June 10, 2009

Family Time in Maui

A Week with A Private Chef on Maui
Aloha. This past week I had a wonderful experience cooking for an extended family; father, mother, 3 sons, their wives, and their children (7 adults, and 5 children from ages 2 months to 16). The families were from different locations throughout California and one family was from Idaho. They wanted to spend time having a glass of wine and a quiet dinner together. In addition to dinners they had leisurely breakfasts cooked to order. Fresh fruit smoothies, Belgium waffles with orange whipping cream and macadamia nuts, and roasted potato fritatta were some of the delights. One of the favorites was the fresh grilled mahi mahi with orange vermouth sauce, sauteed coconut banana with macadamia nuts over a bed of chiffonade Swiss Chard served with rosemary sweet potatoes. Yum!

One of the sons kept telling me how tired he is of eating in restaurants and how his hands swell and his body cries for healthier home-cooked food. The impersonalism of traveling becomes very personal when you can enjoy private meals together.

The townhomes at the Ho'olei at the Grand Wailea here on Maui are of course a factor in creating the "wow" effect. The townhomes are gorgeously appointed 3 bedroom 3 1/2 bath oceanview 2-story buildings. The lanais have Wolf grills and 2 sub-zero refrigerators and freezers with a very large granite island. The facilities are spectacular.

However, what this experience made me realize is how important it is for intimacy and quality and special moments amongst families. Dinner time is importaant. This extended family took time out from their busy lives of families and careers and businesses to share quality time together on vacation. And by hiring me they were able to spend more time together and enjoy great food in the comfort of their home away from home. They didn't have to hire babysitters for the evening...the littlest ones were put to sleep and were monitored on baby monitors. The older ones could stay for as long as or as short as they wanted.

Some family members lingered for over 3 hours, some only 2. In a restaurant that could never have been possible. When one wanted to leave everyone would have to leave or the person who wanted to leave would have to stay and feel uncomfortable. The ease. The special moments. The conversations. The sunsets.

The children were fed. The lights went down. The wine glasses set on the table. The appetizer served. The meal made to order. The meals for the week were created with their preferences and choices. It was a win-win. I knew what they wanted and they could choose ahead of time. Every meal was different. Every experience was memorable.

I worked very hard this week but the rewards were tremendous. I pushed my culinary limits. I provided great cooking in a very intimate setting. I helped a family have an even better vacation here on Maui. It made me smile. It was a great experience because I was doing what I love and my guests were happy! They loved the fresh gourmet food. They loved the extra touches. And I know they loved the chocolate ganache cupcakes with fresh mango coconut cream! What more could I ask for.
Here's a quote from the mother of 3 who was really happy when she got back to Boise, Idaho!
I just wanted to say THANK YOU again for all of the wonderful meals you prepared and for your special accommodations for my kids and me. The fresh ingredients and light, healthy meal plans were fantastic, and I'm happy to say this was my first vacation ever where I did not gain weight -- that's right, not a single pound!! I give full credit to your healthful cooking, and I'm sure the attempted swim with the dolphins didn't hurt. :) Again, thanks so much. Bravo!
--Tessa M. (Boise, Idaho)--

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