Kiki Aranita

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Kiki Aranita

RESTAURANT

HOMETOWN

Philadelphia, PA

Kiki Aranita spent seven years as co-chef and owner of Poi Dog, a restaurant and catering company that served Hawaii’s local food. She closed its Center City Philadelphia location in July 2020 but has kept the brand alive in large-scale pop ups and retail sauces. 

For years, her goals involved celebrating the underrepresented cuisines of multicultural origins and collaborating with other chefs. She has continued to cook, through chef residencies at Jose Garces’ Volver, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bok Bar and more.

Kiki is a columnist for San Pellegrino’s Fine Dining Lovers (she writes the monthly column The Next Course) and has written many food features and personal and travel narratives for Edible Philly, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Food and Wine, Roads and Kingdoms and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, as well as recipes for many other publications and platforms. She has created content, recipes, and recipe-driven videos for companies such as La Colombe Coffee, Savencia Cheese, Vitamix Commercial, Sakara Life and the Norwegian Seafood Council. 

She teaches Hawaiian food culture through Penn Museum’s International Classroom, and recipe development at Drexel University. At the end of 2020, she launched a line of retail sauces rooted in Poi Dog’s Hawaii-style cuisine that is available nationwide.

Kiki is also a fiber artist who works mostly with rescuing scrap yarn and turning it into crocheted and embroidered sculpture. Her works have been featured in art magazine spreads and at galleries around the nation. Her solo exhibition, Yarned Snacks, Sauces and Tins is on view at the Philadelphia International Airport through June 2022.

Awards & Accolades

  • James Beard Foundation, Media award nominee - 2022