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New Kauai Food Tour Guide

Katherine Smithers at home on Kauai – photo courtesy of Katherine Smithers

Tasting Kauai’s new food tour guide is Katherine Smithers. We have been training her for two weeks and tomorrow she’ll be guiding her first solo tour. She will run two tours every week and Dan and I will guide one. Katherine tells me she relocated to Kauai to be closer to family and work on sustainable farming/perma-culture projects with the goal of owning a farm and growing all of her family’s food. She brings a passion for food, a welcoming attitude and experience to our food tours. She’s a perfect fit for us, but I’ll let her tell you more!
My name is Katherine and my husband, Roel Faber, and I have recently made Kauai our home! I grew up in Virginia and in 2011, graduated from the University of South Carolina. Since then, I’ve lived in six countries in Central and South America from Costa Rica to Chile. I worked as a teacher, a research assistant, on a permaculture or ‘food-forest’ farm, and in hospitality. I worked on a farm on an island in Panama for a gentleman who had his first large project in Hawaii. Many of the tropical fruits, seeds and berries I worked with there overlap with those here. On these travels, I met Roel, who is from the Netherlands and just happens to be a phenomenal cook. He attended culinary school outside of Amsterdam and has been working as a chef for more than thirteen years.

Katherine and Roel.

While traveling and working I left plenty of time to explore the rich culture and, of course, delicious foods of every locale. I quickly learned that shopping local markets and eating street fare are the keys to the heart of each country’s foods. El Salvadorian vendors will give you a pupusa, a Suprema beer and fresh plantain chips for about $1.50 – all you could ever need!
My favorite food to prepare is curry. While working on the permaculture farm, we were two boat rides away from any type of grocery store, there were no vehicles or roads on the island, and besides a stocked supply of rice and beans, everything came from our daily harvest in the garden and trees. Curried rice and veggies with fresh pineapple or banana on top were our saving grace for flavor! A blend of curry spices can make anyone feel like a great chef.
After so much time spent in the heart of Latin communities, we relocated to Miami. This is where I first was hired as a culinary guide. With a base of knowledge of Latino cuisines and a necessary fluency in Spanish, I started giving tours all over the city. In Charleston, SC, I also worked as a foodie guide – considered the best city for historically based traditional Southern home cooking. It is really an incredible job to be able to share local cuisines with visitors from all over the world.
I am so happy to have landed here on the lush island of Kauai and be lucky enough to continue this study of cultures and cuisines. I am very outgoing, an avid storyteller and a quick learner. I love to impart and share knowledge with people (especially about food!). I’m thrilled to be working with Tasting Kauai to get to know the foods that are 100 percent Kauai grown and meet all the people behind them!
I found that food is the gateway into the heart of each and every culture. I love preparing foods and drinks from all over the world – at our home we brew kombucha and beer, infuse homemade limoncello, create herbal tinctures, bake our own bread and grow as many herbs and veggies to incorporate into our dishes as possible! Cooking is not only an art form but also a form of mediation and connection to where you are.