• Joe Breitfeller

Hawaiian Airlines Announces First Executive Chef Team, New Onboard Featured Chefs

Husband and wife team Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, owners of Honolulu’s MW Restaurant and Artizen, will become the first Executive Chefs for Hawaiian Airlines. The carrier has also announced new members of their Onboard Featured Chef Series.


Hawaiian Airlines First Executive Chef Team, Husband and Wife Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka - Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

Today (March 1, 2021) Hawaiian Airlines announced the appointment of husband and wife team Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, owners of Honolulu’s MW Restaurant and Artizen, as the airline’s first executive chef team. Additionally, Hawaiian Airlines announced a host of new members of their Onboard Features Chef Series. Together, the Ueoka’s will oversee the menus for the airline’s popular featured Chef Series, curate First Class meals for inbound flights from the U.S. mainland and all cabin menus for flights between Hawai‘i and Japan, Australia and New Zealand, as well as outbound flights to South Korea. Hawaiian’s first executive chef duo will replace Chef Lee Anne Wong, owner of Honolulu’s Koko Head Café, who has served as executive chef since 2018.

In Monday’s announcement, Hawaiian Airlines’ Director of Product Development, Renee Awana, said,


“Our Featured Chef Series has developed into a top-rated meal program that celebrates the vibrant culinary scene and outstanding agricultural bounty of our islands. Lee Anne Wong has played an innovative role in developing this program, and we are thankful for her time as both a featured chef and our executive chef. We offer her our sincere gratitude as she passes the torch to Chef Wade Ueoka and Chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka.”


Wade Ueoka was born and raised on O’ahu and graduated from the culinary program at Kapi’olani Community College. Starting as a fry cook at Zippy’s Restaurants he advanced to chef de cuisine at the nationally recognized Alan Wong’s restaurant. Mr. Ueoka has since worked at several acclaimed eateries including The French Laundry in Napa Valley California and Alex in Las Vegas. He has also been nationally recognized as a ‘Rising Star Chef’ and has received numerous awards as one of Hawai‘i’s leading chefs.


Michelle Karr-Ueoka was born and raised in Honolulu and is one of Hawai‘i’s premier pastry chefs. She discovered the love of cooking while working at Alan Wong’s restaurant, while simultaneously attending the University of Hawai‘i at Mãnoa. Karr-Ueoka attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and later worked at award-winning restaurants including Daniel and per Se (New York) as well as The French Laundry in Napa, California. She has been recognized as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award and has received the Rising Chef Award as a pastry chef. In 2013, the couple opened O‘ahu’s MW restaurant which was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for Best New Restaurant in 2014. The next year, the Ueoka’s opened Artizen by MW in Honolulu.


Hawaiian Airlines New Executive Chef Team and Members of Onboard Featured Chef Series - Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines also announced today a new group of featured chefs for their six-year-strong ‘Featured Chef Series’, which offers First Class guests traveling from the U.S. mainland and International Business guests the opportunity to enjoy menus designed by Hawai‘i’s greatest established and emerging chefs.


Hawaiian Airlines' New Onboard Featured Chefs Series Members and Timeline - Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian® Airlines, Hawai’i’s hometown airline, has been the number one U.S. carrier for on-time performance for the past 17 years (2004-2020). The carrier has been in business for 92 years and is Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving airline. Hawaiian Airlines offers more nonstop connectivity between Hawai’i and the U.S. mainland than any other airline, serving 16 gateways. The carrier also connects the islands with Japan, South Korea, Australia, American Samoa and Tahiti. Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the airline has temporarily suspended service to Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti.



Source: Hawaiian Airlines