This recipe gives back to the Maui Food Bank, the county’s primary safety net for hunger relief. The Maui Food Bank serves 32,000 people a month that are suffering from food insecurity. Of those served, 40% are children and youth. Working with over 120 partner agencies, the Maui Food Bank distributes safe and nutritious food to individuals, families, kids, the working poor, seniors on fixed incomes, the homeless, and anyone who is at risk of going hungry. This includes people in need living in the rural communities of Hana, Molokai, and Lanai.
CHEF & OWNER LEE ANNE WONG’S STORY
Before she was the chef and owner of KoKo Head Cafe in the Aloha State (Hawaii), Lee Anne Wong grew up in Troy, New York where her career in the culinary arts began. Lee Anne graduated from the International Culinary Center (ICC) and began her culinary training at Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit before playing an integral role in the opening of Jean Georges Vongrichten’s Chinese concept, Restaurant 66. She then went on to work as the Executive Chef of Event Operations at ICC, during which time she also appeared on Season One of Bravo’s Top Chef. Subsequently thereafter, Lee Anne was hired as the series’ Supervising Culinary Producer for the next 6 seasons, helping to build the show into the powerhouse it is today.
In 2013, Lee Anne moved from her hometown New York City to Honolulu, Hawaii where in 2014, she debuted Koko Head Cafe – an island style brunch house in the Kaimuki neighborhood. The restaurant quickly gained popularity, and she was recognized on the cover of Honolulu Magazine, featured in Bon Appétit, Food and Wine Magazine, Honolulu Star Advertiser, and the Huffington Post.
Soon after, Lee Anne released her first cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong in August 2014. In 2016 she joined Hawaiian Airlines as a guest chef and was named Executive Chef for the airline in 2018, leading the culinary program and menus for both domestic and international flights.
In 2019, Lee Anne moved to Maui with her partner and one year old son. She also returned to participate in Season 17 of Bravo’s Top Chef All Stars. Wong’s latest project, Papa’aina at The Pioneer Inn, located in historic Old Lahaina at the Harbor, showcases her culinary travels while featuring local, Maui grown and raised ingredients, as she reimagines the restaurant for Maui’s oldest hotel.