If you recall a few years ago, I featured several badass women chefs in Philadelphia who are absolutely crushing it. I’m happy to say those women chefs are still kicking ass and taking names.
In honor of Women’s History Month, I will feature some more women chefs in Philadelphia you should know. I won’t have time to cover them all but will try to celebrate as many as possible. These ambitious women chefs are busy blazing trails and contributing so much to the Philadelphia food scene.
The first chef I’d like to feature is Kiki Aranita. She’s a woman chef you should know! I’ve been following her for years; since her Poi Dog food truck days. To say she has come a long way is an understatement. Her past accomplishments are many, and she continues to work hard.
Who is Chef Kiki Aranita?
Chef Kiki Aranita is one of the nation’s leading chefs with a truly unique talent stack that goes beyond traditional culinary and restaurant skills. Half from Hawaii and half from Hong Kong, Kiki honors her roots through her cooking, retail products and even her own line of niche fiber art.
Poi Dog, Chef Kiki Aranita’s signature brand, started as a humble food truck and evolved into a brick and mortar restaurant, introducing the flavors of Hawaii with Kiki’s own unique spin and interpretations. Despite the pandemic forcing the closure of Poi Dog’s Philadelphia restaurant, the brand lives on with Kiki’s line of signature sauces, seasonings, and merchandise available online with shipping nationwide.
Chef Kiki’s culinary prowess has resulted in a multitude of national brand partnerships. Notable collaborations include custom meals via Sakara alongside content, recipes, and videos for brands such as La Colombe Coffee, Savencia Cheese and Vitamix.
Chef Kiki’s passion for the culinary field is also highlighted through her work in food and travel journalism, with contributions in Food & Wine Magazine, USA Today, Fine Dining Lovers and more.
Chef Kiki has also channeled her creativity and created a line of niche fiber art, which is currently on display at the Philadelphia airport.
Beyond business ventures and culinary development, Kiki is skilled in teaching and instruction – she currently holds positions as adjunct professor at both the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, where she educates on culinary, hospitality and travel related topics. She also teaches virtually for Context Travel, where she most recently hosted a virtual poke making demo in February 2022.
What is Chef Kiki Aranita up to?
Kiki participated in Volver’s Chef in Residency program last Fall.
Most recently, Kiki collaborated with Philadelphia hotspot Middle Child Clubhouse for a special Valentine’s Day tropical beach themed celebration.
Kiki has created a new, custom menu to be available at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of their Chef in Residence program, available from Friday, March 4th through Sunday, March 6th.
On March 8, Kiki will be leading a seminar at the Free Library of Philadelphia: Culinary Literacy Center surrounding Hawaii’s Multicultural Food World.
Not to mention, Chef Kiki married fellow Philadelphia chef Ari Miller (of Musi) and enjoyed a destination wedding in Mexico with a honeymoon in Morocco! They also fit in time for a trip back to visit her family residing in Hawaii.
If this is the past year Chef Kiki has had, 2022 and beyond looks pretty damn exciting. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for her! Follow her Instagram to keep up.
Let us know another women chef to feature. Get in touch!
Food enthusiast. Travel lover. Social media maven.
Independent Journalist. Food marketing/PR expert.