POSTED: 7:17 p.m. HST, Jul 12, 2012
Chef Mark Noguchi, a culinary leader in Hawaii's locavore movement, is leaving Heeia Kea General Store & Deli at Heeia Pier after Sunday.
Noguchi said that after taking a break to return home to Hawaii island, he will come back to Oahu to begin work on opening a new food business called 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 Heeia in Kaneohe 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.
Noguchi's business partner in Heeia Kea, Russ Inouye, will be taking over the operation, which they 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.