The jobs began falling off in mid-March, when clients of Gourmet Events Hawaii started canceling their functions. Not only was the company threatened, but also the earnings of some 500 on-call workers who staffed the parties and other events that were its stock in trade.
Some relief has come through a collaboration — the Kau Kau Box — which partners Gourmet Events with its sister company, Aloha Hospitality Professionals, and chef Moumen El Hajji of Pacific In-Flight Catering.
Each weekly box includes prepared meals that serve four (two entrees, a soup, two starches, fresh bread and dessert), plus raw ingredients — Aloun Farms produce, fresh island fish and eggs, and another starch. By the way, the starch here is not plain rice. This week it’s mashed sweet potatoes and coconut polenta (to heat and eat) and fresh gnocchi (to cook later). Dessert is lilikoi panna cotta, in case you were wondering.
As for the main courses: They’re lemon grass pork chops and ginger- garlic chicken this week.
All told, a box holds the makings of up to eight meals — for $135. And if you can’t figure out what to do with, say, your fresh fish, you can chat online with El Hajji and he’ll help.
In five weeks, sales have reached 74 to 100 boxes per week, with plenty of room to grow.
CEO Kat Lin-Hurtubise said the company has recovered a quarter of its lost revenue. “That is so much better than nothing.”
The boxes are processed and delivered by many of those who once worked Gourmet Hawaii’s functions.
Other collaborations have provided more income for those same workers. Lin-Hurtubise said her company has helped other food delivery services meet skyrocketing demand for local meats and produce.
Coming up: A Mother’s Day brunch Kau Kau Box, available on May 9, comes with fresh-baked pastries and such items as chocolate French toast, for $80. With chocolates, a dozen roses and a mimosa kit, it’s $135.
Order through kaukauboxnow.com, 476-7295. Boxes are delivered ($15 fee) Thursdays or pick up at the John A. Burns Medical Center in Kakaako. A subscription service is in the works.