NCK: Chef Navi’s Story

Hello everyone, this is Chef Navi, and I would like to share my journey with you all. 

I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Fiji. Growing up I had a passion for cooking, and I followed the lead of my uncle who was a great cook for wedding, big gathering and galas. I would occasionally help with events. My passion for food grew more and which led me to taking culinary art degree. Upon graduating college I met my wife and life partner Kaajal and moved to Denver, Colorado where I had the opportunity to work as a line cook at the Brown Place, a presidential suite hotel. From being a line cook I was promoted to a lead line cook with in a year and moved up to the fine dining restaurant, and also became a father.

I moved to friendly PNW after spending 3 years in Denver, mostly working for Hilton family hotels after a bit of time at some of the Restaurant Unlimited flagship restaurants, including Beecher’s Cheese and Pasta & Co. I opened my first hotel in Downtown Seattle as the Executive Chef & Food and Beverage Manager at the Hilton Garden Inn on Boren and Stewart. In 2009 my parents joined me here in Seattle. Like every other successful chef, I was driven by my passion for food and reaching my goal to be on the top. In 2016 I was hired by Hilton Seattle as an Executive Chef, Food and Beverage manager, the same year that child number two came along.

While working at the Hilton, full time I also started to work as a Personal Chef, which lead me to testing the waters of becoming an Entrepreneur. I decided to venture out and open my own catering company after child number three came along. With the help of all my industry folks and my supportive family, who is always behind me with all my goals, I decided to open Navi’s Catering Kitchen in Lynnwood January 2018. 

My goal is to offer great catering, in-Home dining and cooking classes for the local community, and also a unique event space to host events. Through education, teamwork and continuous improvement, I am excited to continue my journey and hope you will stay tuned for more, as my Commercial Kitchen and the event space is under construction. 

I want to thank my parents, wife, and kids who are the biggest cheer leaders through my journey and also would like to thank each individual who had given me courage, believed in me, stood beside me through this success journey. I really appreciate you all.

Recipe: Banana leaf wrapped Halibut

Ingredients

· Banana leaf 1 Pack

· 1lb halibut fillet

· 1 can of coconut cream (12oz)

· 1 whole pineapple

· 1 red bell pepper

· 1 green bell pepper

· 3 lemons

· 1lb jasmine rice

· 4oz mustard seed

· 2 quarts of heavy cream

· 1 cup of chicken stock

· 10 toothpicks

· 1 medium yellow onion

· 1 clove of minced garlic

· 4oz Chives

Directions

FISH

1. Rinse halibut under cold running water, pat dry with paper towels

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste

3. Wrap the filet in the banana leaf, pin in place with toothpicks

4. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes

5. Remove from oven, and unwrap the banana leaf in the middle of the plate

SAUCE

1. Peel and core the pineapple, cut in half

2. Puree one half, set other half aside

3. Dice both bell peppers

4. Mix can of coconut cream with pureed pineapple, diced bell peppers, lemon juice from 1 lemon, and salt and pepper to taste

5. Once fish is plated, drizzle sauce and garnish with chives

RICE

1. Rinse 2 cups of jasmine rice with cool water to remove starch

2. Sautee onion, mustard seed and garlic, until onions are translucent

3. In a 2” half pan, put rinsed rice 3 cups of chicken stock, 1 cup of heavy cream and garlic mixture

4. Cover pan with foil and bake in oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes

5. Remove from oven, mix to fluff, and plate on the banana leaf next to fish

GRILLED PINEAPPLE (Optional)

1. Slice the half pineapple into 1/2” sections

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste

3. Grill for 2 minutes on each side, or until marks appear

4. Plate on the banana leaf next to fish

Bacon & Beer Classic 2018

Did the first word to catch your attention start with B and end with Acon? I’m sure it did.

This year we are honored to be a part of a pretty awesome annual event – The Bacon and Beer Classic.

If you don’t already know, the Bacon and Beer classic is a traveling festival that makes its way all over the country to display 30+ food vendors who use their unique styles to push boundaries on how bacon can be used in a variety of dishes.

This event is for anyone who really enjoys bacon with a side of beer. Well, except for vegetarians.

The Bacon and Beer Classic strives to reach out to local, newer restaurants and private chef/caterers to participate in the festival and we just couldn’t say no!

Navi has been working hard to create fun, edgy and hip ways to enjoy bacon and we have a LOT in store for everyone that is coming.

I don’t want to ruin too many surprises, however, we figured a few sneak peek photos of these amazing three dishes Navi will be presenting the public with.

This is the 5th year of the Bacon and Beer Classic event and this will be the biggest one yet. You can expect MORE beer, MORE food and MORE people than ever before! There will even be games to participate in, like a Bacon Eating Contest! Say what?! This is a bacon lover’s dream.

Can you guess what type of dishes we will be serving? Is your mouth watering yet from all of the bacon talk? If so – make sure you buy a ticket for the Bacon and Beer Classic for this month!

See you there!