Featured Chef Series
Meet the Chefs
Mark NoguchiCo-founder / Chef
Chef Noguchi was raised in O‘ahu’s historical Mānoa Valley and is an alum of KCC Culinary Arts Program, attended the Culinary Institute of America, later working under James Beard Award-winning chef George Mavrothalassitis and with Ed Kenney and Town Group. Experts in Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, he and his wife Amanda Corby Noguchi opened their first joint venture, Pili Group, LLC in Honolulu in 2012. Noguchi’s dedication to empowering his community through food and education has landed him a spot as a leader in Hawai‘i’s sustainable food movement.
Chang-Wook ChungOwner / Chef
Kumsan Noodle Factory
Chef Chung, who joined Hawaiian’s in-flight dining program in 2017, will continue his tenure as the featured chef on flights arriving from South Korea. An expert in French and Japanese cuisine, he is the owner and chef of Kumsan Noodle Factory, Seoul. His culinary excellence has been widely recognized and he has appeared in several notable television programs. Feeling a strong personal attachment to Hawai’i, Chung has returned to the islands every year since his first visit over a decade ago.
Specialists in Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Chef Wade Ueoka and his wife Michelle Karr-Ueoka opened their first joint venture, MW Restaurant, in Honolulu in 2013. Both have traveled around the world, and draw inspiration from their journeys, but none greater than the melting pot of Hawaii and its local bounty. In February 2014, MW Restaurant was nominated by the James Beard Foundation in the category of Best New Restaurant.
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 has a culinary degree from Kapiolani Community College, and is a veteran of notable stages at The French Laundry and Las Vegas’ Alex.
Eric OtoChef de Cuisine
Hoku’s, Kahala Hotel & Resort
Born and raised on the island of O‘ahu, Eric Oto grew up spending most of his time outside the kitchen. From a young age, he learned the philosophies of respecting and appreciating Hawai‘i’s food ecosystem from his father, a lifelong farmer and fisherman.
Oto’s passion for the culinary arts began at the age of four, when he caught his first fish with a bamboo cane pole. Today, his reverence for the ocean can be seen — and tasted — in his cooking. He enjoys shoreline and offshore fishing, as well as free diving; often preparing the fish he catches with techniques including drying, smoking and pickling.
Prior to his chef de cuisine position at The Kahala Hotel & Resort’s Hoku’s, he served on the opening team of the Four Seasons O‘ahu at Ko Olina’s Fish House restaurant. He also spent more than a decade at the Halekulani, including Orchids restaurant and the hotel’s events and banquets culinary program.
Committed to supporting Hawai‘i’s next generation of chefs, Oto serves as a chef-mentor for local high school students with the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Jeune Chef Competition. Oto is a graduate of the Leeward Community College’s Culinary Program and a recipient of the Kapa‘a Rotary Club Alan Wong Scholarship.