About Chef Leslie

About LeslieWould you believe that I used to be overweight? A smoker? Had acne? It’s true! By changing my diet, I overcame the challenges that I faced.

Growing up Pacific Northwest, like most people in the US, I ate a typical standard American diet filled with meat, dairy products, sugar and other refined ingredients, and especially loved 2 Big Macs, French fries, and a coke after my soccer games. My body tolerated this until I hit puberty, and then suddenly, I began gaining weight, getting terrible acne, and feeling very grumpy and discontented about life. My mom came home one day and told my sisters and me, “We’re changing our diets.” I remember thinking at the time that she had really ‘lost it’. I’m so grateful to her now for planting that seed. It set me on a path towards increasingly better health. She always taught me that the most important asset I’ll ever own is good health.

Since changing my own diet many times over the years, my health has fluctuated. Being vegan in my early 20?s was great, for a while, but then my body got very out of balance, so I went back to eating meat. That created different problems! When I began studying and practicing macrobiotic principles while living in Japan, I felt simply in awe by the amazing power of food in my own life, as well as in the lives of other people I met practicing macrobiotics, and this provided a whole new framework for me to view health, happiness, and well-being. Along with practicing yoga, suddenly I had more energy than ever before, my skin cleared, and my struggles with weight gain, problems with allergies, and other conditions dramatically improved. Surprisingly, my lifelong fear of public speaking faded. My family wanted to know what I was doing, and would I please cook for them!

I believe that good health comes from the holistic integration of spiritual values, diet, and lifestyle. Of what benefit is a healthy diet if we are lonely and unhappy, or have relationships that drain us, for example? For me, health means having aspects of our life in balance, bringing forth vitality, an intangible force that cannot be measured, yet this vibrance can be felt and seen by others. Of course, to achieve this, diet is very important. So is consciously attending to our lifestyle, attitudes, emotions, and relationships, as well as contemplating how we treat Mother Earth.

From these experiences, I have a passion to share the transformative power of whole foods and healthy living with others. Cooking and sharing the secrets of vitality have become not only my profession, but my personal mission. I am especially known for being non-judgmental with clients and for meeting people where ever they are in their current process.

My full mission statement is here.

As a Level 3 graduate of the Kushi International Extension Program in Osaka, Japan, I mastered “Samurai Macrobiotics”, a holistic approach to well-being. My studies included cooking, facial diagnosis, food and lifestyle changes that provide both prevention and healing from modern ailments, macrobiotic principles, and macrobiotic shiatsu bodywork.

In addition, I have 25 years experience in food service, including working in a wide variety of restaurants through college and people’s homes for private parties. I’m a skillfully flexible and adaptable cook as a result of working in adventurous situations such as on boats, for airplanes, in campers in the middle of the woods, and in other off-the-beaten-path situations (in addition to people’s homes). I sincerely love to see people smiling, happy, and feeling great after one of my vegan macrobiotic meals.

I’m a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a MA in teaching, and since 1999, have worked at various respected academic institutions island-wide. My skills and training in education help me teach cooking more professionally.

I also worked for 3 years at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii in Natural Products and Cancer Biology and have several peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Terry Shintani, MD (known for The Hawaii Diet) employs me as part of his healing team

Vegan Mainstream
Get Going Girly: Our Inspiring Woman From Hawaii
Hawaii Business Magazine
Hawaii Modern Luxury
Hawaii Hospitality

HILuxury Magazine Aug-Sept 2015

Class Acts

I hold an extensive liability insurance policy as safety is a top priority.

YOUR TURN! Would you like to achieve better health? Find out how easy and delicious healthy cooking can be? It’s entirely possible!  Let’s talk and get started with your extraordinary life now!

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