Chef Chai Chaowasaree of Chai's Island Bistro - Biography
Thai-born Chef Chai Chaowasaree started in the restaurant business as a child, purchasing product from the local farmers market for his parents’ restaurant. Today he is one of Hawaii’s most renowned chefs and restaurateurs, with Chai’s Island Bistro and Singha Thai Cuisine. He is perhaps most recognized by his TV shows “Dining Out with Chai,” where he delves into the seemingly endless list of Hawaiian products and cooking techniques, and “Passport Hawaii,” where he paired up with an Olympian and former Miss Universe.
Chaowasaree still keeps good company, especially in the culinary world. As co-founder of Hawaii Island Chefs, a collaborative with local farmers and fishermen, and as a large supporter of local musicians, Chaowasaree has become an influential force in the Hawaiian food ecosystem. Chaowasaree, who in the 1990s was nearly deported by Hawaiian immigration officials (a last-minute intervention by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prevented that fate), also serves as executive chef of Hawaiian Airlines, helping to design the in-flight meals with wine pairings by Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya. Having previously cooked for Hawaii’s governor, the prime ministers of Thailand and Indonesia, and the King and Queen of Malaysia, Chaowasaree is a fitting ambassador for Hawaii’s culinary movements, young and old.