Did this: MW and Friends Reunited

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What happens when Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka gather more than a dozen of their chef friends for a night of eating and libations? A long-time dream came true Monday night for the chef-owners of MW Restaurant. A lineup of chefs who all worked together long, long ago in a kitchen not too far away finally came together again to cook.

The theme of “Reunited” was unmistakable: Star Wars balloons, station signs featuring storm troopers, and chefs and staff in identical “Star Wars”-themed shirts. Sure, the newest sequel is coming out soon, but it was actually all a reference to Ueoka’s days working the fish station at Alan Wong’s. Trying to figure out how to cook a whole fish, he asked, “How do you know when it’s done?” The quick reply: “Use your Jedi senses!”

MW Restaurant and Friends

Chefs line up for a pre-service photo, all rocking “Trust Me I’m A Jedi” shirts.

For $150, attendees grazed on 14 dishes and sipped an assortment of libations. The event took over the entire parking lot of MW, with tents housing cocktail tables, an outdoor bar and stations for each chef. VIP guests who bought entire tables sat inside and got table service.

Ueoka and Karr-Ueoka didn’t disappoint, serving up a trio of small bites and “Lemon Meringue,” both great representatives of what they do in their restaurant. Home Bar’s Neil Nakasone may have been the crowd favorite with a seared scallop that was worth waiting in the line formed at his station. My personal favorite was the washugyu beef from W Seattle Hotel’s Steven Ariel, which was simple and served with earthy mushrooms. Compressed pineapple, spinach granita, yaki-onigiri grilled rice balls, shrimp head gravy and fu yung caviar were a few of the fun elements dressing the dishes.

Chef Wade Ueoka (MW Restaurant) never disappoints. His Trio of Small Bites came with a duck pastrami slider, asparagus and corn soup topped with a petite ham and cheese sandwich, and ahi tartare tempura topped with nori tsukudani and uni.
The line was longest at Neil Nakasone's (Home Bar & Grill) station for Seared Scallop with Kahuku sea asparagus namasu.
Steven Ariel's (W Seattle Hotel) Washugyu Beef with foraged mushrooms and smoked sea salt.
Panna Cotta of Fromage Blanc was a savory dish in the form of dessert; a panna cotta topped with jardiniere of Ma'o Farm vegetables, tender almonds, preserved young strawberries, and a cucumber shiso granite. Created by Jonathan Mizukami's (Chef Mavro).
"Hibiscus Egg" was Jon Matsubara (Restaurant Kaona at Bloomingdale's Ala Moana) contribution to the evening. Made with caviar fu yung, scallions and boss sauce featuring Kalei Eggs and Mari's Garden.
Marc Urquidi (Roy's) put together a Kona Kampachi Crudo with not-too-sweet compressed Hawaiian Crown pineapple, yuzu fluid gel, pickled Maui onion and jalapeno.
Mark Okumura (Kapiolani Community College) made "The Original Chocolate Crunch Bars." It was served up with pineapple and apple bananas with a Hawaiian salt butterscotch sauce.
Lance Kosaka (Top of Waikiki and Sky Waikiki) created Kona Cold Lobster and Heart of Palm Tortellini with truffled shellfish broth.
MW Restaurant's Michelle Karr-Ueoka served up another deliciously sweet yet tart version of her "Lemon Meringue." A shiso meringue topped "textures of lemon," which included a lemon curd, lemon mochi, and lemon sorbet.
Brendan Hamada (Home Bar & Grill) made a comforting "Ochazuke" with negi toro, unagi, yaki-onigiri, shiso, tsukemono, ikura, green tea broth and foie gras miso.
Thai inspired Pork Sausage Lettuce Wrap with coconut, curry sauce, green papaya salad, and crispy noodles made by Sean Walsh (Top of Waikiki).
Sonny Acosta (Abunai Food DC) made a Kaua'i Shrimp and Sun Noodle "Mazemen" with shrimp head gravy, uni, achiote, qual egg and "chicharon"
Gary Matsumoto's (Hawaii Convention Center) sou vide Big Island Abalone was served up in an earthy Hamakua mushroom dashi broth.
MW Restaurant's own Jared Murakawa created a Kaua'i Shrimp Fideuia with saffron-shrimp broth, roasted garlic aioli, Ho Farms tomato and longbean.