Michelle Karr-Ueoka | MW Restaurant
Born and raised in Honolulu, Michelle graduated from Punahou School. While obtaining a degree in Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii, Michelle’s passion for cooking was ignited after an externship at Alan Wong’s. Pursuing her dream, Michelle furthered her training at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, during which she completed a stage at Daniel, and an externship at The French Laundry. She rejoined Alan Wong’s where she spent 6 years on the savory side. Moving again, back to New York, she staged at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, and it is here that she realized she wanted to be a pastry chef. In 2012 Michelle received the Rising Star Chef Award from StarChefs.com as a Pastry Chef. In October 2013, Michelle Karr-Ueoka and husband Chef Wade Ueoka opened their first joint venture, MW Restaurant in Honolulu where they specialize in Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Both have traveled around the world, and draw inspiration from their journeys, but none bigger than the melting pot of Hawaii, and its exotic local bounty. In February 2014, MW Restaurant was nominated by the James Beard Foundation in the category of Best New Restaurant, and Michelle Karr-Ueoka in the category of Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Wade Ueoka | MW Restaurant
Wade Ueoka was born and raised in Honolulu, and graduated from Mid Pacific School. Wade took his first job as a fry cook at Zippy’s. Though his beginnings were humble, they did not deter him. Two years after working at Zippy’s, he landed a job as a prep cook at Alan Wong’s, and seven years after that, Wade rose to become chef de cuisine. Wade possesses a culinary degree from Kapiolani Community College, and notable stages at The French Laundry and Las Vegas’ Alex. To this day, the biggest inspiration that continues to drive him are the Asian delicacies he grew up watching his mother cook. In October 2013, Chef Wade Ueoka and wife/pastry chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka opened their first joint venture, MW Restaurant in Honolulu, where they specialize in Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Both have traveled around the world, and draw inspiration from their journeys, but none bigger than the melting pot of Hawaii, and its exotic local bounty. In February 2014, MW Restaurant was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Best New Restaurant.
Lee Anne Wong | Koko Head Cafe & Hale Ōhuna
Born and raised in Troy, New York, Chef Lee Anne Wong, a 2nd generation Chinese- American, was not drawn to the kitchen, favoring sports –softball and ice hockey – instead. Lee Anne’s passion for cuisine ignited during her first year studying Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology when she started cooking for friends. Once she donned her chef whites she never looked back. After graduating from The French Culinary Institute (FCI) Chef Wong jumped into the restaurant world working for several years at Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit, later serving as an integral part the opening staff at Jean Georges Vongrichten’s Chinese venture, Restaurant 66. She has also cooked and staged in kitchens all over the world, including The French Laundry, Charlie Trotter’s of Chicago, Nobu, The Four Seasons, Trio, Casa Oaxaca in Mexico, and Cap Jaluca in the British Virgin Islands. Chef Wong brought her culinary skills to an even wider audience when she appeared as a cheftestant on Season One of Bravo’s Flagship Series “Top Chef.” A fan favorite, Wong’s fusion of flavors took her to number four in the competition. The show’s producers saw her innate talent and media experience, and brought her on as the crucially important Supervising Culinary Producer on Top Chef, and its spin-off Top Chef Masters. She has also worked as a culinary consultant on Warner Brother’s “No Reservations,” as well as PBS’ “Chef Story”, and most recently Bravo’s “Rocco’s Dinner Party”. In December 2013, Wong made the giant move from New York City to Honolulu, to open up Koko Head Cafe, an island style brunch house. Her first cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong, was published in August 2014.
Mark Noguchi | Pili Group
“I cook from an `āina based perspective. It’s important for us to know where our food comes from, it defines who we are. The awareness of this intimate connection keeps me grounded.”
Mark Noguchi was born and raised in Mānoa Valley and spent his early 20s dancing with Hālau o Kekuhi in Hilo. He credits his respect for his home and ingredients due to his time with Hālau. Noguchi is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific and the Culinary Institute of America. Although he prefers to just be known as a “cook”, Mark's dedication to empowering his community through food and education has landed him a spot as a leader in Hawaii’s sustainable food movement. “Gooch”, as his peers & friends know him, is an alum of TOWN Restaurant and MAVRO in Hawai`i. He is the former co-owner & Chef of He`eia Kea Pier General Store & Deli where his dedication towards sourcing product within an ahupua`a (traditional Hawaiian Land division) garnered national attention. Chef Gooch then went on to form Pili Group with his wife, Amanda Corby. Pili is a non-traditional food group focused on the connection between the community, education & food. Pili recently partnered with Hawaiian Airlines on LunchBox a project that provides Hawaiian Airlines staff with healthy, locally sourced meals. Gooch was also a founding partner and the resident Chef of TASTE TABLE, a pop-up project that revitalized the food scene in Kaka`ako from 2012 to 2014. Additionally, he can be seen on the Cooking Channel's Unique Eats as a commentator.
This October, join the Hawaii Seafood Council and Conservation International in celebrating Hawaiʻi Seafood Month, a month long event highlighting Hawai'i seafood and the fishers, restaurants, retailers, and seafood businesses committed to sustainable, local seafood and vibrant fishing communities across our paeʻaina.