Akamai Food Fit For A Movie Star

I first covered Cas Schwabe, owner of Akamai Juice Co., in the Jan. 18, 2012, issue of Kauai Midweek.

At the time, she was making delicious and nutritious juice blends from organic and local produce and selling them at the Hanalei farmers market. Since then, she has catered for an HBO mini-series, learned how to make scrumptious raw, vegan meals and is introducing a new line of services for Kauai residents.

When a dear friend who lived on Maui was diagnosed with cancer, Schwabe was quick to help. His cancer went into remission after drinking tea she made with noni, mamaki and soursop leaves as well as fresh ginger and turmeric. As a caterer in the film industry, he went to New Orleans to work on the set of HBO’s new series True Detective, scheduled to air Jan. 12.

When the cancer came back, he asked Schwabe to help him on set. While making food for actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, the show’s detectives, Schwabe learned the intricacies of a raw vegan diet.

“Woody’s been a strict organic raw vegan for 23 years,” Schwabe explains.

We are sitting on a bluff in Kilauea overlooking Secrets Beach. Her long, brown hair falls in a wave of loose curls. “He really helped me hone raw vegan cheffing, and he tells people that I’m one of the top three in the world!”

One of those people he told was McConaughey, who was born and raised in Texas and ate meat at every meal. By then end of production, he was on a gluten-free, raw vegan diet and stealing Harrelson’s meals.

“I brought Woody’s food into his bus and Matthew was there,” recalls Schwabe. “He took a bite of zucchini fries, and his eyes opened wide, he smiled, wagged his eyebrows and said, ‘Try these, Matthew, they’re off the Richter! And this barbecued tahini ketchup is crazy!’ Matthew tried it, along with my Falafel Dagwood sandwich, and literally walked off the bus with Woody’s plate of food!”

Sadly, Schwabe’s friend died, and when she returned to Kauai heartbroken, she decided to help people live healthy lives by offering ready made, organic, raw, vegan meals for pick up or delivery. As a personal chef, she added these meals to her existing clients’ menus, who were happy to try something new. Meals average between $10 and $15, but if you’re not sure about the whole raw vegan thing, Schwabe will make you a sample. If you want to give her money for her time and effort she’ll happily accept it, but she’s so confident you’ll be hooked, she’ll let you try before you buy.

Inspired when Harrelson did a 17-day juice cleanse, Schwabe decided to include that service as well. Many people overindulge during the holidays, and her four-day cleanse is an opportunity to detoxify while losing weight.

“Some families that were born and raised here for generations aren’t sure how to make these juices,” explains Schwabe. “I give them customized recipes and we include the kids. They love watching things go in solid and come out liquid!”

The cleanse, ($30 per day, delivery service extra), includes four 16-ounce juice servings, 32 ounces of flavored water, two herbal tea bags and directions.

Akamai Juice Co.’s regular line of juice blends is available at the Hanalei farmers market and The Garden Cafe.

Check out this week’s farmers market column for Schwabe’s popular Wellness Shot recipe.

Akamai Juice Co.

Marta Lane is a Kauai-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.