#097 – Amanda Smith: How Menehune Chef Brings Cooking Education & Community to Hawaiian Children

  • December 25, 2018


Amanda Smith is the Founder and Executive Director of Menehune Chef, a non-profit that offers functional, intuitive, and practical cooking education to children on the Garden Island of Kauai, using all local Hawaiian-sourced ingredients. They work with local chefs and farmers to really infuse the essence of community involvement, sustainable living, and locally-grown ingredients into the lives of these children.


Amanda’s vision is to impact future generations – starting with a single poi smoothie – and generate a powerful movement that will be shared through our keiki (or “the little ones”) of Hawaii.


“Believe in your own passion… how much energy you put into it is really what’s going to resonate the most!” –Amanda Smith


P.S. If you’re not familiar with Menehune – and I sure wasn’t – they are a mythological dwarf people from Hawaiian legend who are hidden and far away from human civilization, said to have built communities in the forests and valleys of Hawaii before the first Polynesian settlers arrived. It connects back to that word keiki, Amanda’s inspiration throughout her journey creating and running this wonderful organization!


“What is Menehune Chef? Cooking with sustainable foods on the Hawaiian islands!” –Amanda Smith


We also discuss:

  • Creating something bigger in the world through cooking and community
  • Why Kauai is so special to Amanda
  • Amanda’s spiritual awakening
  • The life-changing power of Poi, a Hawaiian dish created from the fermented root of the taro
  • Living in Hawaii is expensive, which makes eating healthy expensive
  • Hawaii as a food truck nation
  • How Menehune Chefs finds the space and ingredients to offer their cooking classes – and what they still need
  • When children develop their taste buds
  • Creating a Menehune Chef children’s show for TV
  • The Bruschetta Basil Blast


The Triple B: Bruschetta Basil Blast


  • 8 Roma tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small wedge of local lemon
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan (or regular if you don’t mind dairy)
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp Hawaiian sea salt (or something similar)
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup rice



  • Heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Combine first 5 ingredients and toss together
  • Cut chicken breasts in half
  • Rub ground pepper and sea salt on top of the chicken
  • Add parmesan onto chicken
  • Drizzle olive oil on the top of chicken
  • Bake for 45 minutes
  • Cook your rice (Amanda uses coconut water instead of regular water)
  • When you chicken is cooled, put it on top of the rice and pour the bruschetta ingredients in your bowl on top of it




Amanda Smith’s Bio:

Amanda started her journey in health education at the University of Hawaii, where she majored in Early Childhood education. She has over a decade of expertise working for three different non-profit organizations and educating the Kauai community on current health curricula, Life skills training, positive action, mother daughter circles, and youth camps. Amanda is passionate about increasing children’s awareness about nutrition and health. She currently is spreading her vision of healthy cooking to all Hawaiian islands.

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