Star Chefs in Hawaii: Mark Noguchi

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As mentioned yesterday, I’m thrilled to see Hawaii chefs getting recognition in an online magazine I’ve followed for about 20 years. is a big deal in the culinary world, and this is the first time they’re profiling our state, so the participants are looking forward to the big Rising Stars gala at the Halekulani next week.

Chef Mark Noguchi will be given the Community Chef award, and with good reason. He’s best known for his work as a chef and community advocate out at Heeia Pier, showing people how to take care of the area and best make use of its resources. In July, Noguchi formed his own catering company, Pili Hawaii. His goal is to get away from the tradition of poorly executed catering here and provide “thoughtful food” to events and to treat each catering gig as a singular one. Through his latest venture, Taste Table, he also hopes to support other chefs with daily pop-ups.

He’s been experimenting with the dish he’ll be making for the Star Chefs gala next week, a contemporary (read: fancy-schmancy) take on tako poke. I got to follow him to see how he makes it, from the time he washes the octopus to the moment he plates it. We weren’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I can tell you that it was quite exceptional. I can’t wait to have it at the Halekulani.

If you want to go to the Rising Stars event, tickets are $95 per person; VIP tickets are $125, including a private reception featuring sparkling wine and Chef Vikram Garg’s Petrossian caviar and lemongrass panna cotta. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling 212-966-7575. A portion of the evening’s tickets sales will be donated to the charity and culinary school partner, Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College. If you want to see the other winners, click here.