Communal Table Podcast: Kiki Aranita

The Poi Dog chef talks about closing her restaurant, collective trauma, and selling sauce.

Kiki Aranita
Photo: Claudia Gavin / Philly Mag

Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip, and subscribe to the weekly Food & Wine Pro newsletter so you never miss an episode. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Episode 88: Kiki Aranita

A year ago, Kiki Aranita was in Hong Kong for a cousin's wedding when she heard the first rumblings about a virus that was highly contagious and beginning to spread. There's no way she could have known that just months later, she'd have to shut down her much-loved Philadelphia restaurant Poi Dog because of its impact. It was an agonizing decision, but the multi-talented chef, writer, and artist is finding purpose in the pivot with a line of condiments that are based in her Hawaii heritage, making objects that soothe her soul, and finding new ways to keep the Poi Dog dream alive and thriving. She joined Communal Table for an in-depth conversation about the practical, financial, emotional, and intellectual work it takes to be a chef in an age of unrest.

Links and Resources

Learn more about Kiki:

Read: How It Feels to Close Your Restaurant for Good

Read: How Spam Became an Essential Part of Hawaiian Cuisine

Buy: Maui Lavender Ponzu Sauce / Chili Peppah Water

Instagram: @kikiaranita

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Previous episode: Holidays in Limbo

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