Name: Kapua Paiaina
Restaurant: 6 Degrees Gourmet
Address: 1529 24th St. W.
Hours of operation: Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Background in cooking: I grew up in Hawaii and have cooked in restaurants for 14 years. My mother is from Montana and we moved here when I was 17. My father is a chef. He could make anything out of everything. I come from a large family, six sisters and one brother, and we didn’t always have the best financial situation, but Dad made it work. A lot of my recipes are family recipes. My one sister lived in Portland and she would tell me about a dish she had and I would try to make my version of it.
Special skills: Fish is my specialty. I like to cook ahi tuna and mahi mahi. We cook a lot of salmon here and we use cod for our fish tacos. We serve them with a sauce I make out of mayonnaise, mustard, molasses, honey, vinegar and garlic. It’s excellent. We needed a sauce one day to go on a bistro burger, so I put it together. My thing is, if it smells good, it usually is. Food is the one thing that can make anyone happy. You can get the grouchiest customer come in and have a bite of quiche, and you can see their mood change.
Restaurant’s signature dish: Our prime rib is fantastic. I cook it overnight. The horse radish rub is the owner Pam Shires’ recipe and it is excellent.
Favorite dish to fix yourself: Italian is my favorite. I’ll make some marinara with some homemade pasta.
Best cooking advice you can offer: Go with your instincts, definitely. A lot of people second guess themselves. You can always fix it if it doesn’t work. I was making scones one day and forgot the sugar. So I made a mango glaze to put on top. It turned out really good. Now we have a customer who asks for them.