Meet Our Board
Mark "Gooch" Noguchi
Pili Group - Honolulu
“I cook from an ‘āina 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 Mānoa Valley and spent his early 20s dancing with Hālau o Kekuhi in Hilo. He credits his respect for his home and ingredients due to his time with Hālau. Noguchi is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific 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 Hawai`i. He is the former co-owner & Chef of He‘eia Kea Pier General Store & Deli where his dedication towards sourcing product within an ahupua‘a (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 Kaka‘ako from 2012 to 2014. Additionally, he can be seen on the Cooking Channel's Unique Eats as a commentator.
More on Gooch: View Facebook Page/ View Instagram Profile / View Twitter Profile/ View Website
Migrant - Maui
Born and raised on the island of Hawai‘i, Sheldon Simeon began his culinary career at Leeward Community College, Oahu. Thereafter he moved on to Disney World where he honed his culinary skills and met his wife. Known for creating playful twists on classic dishes, with Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine influences, Sheldon went on to compete on Top Chef: Seattle in 2013. He finished in the top three and earned the "fan favorite” title. In 2012 Simeon earned the Rising Star Award from StarChefs.com for Concept Chef and was nominated for Best New Chef – People’s Choice, Northwest & Pacific by Food & Wine. Additionally, in 2011 Simeon was a two-time James Beard semifinalist, for “Rising Star” and “Best New Restaurant”.
More on Sheldon: View Facebook Page / View Instagram Profile/ View Twitter Profile/ View Website
Lee Anne Wong
Koko Head Café - Oahu