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“I cook from an aina based perspective. It’s important for us to know where our food comes from, it defines who we are. The awareness of this intimate connection keeps me grounded.”
Mark Noguchi was born and raised in Manoa Valley and spent his early 20s dancing with Halau o Kekuhi in Hilo. He credits his respect for his home and ingredients due to his time with Halau. Noguchi is a graduate of the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts Program and the Culinary Institute of America. Although he prefers to just be known as a “cook”, Mark's dedication to empowering his community through food and education has landed him a spot as a leader in Hawaii’s sustainable food movement.
“Gooch”, as his peers & friends know him, is an alum of TOWN Restaurant and Mavro in Hawaii. He is the former co-owner & Chef of Heeia Kea Pier General Store & Deli where his dedication towards sourcing product within an ahupuaa (traditional Hawaiian Land division) garnered national attention.
Chef Gooch then went on to form Pili Group with his wife, Amanda Corby. Pili is a non-traditional food group focused on the connection between the community, education & food. Pili recently partnered with Hawaiian Airlines on LunchBox a project that provides Hawaiian Airlines staff with healthy, locally sourced meals. Gooch was also a founding partner and the resident Chef of TASTE TABLE, a pop-up project that revitalized the food scene in Kakaako from 2012 to 2014. Additionally, he can be seen on the Cooking Channel's Unique Eats as a commentator.