A Special place for Special people.
We've even given ourselves a special name... Kahikians. Today we are almost 200 Kahikians strong and we come from 22 different countries. Even though we work in different areas, we all have the same goal... to make great tasting Asian food we can be proud of. Some of the people who work here today also worked at the original Kahiki restaurant many years ago. They've stayed with us as the company has grown from a single restaurant, to a nationally distributed frozen food company. They've stayed because the feeling of pride has never changed. And because at our core, we still believe in taking care of each other and taking care in each and every product we make for you.
Get To Know Us
THE Foo Fighters (Human Resources & Strategic Projects)
In general, people/companies need resources and strategy. THE Foo provides exactly that. As a team, we work very hard to take this responsibility to the next level. How do we do this? We are out of the box thinkers. We onboard the best talent (which means we only hire people with great attitudes), we train our teammates and we constantly work cross departmentally to provide new and innovative solutions to continue the massive growth of our company. Whether we talk culture, development, curated beer fest- we always have two things in mind- our teammates and Kahikilandia!
There are three of us under the Dragon Boat Drummer, Juanita Simpson. Read below to find out more about THE Foo Fighters.
Hi, I’m Debbie Kapes, the Trail Boss at Kahiki. A “trail boss” is the person responsible for driving a herd of cattle. While I would never refer to my teammates as such, part of my role here is to ensure that our office is organized and in tip-top shape which requires serious multi-tasking and a little nagging. It is important as a Kahikian to be positive, enthusiastic, warm, energetic and a lot of fun. That is why being part of the FOO Fighters is a perfect fit for me. The best part of my job is… well… just about everything. My teammates and I have a blast almost every single day, and on days that we don’t, we still have a darn good time. Sure, we get a lot of challenges -work load, deadlines and the pressure to be perfect – but I see them as opportunities to see how far we can push ourselves, excel at what we do, and be stronger as a team.
I relocated from Cleveland to Columbus in July of 2015 to be closer to my two children, but especially to be able to spend time with my granddaughter, Lily. When I see the world through her eyes, my own world is enriched.
Hello there! My name is Michael A. Martinez, the HR Prana of Kahiki. You might be wondering what it takes to be ‘THE’ HR Prana. Prana is a yoga term that means the Original Life Force. Its origin comes from the Sanskrit syllables “pra” (constant) and “an” (movement). Therefore it means constant motion.
That’s exactly who I am and what I do at Kahiki. As part of the FOO, I focus my life force into fostering a work environment that promotes FUN, OPENNESS & OPPORTUNITY. HR covers a multitude of areas that require me to be constantly in motion and prepared for anything. From helping employees with benefits to wearing turkey hats to make them smile, I pride myself in being there for those that I work with.
When I’m not changing lives at Kahiki, I like to spend time at the gym working on this body. When I’m not at the gym I can be found ordering something from a drive-thru or ordering a pizza, completely counteracting any efforts made at the gym. Outside of that I enjoy going out with friends, flying down to Texas to visit family (yes I had to mention TEXAS) and hunting for new shoes.
PS: We’re still hiring. Spread the word
Hi, I’m Carole. If you are looking for the Kahikian who is excited to start “lighting the way” envisioning Kahiki’s bright future through strategic projects, that would be me, the Tiki Torchbearer. What might my daily torch-time look like?
- Learning from our over 200 amazingly talented Kahikians about their specific contributions to Kahiki’s radiant growth!
- Listening to suggestions of which fun festivals or fairs we will be participating in next!
- Discovering what magical new sweet and spicy sauce is being created today!
- Viewing our latest Yum Yum Stix video that will be posted live in the next few hours!
- Encouraging our entrepreneurial passion to shine!
As the newest member of the FOO Fighters(Fun-Open-Opportunity) team, where daily wacky humor is the norm, my imaginative fire is constantly being stoked. Being the Tiki Torchbearer is the perfect fit for me. The creative force of my job meshes with one of the other passions in my life: fine art. When I am not focusing on cravers of bold and exciting Asian foods, I’m hopping a plane to spend time with family and loved ones in Portland, Oregon – and connecting with my extraordinary artist friends.
The Wu Tang Clan
The Wu (short for Wu Tang Clan) is made up of the leaders in each department in the company, who stir together the passion, creativity and expertise of our fellow Kahikians to make great products for you. As a growing, entrepreneurial, private company, we lead our business with purpose and values, and we are always looking for ways to do something extraordinary to excite and inspire our fans. And doing what we do with other people who love Asian food make this “work” a lot of fun. We believe that our focus on purpose, values and fun sets us apart from other big food companies, with their obsessive focus on profits, stock price, and maintaining the status quo.
There are six of us in the Wu, and we all have a story to tell. Check us out below: …
Martin Kelly - Big Kahuna
I am Martin Kelly, and as the Big Kahuna at Kahiki, I spend my days working on strategy, culture, and helping our team to achieve great things. We have a very diverse team at Kahiki, and that diversity gives us rich perspective and lots of interesting ideas about how to excite our customers, and create a great future.
I joined Kahiki in 2014, and the special ingredient I bring to Kahiki is my passion and focus. I have always believed that you should love your work, and I love what I do at Kahiki--- I love the business, I love the Kahiki family (Ohana), and I love our food. I have been fortunate enough to have had some great experiences over the years, and those experiences have helped me work with my fellow Kahikians to develop a company full of opportunity with an extraordinarily bright future. In truth, I get up (early) every day excited about the work I do, and where we are headed as a company. I enjoy engaging in vigorous debate, testing new ideas, and challenging the status quo (while listening to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and George Thorogood)! When I am not at Kahiki, my passions are my family, reading and craft beer, and my wife and I are frequently travelling to visit our children and grandchildren.
Here is some other info about me that might explain a few things:
Favorite Kahiki Products: Crispy Tempura-Asian Style BBQ Chicken (new!), Stir Fresh-Beef & Broccoli, Steam & Serve-Chicken Lo Mein, Family Feast-Chicken Fried Rice, Bowl & Roll-Chicken Pad Thai, Snacks & Apps-Toasted Sesame Chicken Yum Yum Stix, Savory Sides-Sesame Noodles (new!)
Favorite Craft Beer(s): Dogfishead 60 Minute IPA (my “standard”), Pyramid Snow Cap Ale (winter seasonal), Magic Hat Wacko (limited release), Four String Suncaster (local summer beer)
Favorite Quote: “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” - Andrew Carnegie
Scott Corey - Master of Magical Moments & Multimedia
Why am I the “Master of Magical Moments”? Well creating magical moments is why I’ve always loved Marketing. Creating the video you can’t stop watching, the product story you have to read to the end, eating the last bite of Sesame Ginger Chicken … then licking the sauce off the plate, the colorful package you can’t put down… they are all magical moments in their own special way. Of course magical moments are in our DNA here at Kahiki so I really have a pretty easy job (don’t tell my boss). Really… who doesn’t love good Asian food??
Not only do I have to be magical at the office, but in order to keep up with my three boys and busy wife at home… plenty of magic is involved. Some say I’m magical with a tennis racquet, golf club or ping pong paddle in my hand as well. When I get time to sit down and enjoy some Asian food between games or while on location at a shoot I usually go for Chicken Pad Thai or General Tso’s Chicken… with Potstickers (while listening to Van Halen of course). But I like it spicy, so I always have to have a bottle of Sriracha sauce, red chili pepper paste or Sriracha Mayo on hand to kick it up!
Matt Szerencsits - Jikijitsu of Finance and Supply Chain
Hi, I’m Matt Szerencsits, and I am the Jikijitsu of Finance and Supply Chain. What is a Jikijitsu you might ask? Simply stated, I make sure everyone is on-time and that everything is running smoothly. We take pride in insuring our customers get what they want, when they need it, and we will go to great lengths to make sure that happens.
Some may consider me a strict disciplinarian and a bit stuffy, but those that know me best know better. I’m very competitive, been known to belt out a few verses of “Rappers Delight” without warning, and I can still do backflips on the trampoline even though I am certainly past my prime. I’ve also started a growing trend in the office by replacing my chair with a yoga ball. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. While at home I enjoy traveling around the country with my wife and children while supporting them in their many activities. Gymnastics and Track meets are two of my favorite events to attend.
I’ve been fortunate to work at Kahiki for 7 years. It’s exciting to be part of a growing company that is on an amazing trajectory with so much runway ahead of us. My favorite Kahiki products are our Yum-Yum Sticks and Potstickers.
Juanita Simpson - Dragon Boat Drummer
Aloha! Have you ever seen a Dragon Boat race? You know what I am talking about- the artistic boat that has a dragon head up front, a drummer in the back and about 20 people paddling in the same direction. Well at Kahiki, I am that Dragon Boat Drummer. Except instead of beating a drum I am playing 90’s pop and instead of 20 people I am responsible for keeping over 200 people paddling on beat and in the same direction.
I know people who gripe about going to work every day and I am proud to say that I am not in that “boat”. I love walking in to the smell of eggrolls and hearing the sounds of ping pong balls hitting the floor or someone breaking at the pool table. Most of all, I love coming in daily and leading the FOO Fighters (Fun-Open-Opportunity). Much like our Korean-Style BBQ Pork Yum-Yum Stix- we are a spicy bunch! The team is comprised of HR & Strategic Project teammates who have the right attitude and aptitude to take us to the next level.
When I am not out with the team taste testing our way through Columbus, I am at home with my husband competing for the household wheel of fortune champion title.
Mike Williams - Sōsa Gaido
Hey! I’m Mike Williams and I’m the Sōsa Gaido at Kahiki...hint it’s pronounced “guy-doe”. What is a Sōsa Gaido you ask? It loosely translates to, “Operations Guide”. My role at Kahiki is just that, guide our incredible operations team as we produce great tasting food. I take great pride in the work our team does to deliver products to our consumers meanwhile enjoying the comradery all throughout the process. I mean come on, how can I not be excited about making BOLD and EXCITING products like Yum Yum Stix, Bowl & Roll, and Family Feast?!
I’ve quite literally grown up as a Kahikian, having joined the company in 2008 as in intern in our management training program. Since then my experiences at Kahiki have taken me through a wild and rewarding journey throughout various roles in our operation during a time period Kahiki has nearly doubled in size. I bleed Scarlet and Gray having obtained a BS and MBA from THE Ohio State University so you could say I enjoy watching the football team a little. While I’m away from Kahiki, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter. I also can’t get enough of going to the top of any mountain and skiing or biking my way down.
Bob Helland - Sensei of Sales
I am Bob Helland, a/k/the Sensei of Sales at Kahiki Foods. My role is to make sure the sales team is bringing passion, expertise and impact to all of our customers. In truth, as the Sensei, I am more of a teacher than a sales person. The word Sensei in general Japanese usage means teacher. So I work to educate the Sales Ninja’s and Samurai to be a best in breed sales team. We work hard but we have a lot of fun along the way.
I also consider it my job to be the resident comedian, and my specialty is bald guy jokes. Did I mention that the Big Kahuna is bald?
I joined Kahiki in October of 2014 and I can honestly say this is the first company I have worked for that works hard every day to deliver on the values we have plastered on the wall. We actually have fun at work! We are encouraged to take chances and make mistakes. It’s how you learn! Open honest communication is the norm. How cool is it that?
When I am not at work, my wife and I like to travel, stay in shape by doing Crossfit, running half marathons and trying new restaurants in and around the Columbus area.
Land of Shock and Awe (Marketing)
Without Marketing, Kahiki is just great tasting food that no one has heard of before. At least, we like to think so! We may be a small department within the company, but we know how to get the word out and spread the love about our favorite Asian food. We are the analysis that goes into the sales ninjas’ decision-making; the people you interact with on social media and customer service; the packaging you place in your cart at your local grocery store; the coupons you receive in the mail. We love letting the world know what a tasty company we work for!
There are three of us under the Master of Magical Moments and Multimedia, Scott Corey. Read below to find out more about The Land of Shock and Awe.
I’m Sarah Bogan. As the Empress of Surprises and Delights, I rule the Stir It Up Club and Social Media kingdoms. My goal is to spread Good Karma to Kahiki fans. Whether its via phone, Facebook, or email, I leave a trail of Good Karma tokens wherever I wander. Interact with Kahiki, and there’s a good chance you’ll get one!
In addition to floating around online, I enjoy roaming the real world and hosting travelers. My favorite vacations are unplanned trips to foreign countries. I’m a seasoned couchsurfer, and I once traveled for a month on $1,000 (including destinations to NYC, New Orleans, and the Dominican Republic). My philosophy is simple: People are generally good, and good is General Tso’s.
Hi, I’m Mark Toothman, the Teller of Tall Tales & Numbers at Kahiki. What does the Teller do at Kahiki? I look deeply into the abyss of consumer data to pull out trends related to the market. My time is spent analyzing data to better improve our understanding of Asian food preferences to create products that consumers most want. I then weave this information into a consistent story that can be used by other members of the Kahiki Team.
When I’m not busy trying to read the tea leaves, most of my time revolves around my family. My wife and I have six boys, two dogs, a cat, and a turtle. Most of my time is spent running between sporting events and practices. You may run into me in my hometown of Newark, Ohio. I’ll be the guy proudly wearing the Kahiki shirt. To relax, I always enjoy a good story. Sometimes this involves a good book or taking in a movie. I’m kind of a traditionalist when it comes to my favorite Kahiki products. I still enjoy our General Tso’s chicken. I also like our Yum Yum Stix and Potstickers as a snack or an addition to a meal.
Hi, I’m Katie Whitling and the Wizard of Crayons and Cartoons at Kahiki! What does being a Wizard mean? Well, it involves a lot of wand waving and magic spells to conjure the best possible strategic designs in advertisements, package layouts, logos, apparel and internal communication. Proudly the only Mac user in the company, for me there’s nothing better than being able to hold a final printed product after taking it from basic concept on paper to computer screen. That’s where the true Wizardry lies!
When I’m not designing the latest creation, I am out running the streets (or trails) around Columbus prepping for my next marathon. I love distance running! And eating. Runger is real and requires constant vigilance. When I’m not at my desk, I can be found in Chinatown Chowdown sampling the latest creation from my R&D friends. My favorite Kahiki products are Chicken Lo Mein and Pork Potstickers!
Research & Development (R&D)
Kahiki's R&D department is the center of all we do at Kahiki. It's where we brainstorm new ideas, create new dishes, develop new and different combinations of Asian food, and where we use your feedback to create convenient meals for you and your families. We work in a fun place so we gave our kitchen a fun name… the Chinatown Chowdown! We spend a lot of time there, so we've made it a fun place to be with music, a wide variety of delicious Asian spices, seasonings and sauces, and lots of yummy food … after all you can't be creative without having fun too. We've been told that each of us are a little Asian food "crazy". That's ok with us. We each have our own personal specialties and favorites, but together we make a great team and love creating new dishes for you, our Kahiki fans.
There are four of us that make up Kahiki's R&D team, here's a little more about each of us…
Hello, I'm Janet Sprouse and I really love food. So much so that I've spent over 20 years working in the food industry. Most of that time has been with fast food restaurants, a pizza chain, and now with Kahiki frozen food. I'm a busy Mom too (I have two sons), so the convenience of frozen food is important to keep my family running on time. And you know how much teenage boys eat! My title here at Kahiki is the "Seeker of Happy Belly". I've always found that if your belly is happy, you are happy too. What makes my belly happiest… when I eat out at Asian restaurants, usually my favorite dish is Kung Pao Chicken. However, here at Kahiki, my favorite item is our Chicken Lo Mein. My boys love our Kahiki tempura chicken, so I always have to have a couple of those in the freezer at home.
When I'm not at work, I'm usually whipping up a batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies or trying something new off Pinterest. I also have a green thumb… I love gardening. That includes both flowers and vegetable, like zucchini which I bring in to the Chowdown to share with coworkers. My parents taught me to garden when I was growing up and it has stuck with me all these years, even while getting my master's degree in Food Science at Michigan State University.
Hi, I'm Christina Mallow, a.k.a. the "Maestro of Umami!" What is a Maestro of Umami you might ask? Well, being a Maestro of Umami isn't easy… it's like conducting a symphony of flavors that have to work together to create the perfect combination. Challenging… Yes, but it's worth it when I find that perfect combination. When I'm not eating Asian food, I'm usually reading or learning more about it… which is why they call me a Maestro. I'm also being certified here at Kahiki as a Sensei of the Wok which means I am our culinary expert in a certain area. For me, that includes our Appetizers and Single Serve entrees, and also means I am an expert on other frozen products in those areas so I have to keep up with current trends … yes, that means eating more Asian food!
I came to Kahiki with six years of food safety management experience and a degree in Food Science from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). My favorite Kahiki item is our Pork Potstickers which is also what I usually order as an appetizer at restaurants. I have one son at home and he really loves our Crispy Tempura Chicken. My son likes helping me in the kitchen at home, so I bought him his own whisk and spatula which he likes to use making cookies, of course!
I'm Wing Monge and I've been with Kahiki now for 12 years. Asian food is close to my heart because I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in my family restaurant in California. Because we owned a restaurant, many of my happiest childhood memories come from the restaurant, making new things, and spending time with family and friends there. Working at Kahiki is very much like those restaurant days, but more creative. Here at Kahiki, I'm known as our "Maestro of Kokumi." I chose this name because Kokumi refers to the mysterious 6th taste that can be detected on your tongue, and means 'heartiness' in Japanese. I came up with the name for our Kitchen, "Chinatown Chowdown", because it literary means eating your way through Chinatown.
Even when I'm at home with my family I try to make our meals as healthy, delicious and authentic as I can with my nutrition degree from Cal Poly. This means I have to get a lot of the ingredients from Asian supermarkets since they aren't carried in most grocery stores. My favorite kind of Asian food is Singapore Noodles and someday I hope we bring this type of food to Kahiki. My favorite Kahiki product is our Yum Yum Stix, it reminds me of the little spring rolls we made in our restaurant back in California.
Hi, my name is Gabby Mateen and my role here at Kahiki is that of "Suiji Chef". Suiji is Japanese for Cooking and Culinary Arts which I studied at Johnson & Wales University.
My role on the team is to run the Chinatown Chowdown so we don't run out of key ingredients and so we are always prepared for the Maestro's as they work on developing new items. I also do a lot of research and running around the city to help keep the team up to date on the latest products and trends and to track down unique ingredients they need to perfect a recipe.
At home, I love to cook and invite my friends over to try my latest creations. Growing up at home, my parents taught me all about Korean and American cuisines which I guess really stuck with me since I'm pursuing a career in the food industry.
My favorite Kahiki item is our Toasted Sesame Chicken Yum Yum Stix and if you're ever in Columbus, be sure to check out Fukuryu Ramen, my favorite Asian restaurant.
Food quality and safety
We've earned the highest certification for Food Quality and Safety with our SQF Level III classification. Each year, we take – and pass – an audit to re-earn this certification.