Meet the


that makes it happen

Our Team

When big dreams meet fierce determination, amazing things happen.

Gourmet Events Hawaii is comprised of a team of senior staff that together brings over 70 years of event management and catering experience to every event they produce. The team unites experts in every aspect of event management, from catering and menu planning, to staffing, to facilities and logistics, to vendor management, and marketing and communication. The unified vision of the entire Gourmet Events Hawaii staff is to produce exceptional events with style and taste that exceed client expectations.

Kathleen Lin-Hurtubise,  Founder & President
2016 Women Who Mean Business: Industry Leaders. Pacific Business News

An accomplished marathon runner, community builder, marketing strategist and event producer, Kathleen, better known as “Kat”, has a great appreciation for delicious food and excellent service. For many years prior to her work in the industry, Kat tried out the finest restaurants Hawaii had to offer in an effort to experience their culinary craft and to learn from the very best. In 2003, she combined her passion, work ethic and talents to found Gourmet Cooking Hawaii, which quickly evolved into Gourmet Events Hawaii, the full-service catering and event planning company of today.

One of Kat’s favorite activities is picnicking in different parks throughout the island with her husband and her boys. A coffee devotee, Kat is known for her signature drink: a Grande Starbucks coffee in a Venti cup, with an extra shot of espresso and a healthy portion of heavy whipping cream!

Denise Clark, General Manager
Bio coming soon


Josie Graham,  Accounting Manager

Josie Graham brings 15 years of bookkeeping and accounting experience to the GEH team. She utilizes her excellent organizational skills and accounting expertise in her responsibilities for accounts receivable and payable, payroll, financial reports, and more, in support of our operations. We appreciate and enjoy her pleasant, inspirational, can-do approach!

In her free time, Josie loves to create spoken word poetry, expressing feelings and expressions with rhythm and rhyme. She also enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends.

Jenna Weissman, Administrative Assistant

Photo and bio coming soon


Gail Nipitnorasate, Event Account Executive

Gail brings almost 6 years of event planning, catering and restaurant experience to GEH. Upon completing her degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley, she began with successful execution of fundraisers and galas. She then expanded to catering and restaurant experience in both seated dinners and buffets for corporate events, private parties, conferences and weddings, with responsibilities ranging from pastry and prep cook, server, coordinator to oversight of inventory, rentals, equipment and staffing.

Along with her passion for food and restaurant trends, Gail loves baking, traveling, running, and zumba.

Rachel Sipes, Event Account Executive

After studying Conservation Biology at Arizona State University, Rachel was lucky enough to combine work and traveling, spending the last four years in the United Kingdom working for Merlin Entertainments.  She led teams to deliver fun and memorable experiences to guests visiting Merlin attractions worldwide.  Her management and marketing experience with event planning, team development, digital marking and financial analysis allowed her to drive continued growth in both EBITDA and guest satisfaction in each of her previous roles.

Rachel loves anything outdoors. On her days off, you can find her getting lost on hikes or paddle boarding around the island.

Kittie Wu, Event Production Specialist

Kittie graduated with a degree in Travel Industry Management (TIM) with an emphasis in Hospitality Management at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her past experience in both the restaurant business and employee relations provided the perfect combination of skills to excel in a busy catering and event-production office.

Kittie loves traveling and eating…especially trying new eateries wherever she roams. Kittie’s sincere wish is that someone in Hawaii would open up an “all-you-can-eat dessert buffet” like one she visited in Taiwan. She is also an identical twin!

Jamiee Maeda, Event Production & Wedding Specialist

Jamiee Maeda is a graduate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in American Studies. Her previous work experience includes event coordination with a focus on weddings, as well as administrative and instructional duties for the performing arts and dance company at Kamehameha Schools. Her organizational skills, diligence in coordinating office matters, and her outstanding support to the team has been invaluable to our continued growth and success.

Kirsten Carpenter Brenner, Event Production Specialist

Kirsten brings hospitality experience as a server and trainer in her position as staffing coordinator. Her role includes coordinating schedules for our many events across the island, recruiting for and leading our orientation sessions, and spearheading our weekly e-newsletter to our staff. She joined GEH in 2015 and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s of administration in communications, with a focus on public relations and public speaking.

In her spare time, Kirsten has been an avid volunteer with Mangoes at Moana, the MDA Soiree, and Special Olympic Games. Her passion for food began in the kitchen with her grandmother, because food is the “best way to bring people together. A recipe has not love and soul until you add it in, and through taste you can spread a little happiness!” With an adventurous spirit and love of the outdoors, Kirsten enjoys the beauty of hiking trails on the weekends and aspires to travel internationally.


Chris Nicolas, Staff Trainer

A firm believer in the nobility of service with a lifelong interest in food and world cultures, Chris brings over 20 years of hospitality experience to his role of coaching service professionals and developing future leaders of GEH. He has supervised and trained staff in a variety of corporate settings including hotels, banquets, and catering as well as managed restaurants specializing in cuisine ranging from German to American Regional, Mediterranean to French Polynesian.

An accomplished musician, Chris enjoys singing and playing guitar, and has performed professionally in ensemble and as a soloist. He has produced several recordings of guitar music in classical, slack-key, and swing jazz styles and plans next a CD of Japanese anime film scores. He also loves exploring the island in search of new ethnic restaurants and hidden beach gems.

Jenny Silao, Scheduler

Photo and bio coming soon

Alysha Toguchi, Scheduler

Photo and bio coming soon

Matt, Scheduler / Hawai‘i Convention Center Office Manager

Photo and bio coming soon

Kawika Burdine, Staffing Team Trainer

As our Staffing Team Trainer, Kawika oversees event staff, scheduling at the Hawaii Convention Center, and implementing operational solutions.  His past work experience managing a restaurant, including its off-site catering, provided him with excellent management experience and a comprehensive awareness of all the details involved in top-notch event execution.

Born and raised in CA, Kawika was thrilled to move back to Hawaii and connect with his family’s Hawaiian roots. A surfer and beach volleyball player, Kawika loves that Hawaii is a destination which inspires visitors from all over the world.

Allison Roberts, Staffing Account Executive
Allison brings over 20 years of successful service experience to the casual hire team as the Staffing Account Executive for Staffing by GEH. She started her career at GEH last year as a casual hire and enjoys building meaningful relationships with current and new clients alike, ensuring their staffing needs are fully met for a broad range of events, whether small intimate parties or large-scale corporate events.
In her free time, she enjoys the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, spending time at the beach, taking her dog out on new adventures, and making memories with friends, peers, and co-workers, often over a game of pool.
Rodney Kahao, Warehouse Manager
Rodney not only manages the warehouse and equipment inventory, he also manages the care of the office, making sure everything is well-kept. Most of his time is spent working events, where he has also grown in a lead role. He has a tremendous work ethic and level of quality in all that he does, in both events and in the office. In his spare time, he volunteers his time in creating and teaching a life skills course at the Institute for Human Services, and he facilitates learning activities at Ala Wai Elementary School and Kama’aina Kids. He enjoys participating in triathlons, martial arts, swimming, hiking, cooking and baking. Our office team has enjoyed his home-made peanut butter brownies and decorated cakes with fondant frosting from scratch!
Dean Masui, Event Management

Dean assists with warehouse duties, such as loading and unloading of equipment before and after events. He also provides support to our event producers in various preparations. His time in the field, especially in managing scullery, and in prep and post event activities has contributed greatly to the GEH team! When not at events or at the office, you can find Dean enjoying the outdoors with his favorite hobby of fishing.


Aileen Evangelista, HR Manager

Photo and bio coming soon

Anastacia “‘Ana” Madamba, Recruitment Manager
Ana comes from a corporate background where she was an executive assistant for high-level executives for 15 years before transitioning to the recruitment and staffing industry three years ago. Expertly adept in Microsoft Office platforms and exceptionally organized, Ana holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Argosy University
In her free time, Ana enjoys baking and spending time with her husband and twins.
Rhea Polosky, HR Administrator
As our HR Administrator, Rhea supports the company by maintaining the applicant/personnel data bases, communicating internal processes and procedures, training opportunities, and any employee related updates. Her past work experience in a fast-paced growing retail company provided her with both administrative and managerial experience.

Rhea is from Colorado and she enjoys yoga and hiking in her free time.

Gretchen Gamalog, HR Administrative Assistant

Photo and bio coming soon

Sandra Nakao, Director of HR Programs and Systems
Sandra comes to GEH as a human resources leader with over 10 years’ experience in small to mid-sized companies. Upon completing her degree in Business Management with a minor in Psychology from Whitworth University, she quickly discovered her passion for employee development, recognition and retention initiatives, employee wellness programs, organizational processes and community service.
Along with her husband, Sandra enjoys watching and cheering on her children in soccer, ballet, gymnastics, piano and violin performances, and school events. With the team at GEH, she loves seeing everyone constantly learning, growing, excelling and caring for those around them.


Harriet Kirihara, HR Counsel

A veteran in the Human Resources arena, Harriet’s current focus has been in developing programs and strategies for employee development, leadership development and organizational development. She practices the “best places to work” philosophy for employee engagement, training, supervisory coaching and organizational alignment.

Harriet enjoys international travel and experiencing diverse cultures and cuisines. Recently, she has been cooking Tuscan style and an Icelandic signature dessert. To further memorialize a sense of place, she paints scenes, using oil on canvas, to capture impressions from her travels.

Iqbal Ashraf, Growth Partner

Iqbal Ashraf is the Growth Partner for GEH. As an extended team member, he assists in formulating annual/quarterly goals, aligning our key projects to these goals, and helping to execute these projects faster. He is a cofounder of, which acts as our gateway to outside expertise. In the past, he managed ProAccounting Hawaii, the top outsourced accounting firm in Hawaii. Prior to that, he was a finance leader at General Electric.

Frank Haas, Marketing Consultant

Frank Haas is a marketing and sales consultant to GEH. He plays an active role in elevating GEH’s ability to communicate and share about its extraordinary services. He has a business consultancy, Marketing Management, Inc., based in Honolulu, and his career is highlighted by executive positions in higher education, tourism and hospitality, advertising, quick service restaurants and high technology. Frank has been the recipient of many marketing awards including the Wayne Lemberg Award granted by the American Marketing Association, AMA Hawai‘i Marketer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Advertising Foundation Silver Medal, Pizza Hut Franchise Marketer of the Year, Hawai‘i’s 100 Top Technology Leaders, and Honolulu Ad Federation “Ad Man of the Year.” Frank has served on many Hawai‘i non-profit boards and resides in Kailua with his wife Susan.


Hawaii Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber works on behalf of members and the entire business community to improve the state’s economic climate and help businesses thrive.

Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA)
HLTA is a statewide trade association of lodging properties, management firms, owners, suppliers, and other related firms and individuals, who work together to provide education and advocacy to the hospitality industry.

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
HVCB is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to promote our islands to travelers throughout North America.

Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
HSMAI provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue.

Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
Meeting Professionals International, the premier global association community for meeting and event professionals, believes in the unequalled power of events and human connections to advance organizational objectives.

Oahu Wedding Association
Oahu Wedding Association is comprised of a network of industry experts in wedding planning and coordination whose purpose is to provide exceptional talent and services to wedding events in Hawaii.

Rotary Club of Honolulu
As Honolulu’s premier service organization, The Rotary Club of Honolulu is comprised of some of the region’s most prominent community leaders — men and women with diverse backgrounds in business, professions, religions, civic and non-profit organizations.


Best Caterers in Honolulu       Best Of Honolulu 2015  Best Of Honolulu 2014  Best Of Honolulu 2013   Best Place to Work Best Place to Work   Best Place to Work 2014 Pick - Wedding Wire   2013 Pick - Wedding Wire   2012 Pick - Wedding Wire Pacific Business News' Fastest 50Pacific Business News Hawaii's 50 Fastest Growing Companies 2017

Pacific Business News 2016 Best In Small Business

Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2017, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2015, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2014, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2013, Pacific Business News
Hawaii’s “Fastest 50” 2012, Pacific Business News
Couple’s Choice 2015, Wedding Wire

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What do you think of this colorful flower arch we created? We loved how elegant and playful it looked. #WeddingWednesday ... See MoreSee Less

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Bittersweet moment as Hawaii says goodbye to Kawika.

But exciting times ahead as Kawika is taking us with him to the mainland.

Staffing by GEH California begins!
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