‘Sweet’ Marie’s passion for healthy, delicious food

Marie Cassel, chef and owner of Sweet Marie’s Hawai‘i, has spent years studying different nutritional needs and lifestyle choices and developing and testing recipes that cater to unique dietary restrictions and preferences. You can indulge in seemingly decadent culinary creations at Sweet Marie’s knowing that you are nurturing your body with her gluten-free, soy, dairy- and egg-free recipes.

Gluten is a protein component of wheat, rye, oats, barley and other grains that can cause severe digestive distress to those who are allergic. There are millions of people in the U.S. who suffer with these allergies and many do not even realize that it is an allergy that is causing their problems.

Marie discovered that she was gluten intolerant after an extended trip to Southeast Asia, where she ate the local staples of rice noodles, fresh vegetables and papayas and felt exceedingly well. After returning home, she resumed her usual Standard American Diet (SAD) and realized that the pasta, bread and cereals she was digesting were the culprit of her ill health. It was then that she determined to make a difference and became the very first gluten-free bakery in the state.

She is writing a gluten-free cookbook that will be out soon. Her next project at her beautiful new downtown Lihu‘e restaurant and bakery is to host gluten-free healthy-cooking classes. At Sweet Marie’s restaurant, she uses fresh, organic, locally grown fruits vegetables and herbs and will custom make 100 percent gluten-free decadent desserts, including cakes for weddings, birthdays and anniversaries.

Marie is also a specialist in full-service event planning, coordinating and catering. She recently won a Kaua‘i County Small Business Person of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

She was born and raised in Philadelphia. By 1982, she was the catering chef for the American Ballet Co. After moving to Los Angeles in 1985, she furthered her culinary education at the University of Los Angeles, where she entered its culinary arts program. She went on to become the chef at Bluewater’s Terrace, a full service caterer and special event center in Redondo Beach, Calif. In 1992, Marie moved to Kaua‘i.

When Iniki hit, she volunteered to cook and run the Red Cross kitchen in Waimea, preparing 3,700 meals a day for hurricane victims with the help of many volunteers and, as she said, one rice cooker!

I hope you will frequent Sweet Marie’s and give your body the healthy nourishment it requires. Marie will be catering the Zonta Club of Hanalei’s Spa Day on May 19 and providing participant with a healthy, delicious and nutritious luncheon and snacks throughout the day. Marie’s restaurant is located at 3-3204 Kuhio Hwy. in Lihu‘e. You can phone her at 823-0227, drop by Sweet Marie’s from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday for breakfast or lunch, or visit her website at www.sweetmarieskauai.com.


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