Chef Wade Ueoka’s biggest inspiration, and the one that continues to drive him to this day, was growing up on Oahu and watching his mother cook fried mochi and other Asian delicacies. After graduating high school, Ueoka took his first job as a fry cook at Zippy’s, a Hawaiian fast food chain. But humble beginnings didn’t deter the young Ueoka. Two years after working at Zippy’s, he took a job at Alan Wong’s.
His passion no doubt palpable, Ueoka was actually hired as a prep cook at the now-famous Honolulu restaurant. Seven years later, he had risen to chef de cuisine, with a culinary degree from Kapiolani Community College and stages at The French Laundry and Las Vegas’ Alex under his belt.
And his career has taken him farther than that. Along with fellow Alan Wong’s Pastry Chef Michelle Wade-Ueoka, whom he married in 2011, Ueoka has traveled with Wong around the world to Singapore, Germany, and Japan. Those experiences have helped him create “Next Generation Dinners” at the restaurant, menus created by Ueoka and the other young chefs at Alan Wong’s. By drawing upon his various travels, as well as the memories of his mother’s cooking, Ueoka crafts familiar and comfortable dishes and then elevates them to the sublime.