About Us & Testimonials


Makanai is a Japanese culinary term meaning “family meal,” referring to the meal served to restaurant employees before or after service. We see so much beauty in this word. To us it represents the way food allows people to take time out of their days to sit, relax and share in the company of others while nourishing their bodies. And after all, we got to know each other sharing makanai in a restaurant where we were both sous chefs.

While we approach cooking differently as individuals, we do agree that food should be uncomplicated, nourishing, tasty, and sustainable. We are grateful to live in a state that has an abundance of ethical food sources and organic farms. We source from as many local farmers and artisans as possible. It's important for us to contribute to a community of people who are as passionate for truly good food as we are. 

Tamara believes that food is universal in bringing people together and creating healthy, happy communities. She began her career with food in restaurant kitchens and has bounced between cooking professionally and teaching & nannying for almost 2 decades. She currently works closely with families to install good eating habits and cultivate a healthy, conscious relationship with their food, where it comes from, and how it works with our bodies. She loves a good dinner party and is at home in any kitchen or garden.

Thomas grew up in South Carolina with a large family who loved to eat and entertain. He began working all over the southeast under prominent chefs, such as Ashley Christensen, Sean Brock and Katie Button. In Los Angeles he has worked for Michael Mina, of the Mina Group and Jessica Kaslow of Sqirl. He enjoys creating dishes and exploring LA’s farmers markets for inspiration.

The goal with Makanai is to provide clients in LA with their own "family meal."  With our services that could look like gathering with your family around the table a few times a week for dinner, hosting a dinner party, needing catering for your event, developing a meal plan that gets delivered once/twice a week, or sending a meal to a loved one. Our aim is to make every client's life easier with reliable, attentive service so they can live in the moment.  



"Makanai cooked for our Dinner Club and everything was superbly delicious from the appetizer through dessert! They are excellent chefs who will design an evening around your requested taste preferences. I highly recommend them." -Kitty K.

“Tamara, the party would not have been this spectacular without you. You are simply the best. Thank you soooo much. We so love you.” -Vuyo N.

Makanai is as legit as they get. Every time we've worked together they’ve hit it out of the park. Asian, tacos, pizza....there's nothing they can't do. Always creative and ALWAYS delicious." -Alex P.

“You are the hero of the weekend.  Thank you for your amazing food, care for our children and all your amazingness!" -Wendy S.

"We must have had about 50 people at the Celebration of Life reception following our mother's funeral. They served us a Mediterranean buffet that was so comforting and delicious. The wonderful variety of dishes allowed all ages and kinds of tastes to enjoy and remember our mother with laughter and love." -Chris G.

"Tamara and Thomas are true professionals, who also happen to make some of the best food I've ever had.  Whatever the occasion they provide that little something special to make every event one to remember.  They can literally do it all, and are amazing to work with. I can't compliment them enough. Incredible." -Mike P.

"Thank you so much for delivering the nourishing and beautiful dinner on Monday. A "Spirit Lifter" for sure!" -Michael B.

"My Mah Jongg group came expecting Papa Johns and were so thrilled to have such a lovely choice of fresh, beautifully arranged veggies, herbs and cheeses...on a pastry crust!" -Judy W.

“Tamara is a professional and organized woman. Her innate ability to construct delicious meals wowed all of my guests. The fact that she is a wonderful person who cares about food reflects in every bite. Plus her steak tacos are seriously the best." -Kaili A.