Feast for peace

Cover Story

October 11, 2020

Story By: Ginger Keller | Photos by: TONY GRILLO

Chef Chai poses with his Feast For Peace box ($130).

Over the past three decades, Chai Chaowasaree has garnered quite the following. Despite business operating far from usual (his restaurant, Chef Chai at Pacifica, won’t open for dine-in service until December), the Bangkok native proves time and time again that he was destined for this craft.

“I grew up in the restaurant business in Thailand,” he shares. “It just comes to us naturally — me, my sister and the whole family. Restaurant business is something we know and feel comfortable doing.”

Chef Chai’s Feast For Peace box ($130) supports Domestic Violence Action Center, and features Waialua Chocolate Mousse Cake

Comparative to most things in this day and age, establishments of all sorts have to think outside of the box when it comes to organizing community events. This is where Chef Chai’s famed and highly sought-after Wiki Wiki Boxes are the perfect concept. In support of Domestic Violence Action Center, Chef Chai is offering a Feast for Peace ($130) on Oct. 31 in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“This something that touched me because … I just think that no one deserves to be abused — physically, emotionally or verbally,” says Chaowasaree. “We just want to support them.

Jumbo Black Tiger Prawn Cocktail

“If you want to enjoy a nice dinner at a very reasonable price, you might as well dine for a good cause at home and safe in your environment, where you can have dinner any time you want,” he adds.

To begin a proper dining experience — even if you are lounging on the sofa — a bottle of Sparkling Italian Prosecco Villa Sandi is included in the bundle. A Jumbo Black Tiger Prawn Cocktail is next, with a lemongrass garlic vinaigrette dipping sauce.

“It’s a little bit different because it’s not a traditional shrimp cocktail,” notes Chaowasaree. “It’s our own style.”

An important component to nearly every Chef Chai spread is the fact that a handful of the ingredients derive from local sources. Serving as an example is the Organically Grown Big Island Baby Greens salad, which is paired with a light tangerine vinaigrette.

Grilled Chicken among many other tasty treats

For the main event, Chef Chai offers up two entrée options. First is a Grilled Chicken with Hennessy green peppercorn sauce, mashed potatoes, haricot vert, Hamakua mushrooms and baby carrots. Kabayaki Salmon, meanwhile, is the second dish, and is served with Granny Smith pineapple salsa and steamed Thai jasmine rice. To conclude the special occasion, indulge in a Waialua Chocolate Mousse Cake with fresh berries.

Orders must be placed by Oct. 23 to be picked up drive-thru style on Halloween at the eatery’s Kapiolani Boulevard location.

“It’s the perfect idea for nonprofits that are looking to do a fundraiser. We can create any menu for them,” says Chaowasaree.

Those craving Chef Chai’s fare anytime sooner needn’t fret. The classic Wiki Wiki Boxes are up for grabs three days a week. While the contents of the box are ever changing, its concept stays the same: a little bit of something that everyone can enjoy. A Small Box ($120) will always include two salads, two desserts and eight entrées of seafood, vegetarian and meat varieties. Those with a larger family — or simply a larger appetite — can up the ante with double the servings by purchasing a Large Box ($220).

“It’s designed to be like a meal plan that people can just buy a box and don’t need to go to the store — you don’t need to cook and you don’t need to clean,” he says. “Just two minutes in the microwave and it’s ready to eat.”

This week’s menu — which must be ordered 48 hours in advance — entails marvelous choices: Grilled Fish with lemon butter caper sauce and linguini zucchini; Grilled Chicken with Thai peanut sauce, choy sum and steamed Thai jasmine rice; Braised Beef Shank with kabocha pumpkins and country-style potatoes; Grilled Portobello Mushroom with penne pasta Alfredo cheese sauce; the aforementioned Organically Grown Big Island Baby Greens with a tangerine vinaigrette; and, of course, some type of mouthwatering dessert.

“We used to do pickup only one day a week, but it would just sell out every week, so we had to expand to three days — Wednesday, Friday and Sunday,” says Chaowasaree.

“Besides the regular Wiki Wiki Box, we’re also going to do a premium or a holiday Wiki Wiki Box,” he teases.

With winter around the corner, Chaowasaree is sure to mention that if anyone is feeling the holiday spirit, Chef Chai also offers Wiki Wiki Box gift certificates.

To order a Feast for Peace box, visit domesticviolenceactioncenter.org/give-a-gift; and to order a Wiki Wiki Box or gift certificate, call 585-0011 or visit chefchai.com. Check out its weekly menu by visiting Chef Chai on Instagram or Facebook.

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best