Meet The Chefs

Sponsored by

Made in Hawaiʻi Festival and Mahi Pono – one of the festival’s presenting sponsors – partnered with local chefs Michelle Karr-Ueoka, Chai Chaowasaree, and Jason Peel to show you how to make some of their favorite dishes featuring local ingredients. Join our host Derek Kurisu along with our chefs as they talk story, taste some amazing food, and also highlight some of the fresh produce being grown on Maui by Mahi Pono.

Mahi Pono Chefs

Mahi Pono

Jason Peel

Nami Kaze (at Pier 38)

Hailing from Kauai, with a foundation built from humble Japanese culture and strong Irish spirit, I found my passion early. My entire family were educators, strongly encouraging my career choices. I began college studying engineering, then architecture.

I found being creative was my strongest skill. A friend was opening a bar and grill and needed some help. So started my journey. I decided to follow my passion and go to Kapiolani Community College to study Culinary Arts. A year and a half later I met my first mentor, Ian Russo, of Michele’s at the Colony Surf which featured French cuisine. A year and a half later I became his Sous Chef. Unfortunately, he moved back to New York, but luckily Roy Yamaguchi entered my life. Roy’s Asian influence expanded my palate further. I traveled to do events in Thailand, Korea and Dubai to name a few, and eventually opened the Roy’s in Waikiki serving Pacific Rim Cuisine.

I finally decided after serving a productive tenure with Roy to see what my family had done all their lives and returned to Kapiolani Community as an instructor. Six years of teaching various courses and travelling with students to culinary competitions was fulfilling and challenging, the highlight being able to see the students grow and create with their hands and hearts.

While teaching I decided to team up with Roy Yamaguchi again and his wife, Denise, and I became the Corporate Chef for the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival. Some of the best days were helping Denise create a better culinary scene in Hawaii, not only because chefs from around the world were coming here, but to focus on the local chefs, students, producers and community.

Also, while teaching, I wanted to learn more as well as to share and collaborate with future generations. I decided to return to the industry to help a friend open multiple restaurants. After a grueling year and a half, through COVID, we opened 4 restaurants. I then decided it was time to venture out on my own. Coming soon is Nami Kaze, Modern Izakaya and Sushi Bar. We hope to be open for the holidays 2021.

I hope with my years of cooking, managing, traveling, teaching, organizing and just living the industry I can help grow a family of culinary enthusiasts, creating opportunities for the younger generation while appreciating and incorporating the ideas of the veterans of the trade. My goal is to foster a place of harmony, trust and compassion.

Chili Butter Braised Ulu

Mise En Place, Per 1 Portion

Braised Ulu pc 1
Chili Butter Gram 50
Ocetra Caviar (Or Favorite) Gram 5
Ulu Crumble Gram 10
Carrot top oil Gram 3
Pickled Carrot, Rounds pc 3
Raw Carrot, Rounds pc 3


Place heated ulu on plate or bowl
Nape with sauce and put a little sauce on plate also
Top ulu with caviar, pickled carrot, raw carrot, carrot tops
Garnish plate with ulu crumble and carrot top oil

Ulu Cooking

Ulu, Medium Ripe Pc 1

Skin medium ripe Ulu and cut into 1 inch wedges.
Trim out center seed
Steam for 20 minutes
Transfer to chili butter and cook for 20 minutes or until tender
Butter should almost cover ulu completely
Gently flip halfway through cooking

Chili Butter

Sake Gram 100
Heavy Cream Gram 100
Carrot Juice Gram 100
Xanthum Gum Gram 2
Unsalted Butter Gram 100
Tumeric Gram 0.5
Chermoula Spice Gram 1
Aji Amarillo (use more as needed) Gram 30
Mushroom Powder TT TT
Kosher Salt TT TT
Lemon Juice TT TT

Reduce sake to remove alcohol
Add cream and reduce by half
Add carrot juice and xanthum gum, whisk completely
Add butter in slowly, whisking constantly
Once all butter is combined add aji amirillo, chermoula spice and tumeric
Season with mushroom powder and salt
Season with lemon juice

Ulu Crumble

Water Gram 1000
Salt TT TT
Ulu, Scraps, Cut Thin

Simmer Quinoa in slightly salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender
Drain and allow to dry
Fry at 335 until golden brown and bubbles have stopped.
Season with salt and harissa spice
Fry thinly sliced ulu scraps until golden
Season with salt and combine with quinoa

Carrot Pickle

White Vinegar Gram 100
Sugar Gram 50
Water Gram 50
Kosher Salt TT TT

Cut rounds of carrot, saving scraps for juice
Bring pickling liquid to a boil and pour over carrot slices
Allow to cool and then chill

Carrot Top Oil

Carrot Top Gram 28
Green Onion Gram 28
Black Pepper Gram 1
Oil Gram 225

Blend scallion and carrot top in oil
Heat in a pan to seperate oil and liquid
Strain through coffee filter, season with salt
Chill on ice

Chef Chai

Chef Chai at Pacifica Honolulu

Chai Chaowasaree, owner and Chef of Chef Chai at Pacifica Honolulu, is recognized as one of Hawaii’s top Hawaii Regional Cuisine chefs. Known for fusing fresh Hawaii ingredients with the exotic flavors of Asia, Chef Chai has created a culinary style that reflects the cultural diversity of Oahu and the Hawaiian Islands.

To further strengthen the partnership with Hawaii’s local farmers and fishermen, Chef Chai co-founded Hawaii Island Chefs (HIC), the second generation of Hawaii Regional Cuisine Chefs. This group of HIC chefs is on a mission to provide the world with the best of Hawaii’s diverse culinary resources from the culture of the people and the bounty of the land and sea.

Chef Chai is constantly seeking out new spices and ingredients at Oahu’s farmers’ markets and in Honolulu’s Chinatown, which brings back childhood memories of shopping the local markets in Bangkok to find the freshest ingredients for his family’s popular restaurant. His mastery at blending flavors are shown in many of his signature dishes including Fresh Ahi Katsu with Tomato Mango Salsa Wasabi Curry Sauce, Kataifi and Macadamia Nut Encrusted Black Tiger Prawn Rainbow Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette, Thai Style Oxtail Soup, and Crispy Whole Snapper with Chili Ginger Sauce.

Chai’s restaurants also have been critiqued and recommended by many international magazines, from Bon Appetite, Brides, Sunset, Cooking Light, Travel & Leisure to Gourmet Magazine and many more.

Grilled Beef with Lemongrass Lime Vinaigrette


Grilled beef thin sliced oz 8
Thai salad dressing oz 2
onion, sliced oz 1
Green mango, sliced oz 2
red cherry tomato (or grape tomatoes) pieces 4
Cilantro, cut half inch long oz 2
cucumber, diced oz 2
carrot, thin sliced oz 2
Roasted peanuts oz 2

Combine all ingredients together, except peanuts, toss well and top with roasted peanut


Perfect to serve with Heart of baby romaine, butter lettuce or Manoa lettuce.
Just like a lettuce wraps

Thai Salad Dressing


chopped lemongrass, fine fine chopped oz 2.5
chopped garlic. fine fine chopped oz 2.25
tablespoons Kaffir lime leaf, fine fine chopped tbs 2
Thai chili, fine fine chopped (to taste) pieces 4
sugar cup 1
cup lemon or lime juice cup 1.25
fish sauce cup 1.5

Combines all ingredients together and stir until sugar dissolve, and keep refrigerated.

Chefs Wade Ueoka And Michelle Karr-Ueoka

Hawaiian Airlines Executive Chefs
Owners / Chefs
MW Restaurant

Hawaiian Airlines Executive Chefs Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka of Honolulu’s MW Restaurant oversee our popular in-flight meal program. Both born and raised in Honolulu, Chefs Wade and Michelle specialize in Hawaii regional cuisine, incorporating the finest local produce, seafood and meats into their dishes at their restaurant. Chef Wade crafts savory plates that highlight his influences from the East and West, while Chef Michelle create artistic “out-of-this-world” desserts utilizing island-grown fruits. We are excited to have this talented duo lead our program.

Featured Chef Series: Executive Chefs Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka

Mochi Crusted Kampach


kampachi, cut on the bias into 6 portions lbs 2
canola oil cup 1/4
kiri mochi, grated blocks 6
Thai chili, fine fine chopped (to taste) pieces 4
furikake tsp 1
Kosher salt
somen, cooked oz 18

Yuzu Kosho Soy Vinaigrette

shoyu oz 8
rice wine vinegar oz 8
sugar oz 8
water oz 6
canola oil oz 4
sesame oil oz 1
sesame seeds, toasted oz 1
yuzu kosho tbs 2
kudzu grams 25



  • In a large saute pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.
  • Season the kampachi filets on both sides with Kosher salt.
  • Mix the grated mochi and the furikake together, then divide the mochi mixture into 6 portions.
  • One at a time, take 1/2 of each portion of grated mochi mixture and place it in the pan.
  • Top with a fish filet and cover the filet with the remaining 1/2 portion of mochi.
  • When the bottom side of the mochi is lightly browned, flip the fish over and brown the other side.
  • When the fish is cooked, remove from the pan, and place on paper towels; the fish should take 5 to 6 minutes to cook.

Yuzu Kosho Soy Vinaigrette

  • In a medium size pot, place the inside the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and water-bring to a boil.
  • Mix the kuzu with water to make a slurry.
  • Thicken the liquid with the slurry.
  • Mix in the sesame oil, canola oil, sesame seeds, and yuzu kosho.

How To Serve

  • Serve kampachi with somen on the side.
  • Drizzle vinaigrette on the fish and somen.