My Chef Story
Chef Leilani is the Executive Chef and Owner of Roux and Vine Catering and her newest offering Magnolia Street Wine Lounge & Kitchen, named after the street she grew up on. A native of Oakland, California, Leilani found her calling to the culinary world in her youth. Raised by her two grandmothers, she learned at an early age that food and hospitality were the way to people's hearts. With one grandmother a Chinese immigrant and the other a Southern housekeeper, she embraced both worlds by ultimately fusing the two. Taking recipes from both grandmothers, she found herself mixing her favorites into delightful dishes for her family and friends. In 2011, Chef Leilani decided to embark on a culinary adventure by offering her dishes for sale from her home.
In 2013 she was asked to cater for one of San Francisco’s former Police Commissioners and she nervously and carefully placed a brunch out in honor of his birthday. After that brunch, Chef quickly found herself in full-blown catering mode and created Elle B Events. Elle B Events client list boasted names such as Deloitte & Touché, Reed Smith, Kaiser Permanente, and a handful of celebrity clients as well.
In mid-2015, Chef Leilani returned to one of her favorite culinary scenes, New Orleans. A place where she visited often and where she decided to return to her roots of Southern/Cajun Cuisine with an Asian twist. In 2017, Roux and Vine was born. Chef has had several residencies at Bay Area wineries such as Rosenblum Cellars and Dashe Cellars, a few popular lounges, and has had much success with her popular pop-up events throughout the Bay. Roux and Vine is now one of the most sought after catering companies in the Bay Area with a client list that now includes Impossible Foods, Clover, Palo Alto Medical, Alta Bates Hospital, Cal Berkeley, and the PanHellenic Council of the Bay Area.
In 2017-2019 Chef Leilani and Roux and Vine were hand-picked by ESPN to be the Official Caterer for ESPN, NBA Entertainment, NBA TV, and the Turner Network for the NBA Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. It has been one heck of a ride for Chef Leilani and for her blossoming catering company. With many plans on the horizon, she is shooting for the stars one bowl of grits at a time!
For the culture. For my city.
I grew up literally a few blocks away from the California Hotel on Magnolia Street, which is what inspired the name for me. Around the corner still stands the church where I sang my first solo in a gospel choir.
“I decided to do the Magnolia Street project because I am passionate about bringing back the history, the art, and the culture of my people FOR my people.
I grew up here. I’ve watched the neighborhood go through several cycles of life. It’s time to resuscitate West Oakland with what the people have been starving for; a place where they can commune, eat, and drink all while rebuilding the foundation of West Oakland.
I’m doing this for the culture. I’m doing this for my city.