Heeia Pier’s Mark Noguchi moving on
BY JOLEEN OSHIRO / firstname.lastname@example.org
Chef Mark Noguchi, a culinary leader in Hawaii’s locavore movement, is leaving Heeia Kea Pier General Store & Deli after Sunday, July 15.
Noguchi said he is leaving to open a new food business called Pili and that his former partner at Heeia Kea, Russ Inouye, was taking the Kaneohe eatery in “a different direction.”
After taking a break to return home to Hawaii island, he said he will come back to Oahu to begin work on Pili, which means “intertwined” in Hawaiian.
Noguchi said Pili is still in the conceptual stage, but the business “will allow me to have a more intimate connection to farmers, food and community,” he said. “I realized that what fuels me as a chef is not necessarily cooking and food, but the human experience.
“My vehicle of connecting with community is food.”
Noguchi said he still considers the Heeia region his “home base” because he knows so much about the area and its products. He will be showcasing Heeia in his cooking for the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival in September.
Inouye will be taking over the operation, which the two assumed from the previous owner in March 2011, opening a month later.
Noguchi, who also worked at town in Kaimuki and Chef Mavro, has become one of the faces of Hawaii’s farm-to-table food movement. He can discuss restoration of native farmland and waterways as easily as he can culinary preparations.
Heeia Kea’s plate lunches were served with as much locally sourced ingredients as Noguchi could get his hands on. He served produce and seafood from the Heeia ahupuaa when he could and would trade produce from Kaneohe gardeners in exchange for a plate lunch.
Some favorites on the menu include guava chicken and Kuahiwi hamburger.