Invasives for dinner

WAIPA — The best way to get rid of invasive species is to make them taste good.

That’s according to chef Mark Noguchi, one of four who will be showcasing some of Hawaii’s pesky plants and animals at “MAKANA Waipa: Eat The Invasives” fundraiser dinner for the Waipa Foundation.

“Growing up, we were always taught ‘use what get,’” Noguchi said. “That’s how I cook.”

The Oahu-based chef’s main gig is with Pili Group, an organization that promotes sustainable, gourmet food production through catering, events and education.

Noguchi will be creating Saturday night’s feast alongside chef Mark Oyama of Mark’s Place, Chef Le Anne Wong of Koko Head Café, and Chef Jason Sessions of The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas.

They’re cooking up a menu with dishes like spicy goat soup with sweet potato mandoo, sweet potato shoots and hearts of palm, and a Waipa Vegetable Crepinette made of ulu, sweet potato lu’au leaf wrapped in hibiscus with a creamy pumpkin and sapote sauce.

Battered apple snail fritters, ta’ape (snapper) and prawn fishcakes, and a venison curry with puffed rice and olena pickles will also be served.

Desert will be waipa mala carrot cake and banana bread pudding with java plum sauce.

And to wash it all down, Kona Brewing Company is providing Hanalei IPA with a pint glass for all attendees, as a way to reduce on waste.

“It speaks to sustainability and awareness, and it gives a nice pat on the back to what Waipa is doing,” said Eric Chang, senior marketing manager at Kona Brewing Company.

The company selected Waipa Foundation in 2016 as a beneficiary for their MAKANA program, which gives back to community organizations in Hawaii.

“This is our gift, that’s why it’s called MAKANA,” Chang said.

The partnership between Kona Brewing Company and Waipa Foundation was celebrated when the brewery launched the Hanalei IPA in August 2016. Then, Kona Brewing Company cut Waipa Foundation a $2,000 donation check.

It’s not just sustainability and holistic ahupua’a management that caught Chang’s eye at the Waipa Foundation. He said the company wanted to branch out with brand ambassadors and sponsorships.

“I really wanted to reach out into music, art, culture and food,” Chang said. “So like for this, we’ll have really cool chefs donating their time and doing dishes that spread a really good message about appreciating where your food is from.”

In addition to the food, practitioners will be partnering with the chefs to lend local knowledge, including fisherwoman Kimi Werner, hunters and mahia’ai from the Waipa Foundation.

Entertainment will be provided by Waipa serenaders and Keale.

The event begins at 5 p.m. with VIP cocktails and pupus. General admission attendees will be welcomed to the Waipa Foundation’s Grand Lawn at 6 p.m. with a blessing.

Tickets are $125 for VIP, $75 for general admission. Group ticket packages with table reservations for eight people are available.

Purchase tickets at


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.