Two years ago Hawaiian Airlines partnered with some of Hawaii’s top chefs. And after some changes to their in-flight dining program, the Hawaiian Airlines new featured chefs program will pick-up where the previous one left off.
Hawaiian Airlines has been in a seemingly endless state of change. The airline will be getting a new aircraft type, has new uniforms and economy meals, recruited a new head chef, and is launching a plethora of new routes. Unfortunately, those new economy meals are a disappointment. But at least the Airline’s Business Class meals will continue to be interesting.
New Featured Chefs
In its previous class, Hawaiian Air’s featured chefs included Jon Matsubara, Andrew Le, Lee Anne Wong, Wade Ueoka, and Sheldon Simeon. Since then, though, Lee Anne Wong has become the Airline’s new executive chef. Wade Ueoka is now in charge of Business Class meals for flights from the U.S. Mainland and Japan to Hawaii. And, Korean celebrity chef Chang-Wook Chung takes care of Business Class meals between Korea and Hawaii.
However, beginning in June, two new featured chefs will take over Business Class meals between Hawaii and the U.S. Mainland. First up will be Mark Noguchi of the Pili Group. Up until recently, Noguchi headed Hawaiian’s corporate cafeteria and ran the Mission Social House in downtown Honolulu. I’m very fond of his Luau Stew, though I doubt this will be available in-flight and can no longer be had on the ground, as he has no restaurants at the moment.
Following Noguchi will be Eric Oto of Hoku’s at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. His menus will be on offer between December 2018 and May 2019. I haven’t yet tried his cuisine, but Oto made a big splash on his debut by featuring small, often overlooked reef fish he caught himself on his menu.
Hawaiian Airlines New Featured Chefs, Final Thoughts
It’s great to see Hawaiian continuing it’s featured chef series, though it doesn’t mean much to me. I have little desire to fly Hawaiian’s premium product, as those that I know that have flown it haven’t cared for it. And it makes me wonder why there are only two chefs this time. Granted, their menus will run for a full year, but there are many excellent chefs around the state. So hopefully we’ll see additional chefs added at a later date.