai has Holiday Parties Covered

Chef Chai is the ideal destination for holiday parties and corporate functions. The restaurant features a private dining room — with its signature wine glass chandelier — that can seat up to 30 people. Special set menus are available starting at $65 per person and the room is first come, first served, and a credit card is required to hold a reservation.

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