How To Plan a Hawaiian Menu With A Private Chef

If you are planning a trip to the beautiful islands of Hawaii or just want to create the Aloha experience at home with friends here are some tips on how to plan a Hawaiian themed menu with a private chef.

The first step is to identify if you want to have a traditional Hawaiian luau or more of a Hawaiian regional inspired menu. A traditional luau consists of some basic menu selections, which will make planning a menu with your private chef pretty straightforward but may be challenging to locate all the ingredients if you are not actually in Hawaii.

Traditional Luau foods: Poi (this is a Hawaii stable and is a starch dish made by pounding boiled taro roots and mixed with water until the substance is smooth), Poke (this is raw fish marinated in a variety of condiments such as soy sauce, garlic, ginger, coconut cream, Hawaiian sea salt, seaweed and onions, and other various items depending on the chef), Lomilomi Salmon (this is small pieces of salmon mixed with tomatoes, onions, and other tangy condiments and was first introduced into the Hawaiian Luau by western sailors), Kalua pau’a (Best know as roast pork this is a delicious Kalua pig which is seasoned with salt and cooked underground in tea leaves or banana leaves), and taro rolls (these purple colored rolls are made from the taro flour). Many other dishes are also eaten at luau’s, however, the mentioned items are the most popular and a must have for planning a Hawaiian theme menu with your private chef.

If you decided you would like a more elegant experience you can work with your private chef to plan a menu with regionally inspired Hawaiian dishes. This would include farm to table concepts and be closes to Asian-Pacific / Fusion menu concepts. Ingredients to keep you on track include using: Hawaiian Fish & Seafood – Opakaaka (Pink Snapper), Moi (known as Threadfish), Mahi Mahi (known as Dolphin fish), Ahi (know as Tuna), Opah (known as Moon Fish), Ono (known as Wahoo), Onaga (know as Red Snapper), Mong Chong (known as Monkfish), and Butterfish (known as Cod), Tobiko (Hawaiian Fish Row), Kahuku Shrimp, Big Island Abalone, Opihi (Know as Salt Water Snail), and Big Island Lobster.

Local Fruits & Vegetables: Mangos, Papaya, Leche, Pineapple, Coconuts, Coconut Milk, Molokai Sweet Potatoes, Kahuku Corn, Sea Asparagus, Taro, Nalo Greens, Tomatoes, Chinese Long Beans, Japanese Eggplant, Bok Choy, Hearts of Palm, Big Island Wild Mushrooms, and Macadamia Nuts. Local Condiments: Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Hawaiian Chili pepper water, Hawaiian sea salts, Kona Coffee, Hosin Sauce, Sesame Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Wasabi, 5 Spice, Miso, Tea Leafs and Banana Leafs. A good combination of these ingredients will keep you on track while planning your Hawaiian themed event with your private chef.

Finally, make sure that your private / personal chef feels comfortable cooking Hawaiian inspired or traditional foods. If you are visiting the Hawaiian Islands you should have no problem finding a local chef who can plan an exquisite menu selection for you and your guests. Should you be on the continental united states it may be more difficult but just be patient and with time and by sticking to the food recommendations above you should have no trouble planning your Hawaiian inspired menu and event. Don’t forget to start your dinner with some tropical cocktails like a Mai Tai or Lava Low, showcase local decorative flowers like orchids and play some Hawaiian music like Brother Iz to set the tone for the evening. Now you should be all set to spreading the Aloha spirit and culture with loved ones any time of the year!

Covert Affairs is a private chef company in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ryan Covert is both the owner and head chef of Covert Affairs, which caters to both locals and celebrities alike. His dynamic cooking style is a global celebration with a highlight on Asian-Pacific, Mediterranean, and Caribbean cuisines, making him the Private Chef Hawaii prefers. For a unique affair on the islands look no further than Covert Affairs Honolulu personal chef services. For a full list of private chef services, customer testimonials, client lists, menu options, to view his published recipes or to read his restaurant and wine blog visit him at –


Roasted Beet & Shaved Fennel Caprese Salad

Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

3 Large Red Beats
1 Fennel
4 Cups Fresh Arugula (Or Substitute – with Spinach or Mixed Greens)
8 oz Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese
4 Large Basil Leaves
4 Medium Vine Ripen Tomato’s
1 ½ Table Spoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper

Remove tops from beets and wash them in cold water (leave skin on the beets). Place beets into a baking pan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil over them. Cover with tin foil and place beats into the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Remove beets from the baking pan and peal off the skin under cold water. Cut beats into slices. Remove the top from the fennel and wash the bulb in cold water. Cut fennel in half and then into slivers. Season fennel to taste with salt and pepper. and set aside. Clean tomatoes and cut along with cheese into slices. Layer fennel, tomatoes and mozzarella on top of Arugula (or desired greens). Add beats to the very top and finish with favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Roasted Beet & Shaved Fennel Caprese Salad Recipe

View Other Oahu Personal Chef Ryan’s Coverts Recipes Featured in KTA

Easy Lemon Soufflé Pancakes

Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

1 Box Lemon Cake Mix (Betty Crocker or any boxed cake mix)
1 Lemon
1 Cup Oatmeal
6 Egg Whites
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1 ¼ Cup Tap Water
Maple Syrup
Optional: 1 Box Fresh Raspberries

Separate eggs into a bowl and whip until stiff. Set the egg whites aside. Now add into a bowl the cake mix, water, oatmeal and oil. Zest the lemon and squeeze its contents into the bowl and mix everything together until blended. Now fold in the egg whites. Preheat a non-stick skillet on medium heat and cook pancakes to your liking. Best served with fresh raspberries and maple syrup.

Easy Lemon Soufflé Pancakes Recipe

View Other Oahu Personal Chef Ryan’s Coverts Recipes Featured in KTA

Finding a Personal Chef in Hawaii

Being a personal chef in Hawaii I have had first hand experience working with both good and bad chefs. Many of my clients are world-wide travelers and have told me that they wished they had some insider tips to finding a reputable and trust worthy chef while on vacation. I have put together a list of 3 steps on how to find a personal chef in hawaii that you can trust and full-fills all your service needs and expectations.

How To Steps – 1 – visit the American Personal & Private Chef Association website. This association has a vigorous approval process which insures its’ chef have professional training as well as an established business. The association has a good reputation and national database which covers every state in the USA. Go to the website and select “Hawaii” to view the chefs that are affiliated with this organization. Make sure you contact chefs, which are on the island you will be visiting or live on.

How To Step – 2 – View each chef’s website and beginning the information gathering stage. Important things to look for on the website are credentials which qualify that individual to be your personal chef. Good credentials include affiliations with prestigious organizations and attending a reputable culinary school. A trained professional chef understands about food contamination and proper cooking techniques, which insure the food is fresh, and bacteria free. Also look for privacy policies, terms & conditions and a clearly defined cancellation policy, which protect your interests. Next you will want to read their clients and testimonials so you can get a first had glimmer of what your experience will be like. The testimonials should be clearly outlined with client names and give you a sense of security about the quality and service of the personal chef you are selecting. Look for video and written client testimonials from reputable organizations and persons, which will increase your sense of security with the chef you are hiring and insure your vacation is stress free.

How To Step – 3 – Asking for a quote is the final step to finding a personal chef in oahu. Once you have viewed all the website information and are satisfied with the reputation and style of the chef or chefs call them and ask them what locations they service as well as for an estimate of costs. This stage is important because depending on where you are staying the associated costs for labor may vary. If you are staying in Honolulu, you want to make sure your private chef services Honolulu. The same is true for Kailua, North Shore or Hawaii Kai. Since Hawaii is locate on an Island their tends to be a lot of commuter traffic which could put added pressure on your stay should your chef have to commute a long distance to services you. Please keep in mind that most chefs will only offer you a general food estimate because Hawaii has higher food costs than on the Continental United States. After receiving estimates and menu ideas select whichever chef fits of style of communication, budget, and required services.

If you follow these steps above you can feel confidant selecting the right chef even if you have never meet them face-to-face.  The most important thing is to trust your gut and go with the chef that takes care of all the details. The chef you select should offer to contact your estate rental for a visit to make sure the kitchen is fully equipped and stocked with food before you arrive. If you still are not sure how to find a qualified private chef in Hawaii please visit my website at

Cafe Maharani

Overall: corkagecorkagecorkagecorkagecorkage

Service: Service is always pretty good. The staff is really friendly but it takes forever to get a seat (well worth the wait!!) . A good tip is to bring an extra bottle of wine because they let you drink it while you wait in the back. It makes the time go much faster!

Food: The food is traditional Indian and served family style in interesting dishes. The menu has good variety and the platters are large so share with your friends. We would recommend a few appetizers, followed by a Vegetable dish, Masala, and Meat dish like the Tandoori platter. Don’t forget the Naan and yellow rice to slurp up the last drops.

Favorite Dishes: Papadum, Tandoori Chicken, Vegetable Masala (special dish), Fish or Chicken Masala, Yellow Rice, Naan Bread with Cilantro & or Onion, Curries are also very good but occasionally the meat is tough.

Atmosphere: The moment you walk into Cafe Maharani you are transported to India with the authentic art and bright color pallet. The restaurant is very small, unique and quaint but also very busy so expect to wait for a while (Tip: buy an extra bottle of wine to drink while you wait in the back of the restaurant) they do not take reservations.

Consistency: Consistently Fantastic! This is by far the best Indian restaurant in Hawaii. Being a personal chef in Oahu I always pleasure in looking forward to going to a restaurant of this caliber. The food is delicious and always consistent.

Parking: Parking can be found at the Down To Earth parking lot up the ramp for free or on the street. We take a cab so we can enjoy the no corkage fee and have a wonderful evening.

Price Range: Medium-High ($15-$30) per Entree
Bring Your Own Alcohol/Wine
No Corkage Fee!

Reservations Not Accepted

2509 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96826
Phone Number: (808) 951-7447

Hours of Operation:
Open daily from 5 pm to 10 pm